What Is PCI E Cable Used For? – A Detailed Guide

The power supply is perhaps the most crucial component of every computer or server. So, it must provide a steady voltage and current to meet the computer’s needs. A PCI e cable used for providing power to the PCIe supporting devices is best for GPUs, NICs, and other high-performance peripherals.

Therefore, this article will discuss everything you need to know about PCIe cables, including what they are, where you can get them, how to plug them in, and more. So, let’s get started.


PCI E Cables and Their Types

There are 75 watts available to power the PCI Express expansion cards you plug into the PCIex16 slots. This power is usually enough to run low-demand GPUs or peripherals like sound and network adapters. A GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and other graphics processors that use many resources need a PCI connection to get more power.

Many kinds of PCI e-cables have different uses; therefore, you should know your requirements before buying a power supply unit. They may include how many and what kind of PCIe connections you need.

The only thing that can differentiate between PCI e cables is their number of Pins. So, the followings are the different types of PCIe ports.

6-Pin PCI e Cables

The 6-pin power cords can supply up to 75 watts, making them ideal for low-power graphics cards. The number of Pins for PCI e cables specifies what it uses; therefore, if you connect a 6-pin cable to an 8-pin slot, the GPU could overheat. This overheating results from more power consumption than the cord can supply.

8-Pin PCI e Cables

The 8-pin PCIe connections are suitable for high-powered gaming or mining rigs because they can power up to 150-watt devices. With these wires, power-hungry PCI Express GPUs won’t be a problem. You can get these in a straight 8-pin configuration or a 6+2 configuration.

12-Pin PCI e Cables

The latest power connection from NVIDIA has 12 pins, making it the most up-to-date option for their devices. Because of its 3.0mm pitch, the 12-pin cable is about the same width as an 8-pin connection. In this simple method of connecting, one row provides power, and the other includes ground.

Compared to our premium connection, which uses 16AWG wires and can handle 600 watts, our new 12-pin cable can handle 500 watts. Pantech’s 12-pin connections can take 3 to 4 times as much power as an 8-pin connection in the same amount of space.

Pigtail PCI e Power Cables

One end of the pigtail PCIe cable plugs into the wall outlet, and the other has a splitter that makes two separate wires. Depending on the model, they are split into two 6-pin or 8-pin wires. Since these cables don’t deliver as much power as straight cables, they are better for low-power graphics cards and should be avoided if you have a high-end card.

Compatibility of PCI e Cables – PCI E Cable Used for Which System?

We know that graphics cards can have either a six-pin or an eight-pin power connector. The PCI Express cables can have a 6-pin, 6+2, or eight-pin connection like the cards.

Most power supply units have PCIe/CPU or VGA written on the power connectors for graphics cards. On the cable’s connection, there might be a label that says “PCI-E.” The video card’s power supply unit and any extra PCIe connections should come from the same company (PSU).

Ensure that the power supply unit you choose has enough PCIe connections to connect all of your graphics cards. Also, even though they look similar, the PCIe connection and the ATX12V/ESP12V adapter for the CPU are not the same.

PCI e cables are at the top of the factors regarding how healthy Graphics cards work. So, when you use a PSU, you might not need any adapters or splitters to connect the power cord.

PCI e Cables Vs EPS Cables

The PCI-e cable and the EPS cable are pretty much the same. It would be impossible to tell them apart without a label. The power for the graphics processing unit (GPU) comes from the PCI-e line, while the power for the CPU comes from the EPS cable.

The most significant difference is that each one gives off one volt slightly differently. So, you can’t connect a PCIe card to an EPS connection and vice versa. But PCI e cables are used for carrying only 75 W for 6-pins and 150 W for 8-pins, while EPS cables can have 130 W.

What Happens When You, by Mistake, Interchange the PCIe Cable with ESP Cable?

Technically, the EPS connection on the graphics card and the PCI-e cable that goes to the motherboard don’t work together. If you plug in the wrong wires, you could damage the graphics processing unit (GPU) or the central processing unit (CPU).

The cable broke mainly because the EPS uses more power than the PCI-e cable. If you switch these cables, the GPU will have more power than it can handle, while the CPU will have less.

How Many PCIe Cables do I Need?

The PCI e Cable used for powering your GPUs has different applications. Therefore, the most important things to consider are the number and type of GPUs you want to use in the future and whether or not you wish to overclock. You might want to improve your PC’s visual capabilities in the future, but for now, it can only hold one graphics card.

If you want to buy a video card that only has room for one 8-pin power connection, you should choose a power supply unit with just one 8-pin PCIe power cable. If you plan to buy the same graphics card in the future, you might not have to worry about replacing your power supply if you buy one with at least two 8-pin PCIe connections.

However, if you have a lot of high-end GPUs, each of which may need up to three 8-pin PCIe connections, you should buy a high-power module power supply unit with enough sockets to meet the needs of your mining rig. This lets you use as many PCI Express connections as you need. Moreover, if you decide to upgrade your graphics card in the future.

However, whenever you don’t plan to use a heavy graphics card, you don’t need a PCIe power line or the extra power it gives you. The power supply unit is probably the essential part of your computer, so you need to spend the extra money to ensure you get a high-quality one.

Connecting PCI e Cable With the GPU

Connecting your PCI e-Cable with the GPU is very simple. It only needs the following steps.

  •  Firstly, look in the PSU manual or the PSU itself to find the PCIe cables.
  •  Find the PCIe cable in the power supply.
  •  Plug the PCIe cable into the power port on the graphics card.
  •  Finally, you can easily use a PCIe cable to get power from the power supply unit to your graphics card.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many PCIe cables do I need for a 3080 TI?

Both the power supply and the card need dual PCI Express wires. Moreover, it would help if you didn’t connect devices using a series of daisy chains.

Can we use a PCIe cable with any PSU?

Usually not, no. If the power supply unit (PSU) and the cable are not the same models, the computer’s motherboard, hard drive, solid-state drive, and other components might be damaged or destroyed.

How much power can a PCIe cable provide?

The most power that can be sent to the video card through the PCI-e slot on the motherboard is 75 watts. It has a powerful connection with six pins that can deliver up to 75W. The 8-pin power connection can send out up to 150W of power.


Your computer can’t work without a steady flow of electricity. And the PCI e cable used for the power supply is crucial to getting the best from your GPU. So, when choosing a power supply for a computer with a high-performance graphics card, you need to be careful. This post should have taught you about PCIe connections and PSU considerations.

If you plan to use a powerful graphics card, you might want to buy a power supply with multiple PCIe connections and high wattage. A good-quality PCIe cable will save you money if you decide to add another GPU in the future. In general, you should spend money on a reliable PSU that can handle the load of your GPUs.

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