Last Updated on March 12, 2021
There are two types of cables that connect to graphics cards i.e power cables and video output cables. For people who are asking themselves ‘Do graphics cards come with cables?’ this article will aim to clear up that confusion.
Basically, majority of the graphics cards do not come with power or video output cables. You may find some graphics cards come with power cables but those are very rare. In usual cases, the power cables that are required by the graphics cards come with the PSU, and not with the GPU. Similarly, the video output cables come with the monitor and not the GPU. In this article, we will look at what cables graphics cards can need and where you can acquire them.
To clarify this, let us look some example of unboxing videos.
Review the unboxing video of Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 here to see that it does not come with power or video cables even though the specification says it requires 1 x 8-pin cable and 1 x 6-pin connector.
Similarly, you can watch the unboxing video of Asus Strix Radeon RX 5700 XT and see that it does not come with power or video output cables as well.
What to Do if the Cards Don’t Come with the PCI-E Cables?
If your graphics card does not come with a cable, then you should use the cables that come with your PSU. Cables are more guaranteed to come with the PSU rather than with the graphics cards themselves.
You can purchase replacement cables if you don’t have any to begin with or you end up losing them.
The following video shows the unboxing video of Corsair RM750X power supply unit. The videos shows that connectors and cables come with the PSU.
What are the Types of Cables and Connections Used by Graphics Cards?
There are various connectors and cables using which graphics cards can connect with the PC. While the answer to the question ‘Do Graphics Cards come with Cables?’ has been established earlier, it is important to know exactly what sort of connections are actually used by an average GPU.
PCI Express x16 Connection
The PCI Express x16 connection is the most common and widely method of connection for graphics cards.
The PCI Express x16 can carry up to 75 watts of power to the graphics card. If your graphics card needs less than 75 watts to operate, you can simply connect it to the PCI Express slot on the motherboard and you’re good to go.
The MSI GeForce GTX 750 Ti is a low-end graphics card that requires only 60 watts to work. It does not come with a cable since it does not need a cable to connect. The PCI-E express can fulfill its power requirement on its own.
6-Pin PCI-E Connector
If your card needs more power to run, then it will use either a 6-pin or an 8-pin connector. The 6-pin connector has the capability to provide your card with 75 watts of additional power.
The Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1650 OC edition 4GB GDDR6 is a good example of a card that requires only one 6-pin PCI-E cable to function.
8-pin PCI-E Connector
For cards that require even more than 150 watts of power to run, you will have to resort to an 8-pin PCI-E Cable. The 8-pin cable is capable of carrying up to 150 watts of additional power.
The XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS is a graphics card that requires a single 8-pin cable to connect to the PSU.
Combination of 6+6 Pin, 6+8 Pin, 8+8 Pin and MORE Connectors
For graphics cards that require more power, a combination of two connectors may be required.
An example of such cards is the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RX 580. This card requires both the 6 and 8 pin cables to connect to the PSU in order to run.
Similarly, there are some cards that may even require as many as 3 x 8 Pin connectors such as the ASUS ROG-STRIX-RTX3080-10G-GAMING
What are Split Cables?
Split Cables are a certain type of cable that split a single connector into two cables with a higher number of connectors.
For example, you can find a 6-pin split cable will mean that there will be a 6 pin connector on end that will split into 8 Pin (6+2) on the other end. Split cables can be used in lieu of two different cables when power output ports from the PSU is scarce.
Is it safe to use Split Cables?
While it is safe to use split ables, it can lead to system instability particularly when used on higher end graphics cards.
It is always recommended that you use separate cables and rely on split cables only when you absolutely have to.
It is better to take the safe route and divide the load on multiple cables instead of taking a risk and loading all that power on a single cable.
Do Graphics Cards Come with Video Output Cables
Other than the power cables, the other type of cables that connect with a graphics card are the video output cable. They include, HDMI, DP, DVI-D, Thunderbolt, and VGA cable.
Many graphics cards have a combination of these video output ports. However, the graphics cards themselves do not come with video output cables.
Instead, these are usually packages together with the display device you have i.e Monitor, TV, or Projector.
In this article, we sought to clear up the confusion regarding the question do graphics cards come with cables? The decisive answer to this question is that most graphics cards do not come with any cables be it power or video output cables.
You can find some graphics cards packaged with power cables, but they are quite rare.
So in short, for power cables, look into the PSU package. For video output cables, look into the display device package.
If you are short on PCIe power cables, you can always buy them separately online or through your local IT store.