Why it matters: Nvidia's melting 12VHPWR power connectors are still out there, although a wave of media coverage last year has increased awareness of the dangers posed by improper contact or bending the power cables too much to make them fit inside compact PC cases. Fortunately, Team Green has been quietly replacing the power connector on newly-manufactured RTX 40 series graphics cards, so those of you who have yet to upgrade will have a lower chance of encountering the problematic 12VHPWR design.
Earlier this month, we learned that the PCI-SIG had developed a new and improved specification for the controversial 16-pin power connector known as 12VHPWR, which has been a major source of headaches for owners of Nvidia's higher-end RTX graphics cards. AMD has yet to adopt the standard, so it has largely avoided criticism in this area, with reviewers mostly lamenting about the high price of RDNA 3 cards and their relatively low energy efficiency compared to Nvidia's Ada Lovelace counterparts.
If a recent post from the Nvidia subreddit is any indication, the company is silently upgrading RTX 4090 Founders Edition cards with the updated 16-pin power connector. Notably, the company has also applied the same treatment to recently manufactured Founders Edition RTX 4070 and RTX 4070 Ti cards, and partners like MSI have also integrated the new connector on upcoming PSU designs showcased at Computex.
That's good news for RTX 40 series users, some of whom have seen their connectors melt from not making proper contact. Those who were lucky enough to avoid that would sometimes find their cards did not perform at their best even though the power plug appeared to be fully inserted into the card's connector.
If you recently purchased an Nvidia RTX 40 series graphics card, you may be able to check if it has the updated connector by looking at the four sensing pins that send data from the GPU to the PSU. Several people have compared them against those on older RTX 40 series graphics cards and noticed they are shorter. Another way to tell is to check for a marking on the top of the connector – if it has the "H++" identifier, it is the new 12V-2x6 connector.
If anything, this looks like a confirmation that Nvidia saw this as a large enough issue to warrant integrating what appears to be a prototype 12VHPWR connector on its Founders Edition cards as soon as it was possible to do so. We don't know if AIBs also have access to this new connector, but we assume Team Green has been coordinating with them on shifting all newly manufactured cards to the updated design.