For many PC enthusiasts, building a gaming rig can be intimidating and overwhelming.
With so much to keep track of, it’s hard to stay updated on the latest hardware technologies.
If you’re looking to build your own custom gaming PC, one crucial question is often asked: do graphics cards come with power cables?
In this guide we will answer that frequently asked question and provide some helpful tips for those who are new to putting together their own rigs.
Read on as we explain what kinds of GPUs require dedicated power connectors and just how important certain types of cables are for ensuring optimal graphics performance.
Do gpu come with power cables?
GPUs, or graphics processing units, are the key component of a computer system’s graphics software.
Although usually seen as just a gaming component, they are increasingly being used in industry and research applications due to their power and computing capabilities.
GPU’s do not come with power cables included as part of the initial purchase. Instead, users must supply power connectors from their power supplies that meet the specifications for the particular GPU being used.
This is often easily overlooked by first-time buyers of GPUs, who need to be aware that cables will need to be purchased separately to ensure their GPU has adequate support for peak output performance.
The type and number of power cables for GPU:
Here’s a comparison table explaining the types and number of power cables and connections used by GPUs:
|Power Connector/Connection Type
|Maximum Power Delivery
|Number of Pins/Connectors
|Primary interface between GPU and motherboard
|Less common interface between GPU and motherboard
|Rarely used interface between GPU and motherboard
|Up to 75 watts
|Mid-range graphics cards
|Up to 150 watts
|High-end graphics cards
|8-pin PCIe (with additional 2 pins)
|Up to 300 watts
|8 pins + 2 ground pins
|Enthusiast-level graphics cards
|12-pin PCIe (found on some newer GPUs)
|Up to 600 watts
|Flagship-level graphics cards
|Digital video and audio interface
|Digital video and audio interface
|Digital video interface
|Analog video interface
|Digital video and audio interface
|Digital video and audio interface, can also transmit data and power
The power connector types and connections used by a GPU depend on the specific model
A PCIe connector is a computer hardware interface that, significantly faster than other connections, allows for data to be transferred between components.
It is most commonly used in graphics cards and provides greater bandwidth throughput and better performance than the PCI or AGP options typically used in the past. It has following types:
- PCIe x16:
This type of PCIe connector is usually the largest, most powerful, and most common type of card slot.
It offers up to 16 lanes for data transfer, which allows for maximum performance from high-powered graphics cards.
It is the type of card used for gaming and supports 3D graphics and multiple monitors.
This type of PCIe connector requires a 6-pin or 8-pin power cable for additional power requirements.
- PCIe x8:
The PCIe x8 slot is similar to the PCIe x16 slot but offers fewer data lanes (eight) than the larger connection.
Cards that use this type of connector are mainly used in workstations and servers as they are not suitable for gaming due to lower performance capabilities.
A 6-pin or 8-pin power cable is also required to draw extra power from the PSU when using this type of card.
- PCIe x4:
The PCIe x4 slot is much smaller than its larger counterparts, but it still offers plenty of performance potential, making it suitable for mid-range graphics tasks such as video editing and gaming on a budget.
However, like with all other types of PCIe connectors, an additional 6-pin or 8-pin power cable will be necessary to provide enough juice for more demanding GPU workloads.
PCIe Power Cable:
The PCIe power cable is an essential component in any modern computer setup, efficiently allowing high-performance graphics cards to operate at their peak performance capability.
- 6-pin PCIe:
This type of power cable has six pins that plug into compatible slots found on some GPUs and motherboards.
They offer 75W of power through three separate 12V rails – two 12V rails at 25W each and one 12V rail at 25W – which makes them perfect for powering low-end or entry-level GPUs as well as providing supplemental power when needed by more powerful GPUs in multi-GPU setups.
- 8-pin PCIe:
An 8–Pin PCIe Power Cable has eight pins that plug into compatible slots found on some GPUs and motherboards.
