With the release of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, we entered a new era of cable management, especially because of issues around the 12VHPWR cable to the card potentially creating a fire hazard if improperly seated.
This has made cable management even more important for the best graphics card on the market, and Gigabyte's new Windforce RTX 4090 V2 takes an innovative approach to dealing with the issue: slap the power connector on the back of the card rather than the top.
The new card, which hasn't gone on sale yet, has its 16-pin power connector seated behind the fan shroud of the graphics card. This means plugging it into your PSU, either using the 4-to-1 cable adapter for older power supplies or using one of the new 12VHPWR cables compatible with the new ATX 3.0 power supplies, should be a whole lot easier.
The placement of this power connector will significantly reduce the amount of cable bending required to plug in the card. As VideoCardz notes, the traditional design of a graphics card has the power cable situated on top of the PCB, which faces out from the case when slotted into an upright case, forcing you to have to bend the power cable to insert the connector into the card.
This position means that there is a decent amount of torque pressure on the connector itself, especially if you've got four 8-pin cables plugged into an adapter. This bending pressure on the power connector of the graphics card can lead to the inconsistent contact of the power leads in the cable to the connector on the card, which is what Nvidia determined was part of the cause of its cable melting issues when the RTX 4090 first launched back in 2022.
The new Gigabyte Windforce card, meanwhile, should prevent or at least mitigate that kind of safety hazard. In addition to reducing the potentially unsafe cable bending pressure on its card, the new design also just makes it easier to connect the power to the card. Given the typical design of many of the best PC cases, we are all for it.
Power requirements for graphics cards forcing a rethink on design
Gigabyte isn't the only company that is looking at the new Nvidia graphics cards and reevaluating how it approaches power delivery. At Computex 2023, I saw a design for the Asus GeForce RTX 4070 BTF along with a B760M-BTF WiFi D4 motherboard that accommodated an additional "gold finger" power connection directly into the motherboard to supply power to the card, rather than using an 8-pin or 16-pin cable from the power supply.
While the RTX 4070 doesn't demand that much power relatively speaking, designing the card and motherboard this way allows you to completely eliminate the need for an additional power cable for the graphics card. This is fantastic if you're looking for a cleaner-looking case, but it also means that there's less risk that bad cable management might damage the card.
While I can't see a world where the RTX 4090 gets all the power it needs from a motherboard connection, a lot of other cards might, and even with the RTX 4090, having some additional power drawn from the motherboard might reduce the need for a 12VHPWR cable at all, since an 8-pin could be sufficient for the additional power that a motherboard connection couldn't provide.
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John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY.
Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.
You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.
Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).