With the release of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, we have entered a new era of cable management, especially due to issues with the 12VHPWR cable leading to the card, which can pose a fire hazard if misplaced.
This has made cable management even more important for the best graphics card on the market and the new Gigabyte card Windforce RTX 4090 V2 takes an innovative approach to solving the problem: hit the power connector on the back of the card, not the top.
The new card, which has not yet gone on sale, has a 16-pin power connector located behind the graphics card fan shroud. This means connecting it to your PSU with a 4-to-1 cable adapter for older PSUs or one of the new 12VHPWR cables compatible with the new ATX 3.0 PSUs should be a lot easier.
Placing this power connector will greatly reduce the amount of cable bending required to connect the card. How VideoCardz notes that the traditional graphics card design has the power cable located on top of the PCB that comes out of the case when inserted into a vertical case, forcing the power cable to be bent to insert the connector into the card.
This position means there is decent torque on the connector itself, especially if you have four 8-pin cables connected to the adapter. This bending pressure on the graphics card’s power connector can lead to inconsistent contact between the power wires in the cable and the connector on the card, which Nvidia says was one of the causes of cable melting issues when the RTX 4090 first launched in 2022.
Meanwhile, the new Gigabyte Windforce card should prevent or at least mitigate these kinds of security threats. In addition to reducing the potentially dangerous bending stress of the cable on the card, the new design simply makes it easier to connect power to the card. Given the typical design of many of the best PC cases, we’re all for it.
The power requirements of graphics cards force you to rethink the design
Gigabyte isn’t the only company taking a look at Nvidia’s new graphics cards and reassessing how it approaches power delivery. At Computex 2023, I saw an Asus GeForce RTX 4070 BTF project along with a B760M-BTF WiFi D4 motherboard that included an extra gold finger power connector directly to the motherboard to power the card, instead of using an 8-pin or 16-pin cable from the power supply.
Although the RTX 4070 is relatively low-powered, designing the card and motherboard in this way completely eliminates the need for an additional graphics card power cable. This is fantastic if you’re looking for a cleaner-looking case, but it also means there’s less chance that poor cable management could damage the card.
While I can’t imagine a world where the RTX 4090 gets all the power it needs from the motherboard, many other cards can, and even in the case of the RTX 4090, the extra power from the motherboard can reduce the need for a 12VHPWR cable altogether as the 8 pin might be enough for the extra power that a connection to the motherboard cannot provide.