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A graphics card is a major component of a PC and it generally consumes more power compared to other components. Budget level or some entry-level mid-range graphics cards draw their power from the PCI Express x16 slot only but the higher-mid range and high-end graphics cards require external power from the PSU for their working. The external power for these powerful graphics cards comes from the 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-Express power connectors from the power supply. Here I am going to discuss the graphics card power requirements and its PCI-E power connectors.
Must Read: Best Budget Power Supply for Graphics Cards
Graphics Card Power Connectors
Here are the various connectors through which graphics cards get their power.
PCI Express x16 connector
Every modern-day graphics card comes with a PCI Express x16 connector that goes in the PCI Express x16 slot of your motherboard. PCI Express x16 connector connects your graphics to the motherboard and is the only interface through which communication happens. A PCI Express x16 slot can provide a maximum of 75 Watts to the graphics card which is enough for entry-level, low profile and budget graphics cards. Even some mid-range graphics cards can also work on the power from the PCI Express x16 slot alone but higher mid-range graphics cards and high-end graphics card requires external power from the PSU through 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors. Below you can see the PCI-Express x16 connector of the graphics card.
A 6-pin power connector can supply 75 Watt to the graphics card. So if your graphics card power consumption is more than 75W then it will have one 6-pin PCI-E power connector for its working. A graphics card with one 6-pin power connector can have maximum power consumption of 150 Watt as it will get 75W from the PCI Express x16 slot and 75W from the 6-pin connector. Most of the mid-range graphics cards from both Nvidia and AMD come with the 6-pin power connector.
The 8-pin power connector can deliver a maximum of 150W to your graphics card. So if your graphics card power consumption is more than 150W then it will definitely come with an 8-pin connector or two 6-pin connectors. A graphics card with one 8-pin power connector can get a maximum of 225W of power, 75W from PCI Express x16 slot and 150W from the 8-pin connector from the power supply. The latest High-end graphics cards come with the 8-pin power connector and some of the power-hungry top-end graphics cards can have both 6-pin and 8-pin connectors or two 8-pin connectors. A graphics card with both 6-pin and 8-pin connectors can have maximum power consumption of 300 Watt (75W + 75W + 150W).
Below you can see Nvidia’s top-end graphics card GeForce GTX 1080 Ti with both 8-pin and 6-pin connectors. This card has a maximum power consumption of 250 Watt.
Converters or Adapters for 6-pin and 8-pin connectors
If your power supply does not have 6-pin or 8-pin connectors then you may try these 6-pin and 8-pin converters or power adapter cables to power your graphics card.
4-Pin Molex to 6-Pin PCI-E Adapter Cable – If your graphics card requires a 6-pin power connector but your PSU doesn’t have one then you can use this 4-pin Molex to 6-pin converter to power your graphics card. Some converters require two 4-pin Molex converter and some require one. You can check out the whole range from the link given below.
4-Pin Molex to 8-Pin PCIe Power Adapter Cable – This power adapter cable uses two 4-pin regular Molex connectors and converts it into an 8-pin PCIe power connector for use in mid-range to high-end graphics cards.
6-Pin to 8-Pin PCI-E Adapter Cable– If your graphics card requires an 8-pin connector but your power supply has only a 6-pin connector then you can use this 6-pin to 8-pin connector or adapter cable for powering your high-end graphics card.
SATA to 6-Pin PCI-E Adapter Cable – This adapter converts the SATA connector to a 6-pin power connector for your graphics card. If you are short on Molex connectors then you can use this converter cable or adapter.
SATA to 8-Pin PCI-E Adapter Cable – If your graphics card has an 8-pin connector but your power supply has neither 6-pin or 8-pin connectors then you can use this SATA to 8-Pin converter cable to power your graphics card. This power adapter cable uses two SATA connectors for one 8-pin power connector.
Important Note: It is always better to prefer Molex connectors over SATA connectors for PCIe power because Molex connectors can provide more current and have thicker wires. This prevents any possible chance of burnout if your graphics card happens to draw more power because of overclocking or higher load.
Power Consumption for Graphics Cards
Maximum power consumption of graphics cards based on different types of connectors it has.
|Graphics Card Maximum Power Consumption in Watts|
|PCI Express x16||6-Pin Connector||8-Pin Connector||Total Power|
|75W||1 x 75W||–||150W|
|75W||–||1 x 150W||225W|
|75W||2 x 75W||–||225W|
|75W||1 x 75W||1 x 150W||300W|
|75W||–||2 x 150W||375W (rare and above spec)|
If you have any queries or doubts regarding graphics cards or their power consumption then feel free to ask me by leaving a comment below.