Last year, ASUS unveiled a one-of-a-kind graphics card, the TX Gaming GeForce RTX 4070 BTF, which deviated from the traditionally utilised power connectors. Instead, a blade connector took the place of the conventional 8- or 12+4-power contact connectors. The company has now decided to further this innovation, introducing the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 BTF and TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super BTF models, sporting the same feature. A corresponding motherboard completed the reveal.
Adopting the new power connector for the graphics card eradicates the need for running and connecting additional cables, resulting in a visually more appealing assembled system. However, it demands the inclusion of a specific motherboard, fitted with a GC-HPWR power connector, capable of delivering up to 600W of power to the graphics card. Without it, the GPU would not receive the required power for operation.
In the BTF (Behind The Frame) concept, the motherboards are designed such that all the key connectors are transferred from the front to the back side. A prime example of such a motherboard is the newly introduced ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 HERO BTF, largely mirroring the original Z790 HERO version, but with all connectors relocated to the rear panel of the printed circuit board.
This motherboard is also equipped with ASUS’s proprietary PCIe High-Power connector. It supports BTF graphic accelerators and can deliver power up to 600 W. The motherboard’s 12VHPWR connector, located at the back of the motherboard, supplies power to this connector. Other notable features include an updated Q-LED indicator supplementing the standard DEBUG LED, which enables quick and clear troubleshooting, and also signals users about the right insertion of the DDR5 DIMM module.
For such a motherboard installation, a special computer case, accommodating the unique feature of relocating connectors to the rear side of the board, is necessary. Therefore, ASUS offers the TX Gaming GeForce RTX 4070 BTF as part of sets with a fitting computer case and motherboard.
ASUS has extended the BTF concept, releasing a special adapter composed of a special PCIe connector for the graphics card and a 12+4-contact power connector for PSU connection. This adapter allows the use of graphics cards with blade power connectors even with motherboards not equipped with the GC-HPWR connector. However, the adapter currently supports only vertical installation of the graphics card.
ASUS is striving to get other manufacturers on board with this idea of graphics cards sans traditional power connectors. It’s plausible that the company, in collaboration with its partners, may decide to sell pre-constructed PCs with BTF components. Meanwhile, ASUS has announced its expectation of new case models supporting reverse-connector placement from manufacturers like Aerocool, be quiet!, Cooler Master, Corsair, Inwin, Lian Li, Phanteks, Silverstone, and Thermaltake within the first quarter of this year.
ASUS has not yet released pricing details for the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 BTF and TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4070 Ti BTF, nor is it clear when these models will be available for purchase.