November 27, 2022

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New testing shows that the RTX 4090’s loose power connectors cause it to overheat and melt

New testing shows that the RTX 4090's loose power connectors cause it to overheat and melt
Zoom in / NVIDIA RTX 4090.

Sam Machkovitch

A few weeks ago, some people who had adopted a program The new RTX 4090 flagship GPU from Nvidia It began to report that there are power connectors for the cards Overheating and melting its plastic wrapsometimes causing outrageously fast and expensive GPUs to be damaged.

On Nvidia’s side, the company is still looking at the failures. According to an Nvidia rep, “We’re continuing to investigate the reports, but don’t have more details to share yet.” Talk to KitGuru earlier this week. But YouTubers at the Gamers Nexus channel were conduct their in-depth researchIn short, they believe that most problems are caused by improperly installed power connectors. “Foreign object debris” inside the connector can also cause problems, but Gamers Nexus believes this type of damage is very rare.

The failure that Gamers Nexus was able to recreate in its labs involved plugging the 12VHPWR power connector into the RTX 4090’s connector without inserting it all the way and then bending the cable to one side, making the connection worse. After just a few minutes of testing, the loose connector’s high energy resistance generated heat above 250 degrees Celsius, causing visible smoke and bubbles as the connector melted into its socket.

Still from Gamers Nexus testing video.  An obviously loose connection with a cable bent at a harsh angle caused it to rapidly increase in temperature, eventually smoking and melting.
Zoom in / Still from Gamers Nexus testing video. An obviously loose connection with a cable bent at a harsh angle caused it to rapidly increase in temperature, eventually smoking and melting.

Gamers Nexus describes the issue as “a combination of user errors and design oversight”. That is, cables We are They melt because they are not inserted all the way through. But the lack of a tactile “click” sound or a more robust retention mechanism makes this type of error more likely with the 12VHPWR connector than with the older 6- and 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The size of the 4090 and 4080 cards also exacerbates the problems. Cards can be tight even in relatively wide ATX PC cases—you might need to bend the cable one way or another to close the case, and that kind of bending can cause a loose connection that contributed to overheating and melting in our Gamers Nexus test.

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Notably, failure can affect Which Cable or adapter using a 12VHPWR connector – This applies to both types of adapters used by Nvidia and its partners since the 4090 to date, as well as the “native” 12VHPWR cables that run directly to a power supply without a transformer in between. An earlier analysis suggested that adapters from a certain manufacturer might be more prone to failure than others, but Gamers Nexus didn’t find it made a difference. This also means, most likely, that 12VHPWR adapters that shipped with RTX 4080 cards could experience the same issues as well.

For now, the best you can do is make absolutely sure that your power connector is securely seated—if it is, you should be able to pull it hard without actually pulling it (we were able to test this firsthand). Care must also be taken to avoid any kind of extreme bending of the power cable in any direction. We’ll be watching an official statement from Nvidia, to see if it has further recommendations or plans for any kind of recall or replacement for the affected cards.