Older motherboards require a 4-pin CPU power plug or power connector for powering all the hardware connected to your computer’s motherboard. On the other hand, the latest motherboards require an 8-pin power connector to power the powerful CPU and other internal and external computer devices.
In this article, we will help you understand what your CPU power needs are and how you can economically fulfill them. We will also discuss the need for a 4-pin and an 8-pin CPU power plug, so you can choose the best option for powering your computer system’s motherboard.
Do I Need Both The 8 Pin and 4 Pin CPU Power Plug?
If your motherboard has an 8 + 4 pin power connector, then we will recommend you connect both of the CPU power plugs. In this way, you can join as many devices to your motherboard as possible because your motherboard will have enough power to run them all except for your graphics card (also known as GPU).
If you have a low-power CPU installed on your motherboard and a lesser number of memory modules (RAMs), storage devices (HDDs or SSDs), and other USB devices, then a 4-pin power plug will work. But if you have hardware requiring more power, you must connect an 8-pin CPU power plug.
In case your computer system motherboard has two 8-pin CPU power plugs or connectors, then you must connect both of the 8-pin cords to your motherboard. It is the only way to provide sufficient power demanded by your PC motherboard. Not only will your CPU consume this power, but also the RAMs, SSDs, and other devices.
You may have upgraded a motherboard that requires an 8-pin CPU power plug, but your power supply unit (PSU) has either a 4 -pin connector or a 6-pin or both of them. In this case, instead of buying a new power supply, you can use an adapter cable. A 6-inch adapter cable should be long enough for connection.
This cable will connect to your PSU’s 4-pin connector and convert it into an 8-pin connector. On the other hand, we suggest you upgrade your power supply unit because it will benefit you in the future, especially when you want to increase the number of devices connected to your computer system’s motherboard.
The 4-pin CPU power plugs were used with the older motherboards. It was because the older hardware could not connect more devices to it than the latest ones. The other reason was a bit technical that motherboards with a 4-pin connector did not have more electric paths on their PCB (printed circuit board).
On the other hand, nearly all of the latest motherboards require an 8-pin CPU power plug or connector cable. And the reason behind this is more paths on their PCB (printed circuit board). This is to fulfill the power needs of more hardware connected to it and keep it as cool as possible.
- PS4 Connector
A 4-Pin connector is also known as a PS4 connector. This connector is used for both motherboard (CPU) and GPU. The maximum current supply through this connector is 155W. Most of the low-end CPUs and high-end GPUs require this PS4 connector.
- EPS connector
The 8-pin connector is called the ESP connector. This connector is used to supply current to your CPU. The maximum capacity of this connector is 234W. If you have a CPU with more than 155 TDP, then you need this ESP connector.
Can I Use 8 Pin CPU Cable for a 4-Pin CPU?
You can use an 8-pin CPU cable for a 4-pin CPU, which will work without any problems. Most older motherboards have a 4-pin ESP motherboard port and use a 4-pin CPU power plug or cable for switching on. This power is divided into parts for your CPU, RAMs, SSDs, and other devices.
If you have such a motherboard and an upgraded power supply unit (PSU) with an 8-pin CPU cable, then don’t worry. Just split the 8-pin connector into two 4-pin connectors and connect either of the halves to the motherboard of your computer system. A PSU with more power can efficiently run a motherboard with less power.
How Much Power Does a 4-Pin CPU Connector Provide?
If you use an ATX power supply unit (PSU), its 4-pin CPU connector will provide more or less 108 watts of power. This power is enough for older motherboards with built-in graphics processing units (GPUs). But the latest motherboard with an 8-pin or 8 + 4-pin ESP port requires more power to power more devices.
If you plan to connect a 4-pin CPU connector to a motherboard with more than two RAMS, two HDDs, and an external graphics card or GPU, then it will not work. It is because the power consumption demand of your motherboard is more than what your power supply with a 4-pin CPU power plug can provide.
