What Are PCIE Cables Used for?

PCIE cables on the PSU are used to power PCI cards that need extra power; the main thing you’ll use these cables for are graphics cards (GPUs). Most power supply units label the power cords, making them easy to pick. 

My name is Ty Robinson, and I love spending my professional life dealing with all things technological. Every single part of a computer is vital in its own way and has a function. Learning what everything is for is imperative as an IT professional.

Every single power supply you can purchase comes with sets of PCIE cables. PCIE Cables come in a few different variations. Modern PSUs come with an 8-pin PCI-E cable in the form of 6+2.

PCIE Cables

As stated above, most PSUs will come in the 6+2 cable variation,  which you can see in the image below. 

Luckily, most GPUs you will purchase are 6 to 8 pins, so you won’t have any problems with connectivity. The 6+2 variation allows you to snap and clip the additional two pins depending on your needs. 

Besides what is most widely used, what else is out there? PSUs PCIE cables come in a few different alterations. 

  • PCIE 6 pin
    • The 6-pin power cable supplies 75w of power and is more than enough for low-range GPUs
  • PCIE 8 Pin
    • The 8-pin power cable gives you 150w of power to work with and power your device. Some mid-range and high-end GPUs use this as they need the most wattage they can get.
  • PCIE 12 Pin
    • The 12-pin cables provide 600w of power, more than the average PC user will ever need. 

Plugging in the cable is a simple process. Your GPU will have either a 6- or 8-pin. You’ll just need to flip it to the correct orientation and push it in until you hear it click. 

How Many Do I Need?

One PCIE cable will be all you need if you only use one GPU. If you plan on getting a graphics card with one 8-pin and then decide to get either the same or a similar one in the future, you would need a second one, which most PSUs come with.

There is a situation in which you may not even need one at all. If you are not much of a gamer, your GPU could be powered by the PCIE slot it is inserted into. 

Final Thoughts

PCIE cables are used to provide extra power to things that are placed in PCIE express slots, which in almost every case, is a GPU. A few variations offer different wattage levels, but the most common is 8, which provides 150w of extra power to your hardware. 

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