Asus Reportedly Mass Producing Cable-Free GPUs

Asus’ connector-less graphics card concept could soon become a reality. If the initiative takes off, the best graphics cards may not need power cables anymore. Demanding DIYers will surely love the idea since it’ll help reduce cable clutter.

One of the most impressive highlights at the Asus booth at Computex 2023 was a prototype GeForce RTX 4070 without external power connectors. The graphics card didn’t have the conventional 8-pin PCIe connector or the novelty 16-pin power connector, which has already gone through a quick revision for improved safety. Nonetheless, the graphics card doesn’t magically draw power out of thin air, but a proprietary connection, which is one downside to Asus’ design.

Instead of PCIe power connectors, Asus implemented a custom connector called the “GC_HPWR” connector that takes after a PCIe x1 connector. The GC_HPWR connector resides beside the PCIe 4.0 x16 connector. The custom slot is essentially a passthrough solution. As opposed to the 16-pin power cable connecting to the graphics card, it connects to a slot on the back of the motherboard where the power passes through to the graphics card. As a result, the graphics card will not function on a typical motherboard. It requires a proprietary expansion slot on upcoming Asus motherboards with the BTF (Back To Future) design, where the power connectors are behind the motherboard.

Bilibili content creator Eixa Studio, who recently attended Bilibili World 2023 exhibition in Shanghai, China, claims that Asus will start mass production of the connector-less graphics card in the Fall so that retail products may hit the market before the end of the year. While we’ve already seen the GeForce RTX 4070 Megalodon and TUF Gaming Z790 BTF with a black theme, Eixa Studio saw a new white variant of the same GeForce RTX 40-series graphics card and an upcoming TX Gaming B760-BTF WiFi motherboard for Intel Raptor Lake and Raptor Lake Refresh processors.

Due to the design and extra components required, the connector-less graphics cards and matching BTF motherboards will likely come with a slight premium compared to standard hardware. The million-dollar question is whether the higher price tag can convince consumers to jump on Asus’ bandwagon. The cable-free design offers no performance benefits other than making your build look cleaner and avoiding the 16-pin power connector meltdown disaster.