Early Tests Look Promising For New 12V-2x6 GPU Power Connector Even When Not Fully Seated
If you're reading this site, you probably are well familiar with the controversy over the 12VHPWR connector used on NVIDIA's recent graphics cards. This connector is a smaller-scale twelve-pin plug that can provide up to 600 watts of power over a single, smaller bundle of wires compared to the old-school 8- and 6-pin connectors. Unfortunately, whether due to a design flaw or user error, a small but significant percentage of users experienced melting and burning connectors, damaging their graphics cards and creating a fire hazard.
In response to these issues, PCI-SIG has been working on a revised connector simply known as 12V-2x6. The name is descriptive: it carries 12 volts on a connector that has two rows of six pins. The connector is virtually identical to the original 12VHPWR plug, and it also has the same power capacity. Furthermore, it's compatible with the old plugs. The primary difference is in the shape of the extra 4 pins outside of the connector, which serve to provide communication between the graphics card and power supply.
PC power expert Aris Mpitziopoulos got to take a trip to Linewell and chronicled the visit on the HWBusters YouTube channel. This is one of the main companies that makes power cables for power supply OEMs, and Linewell demonstrated the new 12V-2x6 connector to Aris and crew. During an extended-duration test at 645 watts nearly an hour in length, the connector temperature topped out at 46.5ºC. That's quite low, and certainly not cause for concern, but during that test, the plug was securely inserted in the socket. What about otherwise?
Aris wiggled the plug out of its socket partially (see the top image!) and they performed the test again, drawing 55 amps of current at 11.7 volts through the connector, which actually exceeds the spec. Despite this, the connector didn't overheat at all, topping out at 41ºC. Some of the original failures were thought to have happened due to bending of the connector, so as part of this test, Aris bent the new plug to all sides and moved the test board around; none of this seemed to cause any trouble.
According to Mr. Mpitziopoulos, the key difference is down to the design of the power pins inside the connector. The new pins are much more secure, much more conductive, and shouldn't be able to generate the excess heat of the original design. This is great, and it doesn't even take into account the improved connectivity of the sense pins. If the power supply doesn't receive the correct sense signal, it won't send excess current over the connector. Those pins were bridged in this test, but they will add another layer of safety to the final products.