Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There's many similar questions to this, and because the answers vary depending on the setup, I want to ask for my friend's specific setup.

He recently upgraded to a Core i5 gaming build, so he has this leftover build composed of some old parts he has lying around: Intel Core2Duo E8400 stock speed 3 Ghz
EVGA 780i SLI FTW
OCZ DDR2-800 2x2GB RAM
1x Optical
1x 500 GB HD
ATI Radeon 5670 HD

The only thing he's missing is a power supply. Now to make this use up as little money as possible (he just wants this PC to be made for his gf, it won't be for gaming), I have a spare Coolermaster 600w from awhile back that I can provide to him.

The only caveat here is that the 600W only has a ATX 12v 4-pin connector and nothing else. The 780i mobo has an EPS 12v 8-pin.

He has no plans to overclock the spare build, and he's using a relatively lower end video card. Is it OK for him to use the PSU's ATX 12v 4-pin and just stick it in one half (I'm assuming the EPS 12v 8-pin is keyed correctly?) of the 8-pin connector?

Edit: Following up on Synetech's answer, would this ultimately solve my issue since it combines a P4 with a 4-pin molex to turn it into a full-blown 8-pin EPS 12v plug? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812200459

share|improve this question
    
Is there only one 4-pin connector? –  Synetech Feb 5 '12 at 5:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Information:

Page 16 of the manual to the motherboard says that the 8-pin connector is for supplying power to the CPU.

Method 1:

If you look at the pinout of the 8-pin socket and the 4-pin cable (figures 1 and 2 below respectively), you will notice that physically, it should be compatible. I found a page (figure 3) that indicates that it can be done, but strongly advises using a proper 8-pin cable. This makes sense because the connector is generally for providing the CPU with extra power (as opposed to any power), so while it may work, the system may suddenly shut down if CPU usage goes up to 100% (eg while doing a virus-scan, watching YouTube videos, etc.)

Method 2:

Another option I have found is some discussions (like this one) about using an adapter (figure 4) to connect the 4-pin cable to both halves of the 8-pin connector. In fact, there are plenty such adapters on eBay for as little as $1 (and free shipping). Newegg also has a couple. Of course the problem with this method is the same as the previous one in that there is no additional power being supplied; this method simply splits the power from one source across the two halves of the connector.

Like you said, a Molex-to-8pin adapter is a good option too. There are different ones available which either split a single cable across the two halves of the 8-pin connector (which is generally not going to be a problem since that is what happens when you plug the three or four connectors on one cable into multiple drives, etc. anyway). There are others (figure 5) that have two separate Molex connectors (one for each half of the 8-pin) which you can plug into Molex connectors from different cables from the PSU for extra peace of mind. These are fairly cheap too (~$2 with shipping). It also has similarly good reviews.

In fact, there are also 6-pin PCI-E to 8-pin ATX12V adapters as well, and probably others (though you indicated that the PSU does not have this).

Recommendation:

The difference between the two methods gets to be somewhat complicated if you are not familiar with electronic engineering, but suffice it to say that method two is the better one in most circumstances. Using a PSU with an actual, dedicated 8-pin cable is the best solution of course, but if you look at the reviews at Newegg for the adapters, you will see that all of the reviews are positive, indicating that an adapter will likely be a good way to solve this problem for next to nothing.


Figure 1: 8-pin EPS ATX_12v motherboard connector

enter image description here

Figure 2: 4-pin ATX 12v auxiliary connector

enter image description here

Figure 3: Using a 4-pin cable in an 8-pin plug

enter image description here

Figure 4: 4-pin to 8-pin ATX 12V adapter

enter image description here

Figure 5: Molex to 8-pin adapter

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
That is the most comprehensive and complete answer I could have ever gotten. THANK YOU. That answers exactly what I was thinking. +1 to you! Edit: What about if I use this instead? Would this be even more ideal since it converts both the 4-pin + molex into a proper 8-pin? newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812200459 –  White Phoenix Feb 5 '12 at 7:52
1  
Yes. That is good too. I’ve added more detail to the answer. –  Synetech Feb 5 '12 at 18:41
    
Isn't that 2 4-pin molex to 8-pin adapter meant for PCI-E cards that require 8-pins and not for EPS 12v 8-pin? The one I linked converts the ATX 12v 4-pin + a molex 4-pin into an EPS 12v 8-pin. –  White Phoenix Feb 6 '12 at 4:26
1  
If you look closely, you’ll see that the pinout is the same (it will fit because it is round,square,square,round; square,round,round,square). –  Synetech Feb 6 '12 at 4:30
    
@Synetch Gotcha. Thank you for the informative post. The only converter I could find was the one on Newegg for the ATX 12v 4 pin + 1 4-pin molex. Could you point me to where you found this picture and a site that sells it? –  White Phoenix Feb 7 '12 at 22:31

The documentation and specifications say no, but my bet is that it would almost certainly work. That connector only supplies +12V power to the CPU, and 2 pins (each way) at +12V should carry 120W without a problem.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.