Can a 24-pin connector work with a 20-pin power connector?

Almost all of the new power supplies used today feature a 24-pin power connector to connect to a computer motherboard. However, some motherboards still feature a 20-pin ATX power connection.

Thankfully, almost all 24-pin power connectors are designed so that four of the pins can be detached or moved out of the way enough to allow for the connector to be plugged into the motherboard power connection. By detaching the 4-pins or moving them out of the way, the connector becomes a 20-pin power connector. The 4 additional pins can be left unplugged since they are not needed with motherboards that have a 20-pin power connection. These extra pins supply additional power for higher-end motherboards.

ATX 24-pin style conncetor

If the 24-pin power connector on your power supply does not allow the detachment of the 4 additional pins, you can still connect it to the motherboard's power connection one of two ways.

  1. You can purchase a 24-pin to 20-pin adapter from a number of online computer retailers. The adapter will connect to the 24-pin connector, converting it to a 20-pin connector, allowing you to connect it directly to the motherboard's 20-pin connection. There will be no need to detach or move the additional 4 pins.
  2. Depending on the design of the 24-pin connector and the 20-pin connection on the motherboard, you may be able to plug the 24-pin connector into the motherboard connection without having to detach or move the additional 4 pins. It will be a tight fit, requiring a small bit of force to make the connector fit in place correctly. While this is an option you can try, it is not recommended that you do this, as it could result in damage to either the 24-pin power connector, the 20-pin power connection on the motherboard or damage to the motherboard itself, in the form of a crack due to applying excessive force around the motherboard connection.

Additional information

  • See our power supply definition for further information and related links.