Nvidia believes the RTX 4090 wires melted because they were not completely connected in
After weeks of examining allegations that the power cords for its RTX 4090 graphics card were melting and burning, Nvidia now claims to know why: they weren’t plugged in all the way.
Nvidia said in a Friday post to its customer support forum that it is currently reviewing the allegations, but that its results “indicate” that an unsecured connection has been a widespread issue. It also claims to have received 50 reports of the problem.
Nvidia’s flagship card employs a 12VHPWR power connection, a new standard that isn’t natively supported by the majority of power supplies now in use in PCs. As a result, it includes an adaptor — or “power dongle,” as Friday’s article refers to it — in the box. Users first blamed the adaptor, with some claiming that the melting connection had also ruined their $1,599 GPU.
It’s tempting to interpret the company’s results as blaming the users. Nvidia doesn’t explicitly state that it’s user mistake, but it’s highly suggested in the message. It also appears to be a very handy answer, given that many have been guessing for about a month that the problem is caused by something more sophisticated, such as improper soldering or wires that are too tiny to properly manage the large quantities of electricity blasted through.
However, GamersNexus, a site well-known in the PC-building industry for its thorough testing, came to the same conclusion earlier this week. The outlet, which reviewed broken adapters submitted in by viewers and conducted rigorous testing and reporting on the issue, aired a video on Wednesday showing that the connections had wear lines, signalling that they hadn’t been properly placed into the slot. According to GamersNexus, some users appear to have missed a full connection by several millimetres. Its video demonstrates how a loose connection may cause the plug to heat up significantly if it is plugged in incorrectly and at an angle.
Nvidia’s article includes an image of the connection when it’s not completely inserted in, and it appears to be much simpler to overlook than something that’s out by a full 2mm and held at an angle (potentially because of the cables being pulled back too tightly during installation).
It’s worth mentioning, though, that Nvidia may not be entirely culpable in this case. Another thing that stands out in the image is that the connector includes a locking key. In principle, there’s a feature that would prevent this from happening, as long as it provides useful data when plugged in. However, according to GamersNexus, even when fully inserted, the adapters do not snap into place.
Aside from that, the testing done by Nvidia and GamersNexus does not appear to point to manufacturing problems as the primary issue (though the outlet’s video on Wednesday did mention that debris left over from manufacturing might have been an aggravating factor). In any case, an unidentified corporate official told GamersNexus on Friday that “any concerns with the burnt cable or GPU, regardless of cable or GPU, it will be handled” for a replacement.