Patent Shows Asus' Cable
Asus has previously shown off a prototype GPU without any visible power connectors, with power being delivered through the motherboard instead. It's also announced they were actually going into production this year. That's a big deal, as even on the cleanest builds it can be tough to hide the GPU's bulky cables. There have also been issues recently with the Nvidia's GPU adapters, with people being hesitant to bend them too much or else their GPU might immolate. Asus' answer is to just remove the cables all together, and now a patent for the design has been revealed that sheds new light on this novel power connector for GPUs.
New diagrams show the new connector on both the motherboard and GPU that's required for this to work. They are detailed in a patent uncovered by the Twitter account @Momomo_us, via Techspot. Both motherboard and GPU will feature two connectors, with the usual PCIe x16 slot and a second connector to the side of it. The user will connect the GPU's power cables to the back of the motherboard, which will then feed that power through the board and into the GPU. According to the spec, it's rated to handle 600W, which is the maximum amount of power possible for the new 12VHPWR connector. However, one of the illustrations also notes that limit can be raised to 900W if needed, which is double the TDP of the current RTX 4090.
According to the diagrams, the new connector on the motherboard is called HPCE, which currently exists in the server word as a High-Power Card Edge connector. Asus says the reason for its creation for GPUs was the future need to deliver more than 600W in a compact form factor. It says its design satisfies these goals, and the corresponding interface on the GPU is simply called GC-HPWR Gold Finger.
What's interesting is it says that 600W is the minimum for the design, which is far beyond existing cards' requirements. However, an overclocked RTX 4090 can suck down a little over 500W right now, so clearly more power will be needed if this trend of super-GPUs continues into the future with next-generation cards.
When Asus first debuted this technology at Computex this year, it was using an RTX 4070. The company then stated it would put the card into production this year along with a compatible motherboard in order to gauge the reaction from gamers. That outcome would dictate whether or not it would add the feature to more GPUs, including the one that everyone wants; the RTX 4090.
For now, we're still waiting to see if this card and motherboard combo will show up at retail soon, and how much more expensive they'll be compared to the standard versions. The price could make the concept DOA, but if other GPU and motherboard manufacturers like MSI and Gigabyte jump onboard, it could also become an actual industry standard. That level of adoption would certainly pave the way for supercharged "cable free" GPUs in the future. It would also be satisfying to just "click" your GPU into place and not have to fuss with any power cables as well.