On the other hand, the EATX power supply unit for the motherboard with an 8 + 4 pin ESP power connector has two different power levels. The maximum power it can provide through the 8-pins is more or less 336 watts. At the same time, the total power that its 4-pin CPU power plug can provide is more or less 168 watts.
Why is The an Extra 4-pin CPU Power?
It is good news if your power supply unit (PSU) has an extra 4-pin CPU power connector because it can provide more power than the older power supplies. This CPU power plug is for providing additional power to your PC hardware. Technically speaking, it has two 12-volt wires for the motherboards and GPUs, with more power demand.
It is also possible that this extra 4-pin CPU power plug is for your external graphics card or GPU. Nearly all 2-fan GPUs (graphics processing units) require additional power, including the one they get from the PCIe slot of your computer system’s motherboard. You should connect it to your graphics card.
When you overclock your CPU, GPU, or RAM, your hardware requires more power. Your computer system’s motherboard draws this power from your PC’s power supply unit (PSU). It is why there are motherboards that use PSUs with an extra 4-pin CPU power connector to fulfill the power demands of your PC.
Do I Need an 8-pin CPU Power Connector?
If you have mainstream AMD or Intel and intend to use your computer system usually, then you need to connect either of the 8-pin CPU power plugs. Because the power provided by the single CPU power plug with 8-pins is more or less 336 watts. And this amount of power is enough for a standard PC.
On the other hand, if you want to overclock your hardware, attach multiple GPUs and monitors, and add more SSDs and RAMs (memory modules), then you should plug both of the 8-pin CPU power connectors into your PC motherboard. This way, your devices, and your CPU will have enough power to work correctly.
Can I Use a 4-Pin in 8-Pin Motherboard?
You can never use a 4-pin connector in a motherboard with an 8-pin connectivity option. We will recommend you upgrade your power supply unit (PSU) instead. It is because, in this way, your computer system’s motherboard and other hardware will have enough power to work correctly without any starvation.
Contrary to this, if you forcefully connect the 4-pin CPU power plug to the 8-pin and try to overclock your CPU, RAMs, or GPU, then not only will your motherboard be at risk, but also your power supply unit (PSU) can burn out. Connecting more hardware, such as RAMs, GPUs, MIC, etc., can overload your power supply.
Moreover, if the 4-pin CPU power plug is not connected to the right place, it can damage your computer system’s motherboard and other components. That is why we recommend you upgrade your PSU to an 8-pin motherboard with an extra 4-pin CPU power connector.
Is 8 Pin CPU Same as PCIe?
PCIe stands for peripheral component interconnect express. It is nothing but the slots on your motherboard that connect your graphics card (also known as GPU). On the other hand, an 8-pin CPU power plug is a different thing. It is connected to your motherboard, so you can switch your PC on.
Not only that, but the 8-pin CPU power plug is also a power cord that provides power to all of the internal and external devices connected to it. Such as CPU, GPU, RAMs, SSDs, Keyboard, Mouse, etc. Simply put, a PCIe can only provide power to the device connected to it until the 8-pin CPU power plug is attached.
What is The Proper Way to Plug in a CPU Power Plug?
First, for plugging in a CPU, you need to carefully clean your motherboard using a brush and a vacuum. Because tiny dust particles can affect the performance of your CPU very much. Secondly, insert the CPU in its socket and adequately apply thermal paste. After that, put the heatsink on and clip or screw it.
Next, look for the ESP socket on your motherboard. The number of pins varies in these sockets with the type of motherboard. There are older motherboards with 4-pin, 6-pin, and 8-pin CPU power connector sockets. Even the latest motherboards have 8 + 4-pin ESP sockets and two 8-pin sockets for powering the CPU and other devices.
The 8-pin CPU power connector plays an essential role in your computer system. It powers up the CPU and other components, such as RAMs, GPUs, etc. It is why most PC motherboards come with either a 4-pin or 8-pin ESP socket. Therefore, connecting the right power plug can increase your device’s performance and protect them from burning out.
Hey, I’m Hammad. I write for this website to help you with the IT advice about PC, RAM, CPU, Motherboard, PSU, and other PC components.
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