Nvidia’s RTX 4090 Graphics Card: After weeks of saying it was looking into allegations of melting and burning power cords for its RTX 4090 graphics card, Nvidia now claims it may have figured out why: the wires weren’t plugged in all the way.
Nvidia is currently looking into the claims, as stated in a post to its customer support site on Friday, although preliminary findings “indicate” an unsecured connection has been a widespread problem. There have apparently been about 50 instances of the problem, the paper adds.
The power connection used by Nvidia’s flagship card is known as 12VHPWR. This is a new standard that isn’t yet supported by the majority of PC power supplies. For this reason, it includes a power dongle (or adapter) in the package (as described in the blog post published on Friday). Initial complaints from users placed the blame on the adapter, with some even claiming that the melting connection had harmed their $1,599 GPU.
One such interpretation of the company’s data would place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the consumers. Although Nvidia doesn’t explicitly state that the problem is due to human mistake, it’s pretty much what the message implies.
It also sounds like a handy answer, given that people have been theorizing about the problem for about a month and have come up with theories like faulty soldering or cables that are too tiny to properly manage the large quantities of electricity being poured through them.
Though just this week, GamersNexus, a reputable PC-building publication known for its thorough testing, reached much the same result. The outlet reviewed broken adapters submitted in by viewers and conducted thorough testing and reporting on the issue, posting a video on Wednesday showing that the connections had wear lines, indicating that they hadn’t been entirely pushed into the slot.
According to GamersNexus, some players appear to have been separated from a complete link by only a few microns. The video demonstrates how a faulty connection, especially if the socket is angled at an angle, can cause the plug to get extremely hot.
Nvidia shows what the connector looks like when it is only partially inserted, and it’s much simpler to overlook than when it’s out by 2mm and held at an angle (potentially because of the cables being pulled back too tightly during installation). With an alternative RTX 4090 graphics card from a different manufacturer, it would be even less noticeable than the Nvidia version seen in the photographs below.
It’s a good idea to double-check that the card you have on your computer looks like the one at the bottom if you have one installed.
Nvidia, though, may not be entire without fault in this scenario. The photo it uploaded also reveals that the connection is secured by a key. Assuming it provides useful feedback upon insertion, this is the type of feature that may theoretically prevent such an occurrence from occurring. However, GamersNexus reports that there is no audible “click” when the adapters are fully attached.
Regardless, Nvidia and GamersNexus‘ testing doesn’t seem to point to manufacturing faults as the major issue (though the outlet’s video from Wednesday did suggest that debris left during manufacture may have been an aggravating factor).
On Friday, an anonymous corporate representative assured GamersNexus that “any concerns with the burnt cable or GPU, regardless of cable or GPU, will be processed” for a replacement.