So, Nvidia has officially launched it’s new 30XX graphics cards and, at least on paper, the entire range of GPUs (3070/3080/3090) looks pretty fantastic in terms of their performance potential. While holding a ‘launch party’ steam, however, one of the most common questions our fans asked us was what the situation would be regarding power supplies. Specifically, because it had been revealed that the new Nvidia 30XX Founders Edition GPUs will come with a somewhat unique 12-pin connector.
Well, in looking to provide you with some (hopefully) clear answers, here is everything we know and everything we would recommend to you in terms of power supplies and the Nvidia 30XX series!
Starting with that 12-pin power connector. Well, firstly we can confirm that this will indeed be included on Nvidia’s 30XX Founders Edition graphics cards. Albeit, with the lack of a 3060 launch, it may not apply to that specific model (pending confirmation of its existence).
So, why has Nvidia done this? Well, the best guess is that this was required to accommodate that rather unusual V-shaped PCB. Although some of you may disagree, we genuinely don’t think Nvidia has done this merely for the sake of being different or just to be awkward!
With a new power connection though, does that automatically mean you need to buy a new power supply? Well, in a nutshell, no. We’ve already seen confirmation from Seasonic that their existing power supplies will have the option of purchasing compatible cables, but more than that, we know for a fact that Nvidia will include a 12-pin adaptor within the packaging of all of their 30XX GPUs that require it.
So, at least in theory, your existing power supply is probably going to be alright in terms of compatibility. Keep reading though because this doesn’t really answer the ‘compatibility’ question as a whole.
We suspect that a lot of the concern from our community has largely come from the fact that we’ve recently seen both MSI (check the link here) and Gigabyte (check the link here) launch power supplies that they cite are ‘ready for Ampere’. While such a statement is technically correct, however, don’t let that fool you into thinking your existing PSU is redundant for the Nvidia 30XX range.
All “made for Ampere” means is that the PSU comes with a 12-pin hook-up straight out of the box without the need for an adaptor cable.
As above, given that Nvidia will already be providing you with an adaptor cable, however, while it’s nice to have PSU options that won’t require any ‘piggybacking’ of existing 8-pin VGA cables, don’t think that ‘made for Ampere’ means that you need to invest in a brand new power supply for it to work!
Will that single 12-pin connector be enough though in terms of raw power? These are, after all, pretty hungry GPUs. Well, when you consider the maths, the short answer is yes. Remember that directly through the PCI-E slot, a graphics card can draw 75 watts of power. With an 8-pin VGA connection capable of providing another 150 watts, however, the 12-pin adaptor will utilize two of these meaning that the overall power draw can be as high as 375 watts. So, mildly technical aspects aside, this single 12-pin power connector will be more than enough even for the rather power greedy 3090!
Based on the power specifications, it has been confirmed (roughly speaking) that their graphics cards will require to draw around the following wattages:
What does this translate to in overall power specifications though? Well, Nvidia has suggested that for the RTX 3070, you’re ideally going to want a power supply with a minimum output of 650 watts. Alternatively, for the RTX 3080 or RTX 3090, you’re realistically looking at an absolute minimum of 750 watts.
Is that what you should buy though? Well, the short answer is yes, the long answer, however, is yes, but we don’t think it would probably be a very good idea!
The wattage figures provided by Nvidia likely suggest (or are based upon) a relatively basic PC build and, by proxy, one that wouldn’t likely have too many other components that require power.
Putting this in rather simplistic terms, the amount of power your PC requires as a whole is ultimately determined by how many individual components you have hooked up in it. For example, a PC with one hard drive will require a lot less power than a gaming PC with 7 SSDs. Want another example? Well, a chassis with 1 basic cooling fan will need much less power than an airflow masterpiece with 9 ARGB fans.
So, with this in mind, what would we recommend for the Nvidia 30XX series? Well, by firstly admitting that this is an art rather than a science, depending on which GPU you have your eye on, we’d suggest a more practical PSU wattage would be:
Anything less than these figures, at least in our view, risks you putting too much strain on the PSU beyond the rated wattage value or, worse, potentially creating some interesting and unintended testing of your PSU’s overpower protections (OPP).
In a nutshell, if you plan to get a Nvidia 30XX and your power supply doesn’t have at least around 750 watts of rated power output, while it may still work fine, it’s a risk we’d personally prefer not to take!
Although 80-Plus Bronze power supplies are an option in the 750w+ market, we can’t help but feel that (if your budget allows it) stretching to a better efficiency performance PSU would be an exceptionally solid move. Although not required, we’d certainly suggest something around the 80-Plus Gold area would be a great place to look and, in terms of prices, they’re not actually that far removed from their cheaper ‘Bronze’ alternatives. Better still, with them being more efficient, you can actually save a little money (albeit, admittedly not much) when it comes to the electric bill!
Although we are by no means suggesting that you have to buy a new power supply if yours has the wattage output, if you are considering making an upgrade for this new GPU release, we’d happily suggest any of the following models:
So, we hope that this has answered any questions you may have had surrounding this topic, but if you have any more, feel free to ask them in the comments!
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