As reported by Wccftech, Asus is working on a concept design for GeForce RTX 40-series (Ada Lovelace) graphics cards that don’t require any power connectors for external power. Instead, the vendor has designed a proprietary slot that delivers up to 600W of power.
The 16-pin power connector (12VHPWR) made many headlines last year because the power adapter melted on a few GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards. Unfortunately, the issue is ongoing, as new cases of the 16-pin meltdowns surfaced a week ago. Nvidia attributed the problem to user error because the 16-pin power connector wasn’t correctly installed in some scenarios. Unfortunately, Asus’ design doesn’t completely remove the user factor from the equation. Still, it does help minimize the possibility of occurrence since the 16-pin power connector isn’t on the graphics card anymore but on the motherboard, where there is more liberty to maneuver the power cable.
The GeForce RTX 4070 Megalodon is the first prototype to feature a connector-less design. However, the branding isn’t final yet so the retail product may have another name. At first glance, the GeForce RTX 4070 Megalodon looks like a regular 2.3-slot graphics card. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that there aren’t any PCIe power connectors. In their place, Asus implemented a proprietary connector that resembles a PCIe x1 connector. However, it has the same power delivery as the 16-pin power connector, up to 600W. Asus has baptized the connector as “GC_HPWR” for now, but the company said it’d have an official name at launch.
Asus isn’t the first vendor to slap a custom connector on the graphics card to provide power. For example, AMD has produced some Radeon Pro graphics cards for Apple that use the latter’s MPX (Mac Pro eXpansion) form factor. However, Asus’ custom power connector, which doesn’t have an official name yet, isn’t as long as Apple’s implementation.
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Asus demonstrated the GeForce RTX 4070 Megalodon alongside a TUF Gaming Z790 BTF, a motherboard with connectors on the back. It’s a design based on the DIY-APE standard. The GC_HPWR connector on the motherboard essentially acts as a pass-through for the 16-pin power connector because the power has to come from somewhere. However, Asus also went the extra mile and added three 8-pin PCIe power connectors to the mix. Therefore, consumers may choose the three-cable solution or the single 16-pin alternative. Even though the motherboard has the special GC_HPWR connector, it doesn’t limit its usage. Consumers can use regular graphics cards on Asus’ motherboard.
Asus’ BTF motherboards were previously restricted to the Chinese market. However, the company said that the TUF Gaming Z790 BTF and the GeForce RTX 4070 Megalodon would hit the global markets. Pricing is unknown, but Asus confirmed that they would carry a slight premium since there’s the added cost of moving the connectors to the back of the motherboard. Not to mention that consumers will also have to shell out more money for a case designed for Asus’ BTF motherboards.
In the meantime, the GeForce RTX 4070 Megalodon is kept inside Asus’ ecosystem. Unfortunately, the brand didn’t state whether it’ll open the proprietary design to other motherboard vendors. But more importantly, will other manufacturers be willing to jump on the new design since it’ll involve additional cost and human resources to redesign existing motherboards and graphics cards to meet the standard? Then there’s the existent risk that the design doesn’t take off.