Nvidia thinks the RTX 4090 cables melted because they weren't fully plugged in

Nvidia thinks the RTX 4090 cables melted because they weren’t fully plugged in

Weeks after Nvidia announced it was investigating reports that its RTX 4090 graphics card’s power cables were melting and burning, the company said it might know why: they just weren’t not plugged in all the way.

In a message on its customer support forum On Friday, Nvidia said it was still investigating the reports, but its findings “suggest” an unsecured connector has been a common problem. He also says he has received around 50 reports of the problem.

Nvidia’s flagship card uses what’s called a 12VHPWR power connector, a new standard that isn’t natively supported by most power supplies people already have in their PCs. For that reason, it packs an adapter — or “power dongle,” as Friday’s post calls it — in the box. Initial reports from users blamed the adapter, with some claiming that the fusion cable also damaged their $1,599 GPU.

It might be easy to read the company’s findings as blaming users. Of course, Nvidia is not coming out right away and say that it’s user error, but it’s strongly implied in the message. This also seems like a pretty handy explanation, as people have been speculating for almost a month that the problem is caused by something more complex, like bad soldering or wires that are too small to reliably handle huge quantities of energy pumped.

That’s a significant amount of connector that would be out of the socket.
Image: GamersNexus

However, PlayersNexus, a respected outlet in the PC build community for its rigorous testing, came to the same conclusion earlier this week. A video put online on Wednesday by the point of salewho inspected damaged adapters sent in by viewers and did extensive testing and reporting on the problem, showed that the connectors had wear lines, implying they hadn’t been fully inserted into the slot . PlayersNexus even says that some people seem to have missed a full connection by several millimeters. His video shows that a loose connection could cause the plug to heat up considerably if plugged in incorrectly and tilted at an angle.

Nvidia’s post includes an image of what the connector looks like when it’s not fully plugged in, and it looks a lot easier to miss than something that’s been 2mm out and held at an angle (potentially because too tight cables during installation). That would be even easier to miss with a third-party RTX 4090 card instead of the Nvidia version shown in the images below.

If you have one of these cards in your computer, you should probably check that yours looks like the bottom one.

Two photos showing a connector that is mostly, but not fully plugged in, and a connector that is fully plugged in.

Nvidia says you need to make sure the cable is fully plugged in before booting your computer.
Picture: Nvidia

It should be noted though that Nvidia may not be totally flawless here. Another thing that stands out from the image she posted is that the connector has a locking key. In theory, this is a feature that would prevent this sort of thing from happening, as long as it gives good feedback when you plug it in. According PlayersNexushowever, the adapters do not audibly actually click into place, even when fully inserted.

That aside, testing by Nvidia and GamersNexus doesn’t seem to point to manufacturing defects as the primary culprit (Wednesday’s POS video indicated that debris left behind during manufacturing may have been an aggravating factor) . Anyway, however, an anonymous company spokesperson Told PlayersNexus Friday that “any problem with the cable or the GPU burned, whatever the cable or the GPU, it will be dealt with” for a replacement.

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