GC-HPCE for ASUS GPUs without standard power connectors
Twitter user @momomo_us has unveiled documentation and renders detailing a new GC-HPWR/HPCE power connection standard designed to supply additional GPU power through the motherboard. This connector is capable of delivering over 600 Watts of power, matching the capacity of the 12VHPWR connector (maximum sustained power).
Initially showcased at Computex, this connector made appearances in prototype motherboards and graphics cards, showcasing its potential to improve cable management and aesthetics. By eliminating supplementary power cables from the graphics card and routing power through the motherboard, it results in a cleaner look for the graphics card and simplifies cable management behind the motherboard tray.
What’s intriguing is that this connector is not an entirely new design; rather, it’s a modified version of the standard commonly used in the server industry. This background in the server space suggests that the consumer-oriented HPCE (High Power Card Edge) connector may avoid the reliability issues associated with the new 12VHPWR connector.
The connector is divided into four groups of pins, with sixteen dedicated to power delivery and twelve for communication between the motherboard and the graphics card, notes Tom’s Hardware. The size of this connector is comparable to a regular PCIe x1 connector and is positioned right beside the primary PCIe x16 slot on a motherboard. This placement ensures easy installation, as the graphics card can be slotted into both connectors without the need for an additional locking mechanism, thanks to the x16 slot’s built-in lock.
The documentation for this connector reveals its capability to deliver up to 600 watts, although the exact power limit may vary depending on motherboard manufacturers’ decisions. Thus far, the the highest models featuring this connector are RTX 4070 models with TDP around 200W. Given the increasing power demands of modern graphics cards, the move to a higher-capacity connector like HPCE seems promising for future GPU advancements.
At events like Computex and Bilibili World 2023 in Shanghai, Asus showcased graphics cards and motherboards with this cable-free power supply solution, signaling a potential shift in the industry toward this new power connector.
Asus has been the primary advocate of this connector, but it remains to be seen whether other companies will adopt this standard for their consumer products. The company was among the first to introduce APE motherboard series with connectors placed on the other side. With enough incentive and collaboration between all companies, chances are this idea will see broader adoption at some point.