New test shows loose RTX 4090 power connectors cause overheating and melting

Enlarge / Nvidia’s RTX 4090.

Sam Machkovech

A couple of weeks in the past, some early adopters of Nvidia’s new flagship RTX 4090 GPU started reporting that the playing cards’ power connectors had been overheating and melting their plastic casing, typically inflicting harm to the outrageously quick and costly GPUs.

For Nvidia’s half, the corporate continues to be trying into the failures. “We proceed to research the reviews, nevertheless we do not have additional particulars to share but,” in accordance with an Nvidia rep speaking to KitGuru earlier this week. But the YouTubers on the Gamers Nexus channel have been conducting their very own in-depth analysis, and briefly, they consider that the issues are largely being brought on by improperly seated power connectors. “Foreign-object particles” contained in the connector may also cause issues, however Gamers Nexus believes this sort of harm is far rarer.

The failure that Gamers Nexus was capable of re-create in its labs concerned connecting the 12VHPWR power connector to an RTX 4090 with out inserting it absolutely and then bending the cable to 1 aspect, making the connection even worse. After only a few minutes of testing, the loose connection’s excessive power resistance generated warmth above 250° Celsius, inflicting smoke and seen effervescent because the connector melted in its socket.

A still from Gamers Nexus' testing video.  A visibly loose connection combined with a cable bent at a harsh angle caused rapidly increasing temperatures and, eventually, smoking and melting.
Enlarge / A nonetheless from Gamers Nexus’ testing video. A visibly loose connection mixed with a cable bent at a harsh angle precipitated quickly growing temperatures and, finally, smoking and melting.

Gamers Nexus describes the issue as “a mixture of consumer error and design oversight.” That is, the cables are melting as a result of they have not been inserted all the way in which. But the shortage of a tactile “click on” sound or a extra strong retention mechanism makes this sort of error extra possible with the 12VHPWR connector than with the older 6- and 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The measurement of the 4090 and 4080 playing cards can also be exacerbating issues. The playing cards may be tight suits even in comparatively roomy ATX PC instances—you might must bend the cable a technique or one other to get your case to shut again up, and this sort of bending can cause the loose connection that contributed to overheating and melting in Gamers Nexus’ testing.

Notably, the failures can have an effect on any cable or adapter utilizing the 12VHPWR connector—this goes for each sorts of adapters that Nvidia and its companions have been utilizing for 4090s to date, in addition to “native” 12VHPWR cables that run on to a power provide with no adapter in between. Earlier evaluation steered that adapters from a selected producer could possibly be extra failure-prone than others, however Gamers Nexus didn’t discover that it made a distinction. This additionally means, presumably, that 12VHPWR adapters transport with the RTX 4080 playing cards might have the identical points, too.

For now, one of the best factor you are able to do is make completely certain that your power connector is firmly seated—whether it is, it is best to be capable to yank on it fairly firmly with out really pulling it out (we had been capable of test this firsthand). You also needs to watch out to keep away from any sort of harsh bending of the power cable in any route. We’ll hold a watch out for an official assertion from Nvidia, to see if it has additional suggestions or plans for any sort of recall or substitute for affected playing cards.

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