Nvidia says that it is investigating two reports of RTX 4090 cards where power cables were burnt or melted. Reddit user reggie_gakil was the first to post details about his problems with the Gigabyte RTX 4090 yesterday, showing burn damage to the new 12VHPWR adapter cable that Nvidia ships with the RTX 4090. The connection on the actual card was also damaged and melted. .
A second Reddit user responded to the same thread showing similar damage to the power connector on an Asus RTX 4090 graphics card.
“We are investigating the reports,” says Nvidia spokesman Bryan Del Rizzo in a statement to the edge. “We are in contact with the first owner and will be reaching out to the other for additional information.”
Nvidia initially moved to this new 16-pin power connector for its own RTX 3090 Ti cards, and it has now become a standard on RTX 40-series GPUs from all vendors. There is concern that the 12VHPWR power connector, which is designed for newer ATX 3.0 power supplies, could cause problems if it is bent in a certain way.
The 12VHPWR connector and terminals are much smaller than the previous generation, and cablemod warns that “it appears that bending the wires too close to the connector could cause some of the terminals to become loose or misaligned within the connector itself.” The site recommends not bending a connector vertically or horizontally, and instead having a minimum distance of 35mm from the connector before bending occurs.
That’s pretty tough in practice, as Nvidia’s adapter hits the side panel in most modern cases. The original Reddit poster mounted their RTX 4090 vertically, meaning the cable could have bent before the minimum distance.
YouTuber JayzTwoCents, who has been warning about this new connector for weeks, calls it “dangerous” but says Nvidia disagrees. “I think you’re worrying about issues that don’t exist,” Brandon Bell, Nvidia’s senior technical marketing manager, said in an email to Jay last month.
In early September, PCI-SIG, an industry consortium responsible for developing standards around peripheral component I/O data transfers, warned that some implementations of the 12VHPWR connector “have demonstrated thermal drift, which could generate security problems under certain conditions”.
The images provided by PCI-SIG show various ways a connector could melt or burn, and are the result of extreme bends during testing. The merger looks a lot like what happened to the two RTX 4090 cards on the Reddit posters this week.
Solutions to these problems could be to avoid Nvidia’s power adapter altogether, or to be very careful with how you position or fold it. It’s a bulky adapter that ships with RTX 4090 cards and needs up to four 8-pin power connectors. Power supply vendors are starting to ship 12VHPWR cables that ditch the bulky connector for a single cable that terminates in two 8-pin power connectors on one power supply. Corsair sells theirs for $19.99.
These cables should help avoid the awkward bends we’re seeing with these new connectors, particularly against the sides of the cases. The newer ATX 3.0 power supplies will also help, but there aren’t many on the market and not many PC gamers will want to spend more to replace a working power supply just to get a native implementation of the 12VHPWR connector.