Unlike the 6–Pin Power Cable mentioned above, this one has four separate 12V rails – two 12V rails at 25W each plus two more at 30W each – which allows it to offer up to 150W total across all four rails combined, making it ideal for powering beefier GPUs like high–end gaming cards and workstation cards alike.
- 8-pin PCIe (with additional 2 pins):
As its name implies, this variation of the 8–Pin Power Cable adds two extra pins – making it 10 in total, which increases its maximum wattage output up to 225W.
Hence why it’s most commonly found on enthusiast class graphics cards that require even more power than what the regular 8–Pin can provide.
- 12-pin PCIe (found on some newer GPUs):
This variation on a typical PCI Express connector features 12 pins instead of the traditional 6 or 8; thus allowing it to deliver even more juice compared to standard cables while still being backward compatible with existing hardware thanks to an included adapter (which plugs into either a 6 or 8 pin connector).
With 12 pins present in total, this particular variation can deliver up to 300 watts depending on how many amps each individual pin can support, making it suitable for powering both high end consumer grade graphics cards as well as professional grade solutions designed specifically for creative applications such as 3D rendering or video editing tasks etcetera.
Video Output Cables:
Video output cables are a must-have for anyone working with digital media.
They provide the necessary connection between devices that allows us to share high-quality images and videos.
With the increasing complexity of digital displays and monitors, discovering the right video output cable can be a bit tricky.
There are different types of cables explained below:
High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the modern standard for connecting a variety of digital devices, from laptops and gaming consoles to TV’s and projectors. It allows for support of up to 8K resolution at 60 frames per second as well as advanced features such as high dynamic range (HDR) and variable refresh rates (VRR).
The DisplayPort connector is a common choice for connecting PCs to monitors, allowing up to 8K resolution at 60 frames per second, HDR support, and variable refresh rate. This port can also be used with an adapter to connect monitors that use HDMI or DVI connectors.
The Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is an older standard that has been around since 1999. It can still be found on some PCs and monitors today, but its lack of support for higher resolutions like 4K and 8K make it less desirable than HDMI or DisplayPort.
The Video Graphics Array (VGA) is an analog interface that was once the standard for connecting PCs to monitors. While it can still be found on some older PCs, its lack of support for higher resolutions means that it’s not a good choice for modern digital displays.
The USB Type-C connector is quickly becoming the go-to choice for connecting devices, as it can handle an array of different functions. This includes video output, allowing you to connect a laptop or tablet to a monitor via a USB-C to HDMI adapter. It also supports 4K and 8K resolutions at 60 frames per second, HDR support, and variable refresh rate. However, its lack of support for older displays means that it’s not always compatible with existing equipment.
- Thunderbolt 3:
Thunderbolt 3 is a newer alternative to USB-C, offering support for both video and data transfer. It can handle even higher resolutions than USB-C at up to 8K resolution at 60 frames per second, and also supports HDR and variable refresh rate. Plus, it is backward compatible with older Thunderbolt ports, making it a great choice for both new and existing devices.
In short, the answer is no.
GPUs do not come with power cables since they are typically attached to a computer’s motherboard and get their power from the PSU (power supply unit) mounted inside the computer case.
The type of graphics card you have will determine which specific PCIe slot it needs to be inserted into on the motherboard.
After that, all you need to do is connect your monitor(s) to the appropriate ports on the GPU using either HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort cables (or a combination thereof), and then boot up your computer.
That’s it, If you need help choosing or installing a graphics card, feel free to reach out to one of our experts for assistance.
Do all GPUs have power cables?
No, GPUs do not come with power cables since they are typically attached to a computer’s motherboard and get their power from the PSU (power supply unit) mounted inside the computer case.
Can I use any power cable with my gpu?
No, you should only use the power cable that came with your GPU as other cables may not be compatible.
Does a graphics card need a power cable?
Yes, a graphics card typically needs at least one 6- or 8-pin power cable to provide additional power. The amount of required power depends on the type and model of the graphics card in question.
Which power supply cable is for the GPU?
To power a GPU, you need a power cable with either 6 or 8 pins.