PCI Express power connectors

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PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:39 pm

Hey folks. So many graphics cards these days have their power connectors on top of the board, and the last two HTPC cases I've owned have been tight for vertical clearance. At the moment I'm running an EVGA 660 in there and it's incredibly tight despite the 660 being a relatively small card because of the vertical power connectors.

I can find these, no problem - but I'm probably missing out half an inch of clearance because the block itself is bulky, and even when folded over, the cables coming out of the top adds still more to the overall length of the plug.

Does anyone know of a lower-profile 6 or 8-pin power cable/adapter/extension?
Failing that, has anyone seen a vendor making high-end cards with the power connectors on the end rather than on the top?

I'm just thinking that a 660 isn't going to cut it for 4K testing and everything beefy from AMD/Nvidia that has power along the top of the board!
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:58 pm

Unfortunately, while there are right angle solutions for the female connector, that is the one they put on your card, and there appears to only be one male connector. I'm also thinking about what's inside the connector, and I have a suspicion that there aren't any right angle male terminals. On top of that, since the locking device is on the male connector, it's going to take up more space as well.

Short answer? No, I don't know of any lower-profile devices for you, and I am not sure they would exist.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:36 pm

superjawes wrote:I'm also thinking about what's inside the connector, and I have a suspicion that there aren't any right angle male terminals.

You are probably correct on this. Normally the terminals are crimped onto the power wires, then inserted into the plug housing from the back (wire) end. Putting a right angle bend in the housing would make it impossible to do this; they would need to come up with a completely different way of manufacturing the wiring harnesses.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:59 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:has anyone seen a vendor making high-end cards with the power connectors on the end rather than on the top?

I've only seen this on midrange cards (ok, maybe the 270 is mid-high end since it's the equivalent of a GTX660) and below. High-end cards tend to be long, so having the power coming out the back would presumably complicate things for more people than coming out the top/side (even though wires out the back would work better for hiding cables). You must have a very narrow case.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:27 pm

Some nVidia Quadro cards will have a power connector on the rear and on the top. The rear one tends to be an 8 pin connector is that 225W total can be given to the card without the need of the 6 pin at the top. Otherwise, it'd be a 6 pin top + 6 pin in the rear + 75W form the PCIe slot to get to 225W. The other catch with those Quadros is that they tend to be long which my preclude them from being used in a SSF case.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:18 am

Thanks for the feedback guys, it sounds like I'm stuffed for now.

I'm using a Silverstone GD05 which is one of the larger HTPC cases (takes a load of 120mm fans, full-height cards, mATX board etc) but any HTPC case in the "horizontal desktop" format is going to be low. Sure you can get bigger cases but then you run into depth/height issues for most AV furniture - I picked the GD05 because it's about the biggest things that'll fit in my AV rack. The only way around it is to move the HTPC to another room and run the cables/usb ports through the wall.

Perhaps the answer is to wait for some Steambox clones with right-angle PCI Express risers, or just skip 4K. I'm sure I'll get an opportunity to do some 4K installations at work and I can decide if it's worth the grief after that :)
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:30 am

I think this is a flaw in Silverstone's design more than anything. The GD05 is a mATX case, it should be able to accommodate high end GPUs. All it would take is an extra?...1/2 inch in height? and there wouldn't be any problems. I thought you were using a small mITX case or something, this is inexcusable.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:57 am

There are plenty of larger cases on the market:
I'm constrained by my furniture - the AV unit I'm using for all my kit has 160mm shelves and the next size up in Silverstone's Grandia range is 175mm tall.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:20 pm

Wow, so you have less than 1/4 inch (6mm) between the top of the case and the top of the opening in your AV unit? Is 150-160mm height some standard for AV equipment that I'm unaware of?

My previous accusation of Silverstone being naive in their design goes against my favorable impressions of them. There just didn't seem to be any other reason for it. Maybe the extra 1/2 inch was a conscious sacrifice...Silverstone typically makes/sells specialty parts to circumvent such sacrifices (even if they overcharge a bit) There's right-angle SATA cables but I can't seem to find right-angle PCIe power cables. Maybe call them? I'm just not sure you're going to find anything shorter than the PCIe cables you linked in your OP (for reasons JBI outlined).
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:48 pm

Yeah, even within just Silverstone's product range there's a huge range of heights. The GD04/GD05 are the largest horizontal cases that can fit in my particular furniture, and the shelves are dovetail jointed so not movable.

There aren't standards for furniture like there are for PC form factors. Most of them are designed for typical AV receivers, DVD players and other set top boxes so vertical height is never very good - most of those are only a couple of inches tall!
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:17 pm

I'd wait until:
1) 4k TVs support 60Hz (single tile) and prices come down from "flagship" levels
2) 20nm GPUs come out that are capable of 4k gaming, but draw less power / create less heat. Then your chances of finding a card with rear-facing PCIe power should increase at that time.

