Many motherboards use extra power connectors to provide more power for the parts inside. Most motherboards will have at least one 8 pin or 4 pin connector, but some do not have any. The more power the motherboard requires, the more likely it is to have a 4 pin or 8 pin, or both, power connector installed.
Difference between 4 Pin and 8 Pin Power Connector
The only difference between 4 pin and 8 pin connectors is the number of pins and the amount of power they supply. Four pin connectors are more likely to be used for smaller power needs, such as an extra video card. Eight pin power connectors are more common on motherboards that have more than one CPU socket. The 8 pin connector can provide additional power to the other CPU.
Most power supplies have 4 pin and 8 pin power connectors to connect to the motherboard. However, older power supplies may not have these connectors and you will have to buy an adapter.
4 Pin Power Connectors
Four pin power connectors are common in XFX or EVGA motherboards that use SLI or Crossfire. They are also widely used in server motherboards that have a more than the usual number of memory slots.
8 Pin Power Connectors
These connectors are found on motherboards that require a lot of power, such as an Extended ATX motherboard, and server motherboards. They are found on all dual CPU motherboards.
The power supply needs to be able to power a motherboard that uses additional power connectors. A 600 watt, or more, power supply is a safe choice for a motherboard that uses many power connectors.
- Karol Harmata MD, Computer Engineering, Illinios Institute of Technology (IIT)
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Blake Patterson
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