The VGA and CPU pins in the PSU and the connectors look the same, provide the same amount of voltage to each pin and even fit in each other’s sockets.
But just because something fits, doesn’t mean it belongs there. And connecting your graphics card or PC case to the wrong ports can permanently destroy your computer.
That being said, some manufacturers offer power supplies where CPU and GPU ports are interchangeable. But beware! Not all of them support this feature.
And in this article, I’ll explain how to use and connect VGA and CPU ports to different PSU brands.
Are CPU and VGA Ports Interchangeable?
No, you cannot connect graphics cards’ power cables to the CPU pins and CPU cases’ power cables to the VGA pins of the EVGA power supply. Because VGA uses 3x12V pins & 5xGND pins, and CPU uses 4x12V pins & 4xGND pins. However, the PCI-e has 2 interchangeable plugs.
The PSUs that EVGA SuperNova and Bitfenix offer have 8 pins for CPU power supply as well as 8 pins for GPU power supply labeled as VGA. Though the number of pins is the same, they are rated to different voltages as there are fewer live pins for the GPU power supply.
That’s why you cannot use VGA or PCI-e cable for the CPU.
Though the 8-pin PCIe cable looks similar to the CPU cable, there are massive characteristics and functionalities differences between a PCIe and CPU cable.
However, there are companies like Cooler Master, Corsair, and Seasonic has PSUs where CPU and GPU connection ports are interchangeable that are labeled as CPU/PCI-E.
What are PCI-E or VGA Cable Connectors?
The PCI Express cable, or in the case of EVGA SuperNova and Bitfenix Power Supply Units, the VGA cable connectors are used to connect a graphics card to the PSU.
These can carry more than 75 Watts of power, which is more than enough for a regular GPU to function correctly and for a high-end graphics card to maintain stability.
However, for more power-hungry, latest & greatest GPUs, the PCI-E connectors come with 6 or 8 pins with a 6+2 pin configuration where 6 of them carry 12 voltages, and 2 pins are grounded.
What are CPU or ESP Connectors?
The ESP connectors transport electricity from the CPU port of a power supply socket to the computer case, providing power to all the components.
These connector cables are similar to the PCI-e connectors, and although the number of pins is the same as PCI-e with the same amount of voltage, the ESP connector cables have fewer ground pins. That’s why it can carry more power.
Depending on the required power of the CPU, it comes in the following configurations:
- 8 pin
- 8+8 pin
- 8+4 pin
- 4+4 pin
Each pin can carry 12 voltages, and the 8-pin or 4+4-pin provides 235 watts to the computer.
If you don’t put too much pressure on the PC, an 8-pin connection to the power supply is enough, but in case you overclock the processor, connect more pins to the PSU; otherwise, your computer won’t be stable.
What are the CPU and GPU Power Supply Ports for Different Brands?
You must know what the pins for the CPU and graphics ports are on the PSU before connecting them. Otherwise, you can damage the equipment.
Also, as the PSU cables are not universal, their CPU & GPU ports vary for different brands.
Here are the CPU and GPU Power Supply ports on PSU sockets of different brands:
Seasonic Focus GX
Seasonic PSUs have exchangeable CPU and graphics card pins.
EVGA SuperNova 850W
The CPU & GPU ports in the PSUs from EVGA are not interchangeable, and the graphics card sockets are labeled as VGA.
Corsair AX1200i Digital ATX
Corsair PSUs do not have exchangeable CPU and graphics card pins.
Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 750W
Be Quiets’ power supply pins are not interchangeable between CPU and GPU ports.
Cooler Master V SFX Gold 650W
Cooler Master PSUs have exchangeable CPU and graphics card pins.
Antec HCP Platinum 850W
Antec power supply pins are not interchangeable between CPU and GPU ports.
Bitfenix Whisper M 450W & 850W
The CPU and graphics card ports in the PSUs from Bitfenix are not interchangeable, and the GPU sockets are marked as VGA.
MSI Preps 1300W
The CPU and GPU ports in the PSUs from MSI are separate and keyed.
In NZXT power supplies, the CPU and graphics ports are the same, but you cannot connect the CPU to the GPU pins and vice versa.
Phanteks Revolt SFX
Phanteks CPU and PCI-e ports are interchangeable.
And if you want to know more about the GPU power cable, you can check out the article for more details information.
What cable for CPU power?
P4 or ESP connectors supply power to the CPU. Typical & cheap motherboards have 4-pin, and high-end motherboards have 8-pin connectors.
Can you use a PCI cable for the CPU?
A PCI cable is used to connect the GPU to the power supply. But you can use an 8-pin PCI-e cable to provide power to the CPU.
The VGA and CPU pins on the power supply look the same, but they are supposed to connect to completely different components.
That’s why, before using a VGA cable for a CPU port, you must find out whether your PSU supports interchangeable CPU & PCI-e ports and this article will help you with that.
Leave a comment below if you have further inquiries, and we’ll get back to you.