PCI-SIG warns of dangers in PCIe 5.0 adapter cables

The organizing body behind the PCI standards, PCI-SIG, has issued a warning regarding adapter cables for the new PCIe 5.0 power connector. The cable conversion may result in overcurrent, which can cause cables to overheat.

The warning, which was broadcast internally to PCI-SIG members, was first picked up at WccfTech. In the release, the committee notes that select adapters of the new 12VHPWR connector (also referred to as ATX 3.0 or the PCIe 5.0 power standard, identified by the 12-pin or 16-pin connector) can create dangerous thermal variation. In cases of “defective application of the new design”, the cables can overheat.

The new PCIe 5.0 connector should support up to 600 watts of power in total. Adapter cables try to achieve those higher wattages by fusing several 8-pin cables (ATX 2.0, each good for 150 watts). Such adapters were already included with high-end video cards of Nvidia’s Ampere generation, including, for example, the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti.

WccfTech itself tested PCIe 5.0 adapters with both two and three pieces of the 8-pin connectors, indeed measuring wattages above 150 watts per cable. Indeed, on a 600 watt charge over two cables, each cable exceeds 300 watts, double the limit of the standard. But even with 450 watts over three cables, one cable turns out to draw a disproportionate 282 watts. With such overload, both cables and connector can be irreparably damaged.

As PCI-SIG continues to investigate the matter, it urges members to work closely with cable manufacturers “particularly with regard to safety issues surrounding high voltage”. PCI-SIG indicates that it will keep partners informed of further developments on the matter in a timely manner.

The warning has not yet officially gone to end users, but the signal is clear. If you want to be sure of an optimal connection for the heavier, next-gen cards from Nvidia (and possibly also AMD), it is probably a good idea to invest in full ATX 3.0 power supplies, including a 12VHPWR connector and accompanying cable.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.