I have no idea what amount of GPU a GD05 is capable of effectively cooling, but I'd imagine a GTX660/R9-270 is just about the limit. Surely you have a separate gaming rig with something equally/more potent than a GTX660, or that could accommodate a 4k-capable GPU hooked up to a 4k monitor.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:01 pm

Big Maxwell may be an option, perhaps. I'm certainly waiting for info on those because I'm expecting them to be amazing for diddy little mITX shoeboxes, and possibly short enough that they'll have power plugs on the end of the board rather than the long edge.

Heat/noise aren't a problem in the GDO5 - I have 3x120mm intakes, 1x140mm exhaust, 2x80mm exhaust with the current config.
Graphics cards up to 11 inches long and 4.92 inches wide are allowed - meaning that even a Titan or 780Ti would fit comfortably - if only they didn't need an extra inch of width for the PCI Express power plugs ;)
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:13 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I can find these, no problem - but I'm probably missing out half an inch of clearance because the block itself is bulky, and even when folded over, the cables coming out of the top adds still more to the overall length of the plug.

Last question. Did you actually purchase and try one of those and it didn't fit? The top of the cable must only be 1/2 - 5/8 of an inch past the end of the board connector when it's plugged in.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Thu May 01, 2014 4:40 am

Yeah, I'm running one with the 660. It worked with original power cables too but I didn't like the slight bend in the case panel it was causing, and the subsequent force it was probably exerting on the board's PCI-E power connectors ;)
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Fri May 23, 2014 9:23 am

Chrispy, I know it's a side-step from a GTX660, but this Powercolor 7870 has the PCIe power out the back. It's also $130 after MIR!!! Could the GD05 handle CrossFired 7870's for 4k gaming??? (might be pushing the envelope)

Noticed the power plugs while looking the card over in preparation for posting this on today's deal-of-the-week front page article.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Fri May 23, 2014 11:32 am

You might be able to get away with taking one of those adapters you linked, and carefully pulling the wire and plug part out of the plastic housing, then putting them in the card individually. But you will have to be extremely careful about getting the wires in the correct place, as well have having to worry about insulating them and preventing them from falling out, since you would also be getting rid of the clip as well.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Fri May 23, 2014 1:55 pm

Pretty basic soldering if you don't care about warranty on the card. I would just solder a pigtail connection on it.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Tue May 27, 2014 5:33 pm

DPete27 wrote:Chrispy, I know it's a side-step from a GTX660, but this Powercolor 7870 has the PCIe power out the back. It's also $130 after MIR!!! Could the GD05 handle CrossFired 7870's for 4k gaming??? (might be pushing the envelope)

Noticed the power plugs while looking the card over in preparation for posting this on today's deal-of-the-week front page article.


Thanks, I've actually ordered those exact cards before at the office and written them off as noisy little bastards with sub-par cooling. The lack of a backplate is also a pet-peeve, but the shroud and board is short enough that it's not really necessary. I noticed the PCI-E connectors were facing backwards so the first thing I did was run furmark and see how they handled the heat; "not well" was the answer.

I actually had a 7870 in there before the 660, but wanted an Nvidia in there for some CUDA stuff I'm trying. I'm probably going to plonk the 7870 back in there now I'm done (it's an older, Sapphire model, but it's low-profile enough that the two top-mounted PCI-E sockets leave enough clearance)

Two graphics cards isn't an option for me. Not a bad suggestion but the one rule of fight club HTPC club is that you don't talk about fight club have a noisy computer. I'm thinking 280X or GTX770 is the minimum possibility for 4K, so I'll probably have to wait until "big" Maxwell comes along and see what the board partners do ;)
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Thu May 29, 2014 11:37 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Thanks, I've actually ordered those exact cards before at the office and written them off as noisy little bastards with sub-par cooling.... I noticed the PCI-E connectors were facing backwards so the first thing I did was run furmark and see how they handled the heat; "not well" was the answer.

Good to know, sorry to hear.

Chrispy_ wrote:The lack of a backplate is also a pet-peeve

Why should that matter? The GD05 lays on it's side.
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Re: PCI Express power connectors

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 5:17 am

Noise doesn't matter at the office, it's a noisy environment anyway - I just get to see tons of consumer hardware at work, so I'm always sneaking some testing in for my own nefarious purposes.

The lack a backplate or baseplate is a pet-peeve rather than a serious concern. In a GD05 it's a non-issue as you mentioned, but towers are way more common and it's just a sign of costs being cut too low:

  • Backplates are preferable, they look better, they reduce handling and storage damage, shorts from oversized CPU coolers rubbing the back of the card, they prevent board sag and they're usually full-length.
  • Baseplates will do, and they're usually better than the wimpy memory heatsinks that get added to chips (and sometimes not even all the chips). The main concern is that card sag is no longer an issue for vertical motherboards.
  • No plate at all just means that the profit margin is more important than the quality of the product.
The lack of a backplate itself is not in itself a problem, but it's a sign that the manufacturer is busy cutting every corner possible to maximise their profits, or build down to a price rather than build up to a quality. Personally, I do not like buying products like that, but I'm sure other people will probably be fine with it ;)
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