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

Weeks after Nvidia announced it was investigating reports that the power cables for its RTX 4090 graphics card were melting and burning, the company says it might know why: They just weren’t fully plugged in.

In a post on its customer support forum on Friday, Nvidia says it’s still investigating the reports, but its findings suggest an insecure connector was a common problem. It also says it has received around 50 reports of the issue.

Nvidia’s flagship card uses what’s called a 12VHPWR power connector, a new standard not natively supported by most power supplies people already have in their PCs. For this reason, an adapter – or “power dongle”, as the Freitagspost calls it – is supplied in the box. Initial reports from users blamed the adapter, with some saying that the melting cable also damaged their $1,599 GPU.

It could be easy to interpret the company’s results as blaming users. Sure, Nvidia isn’t coming out soon and to say that it’s user error, but it’s heavily implied in the post. It also seems like a very convenient 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 the massive amounts of current being pumped through.

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However, PlayerNexus, an outlet respected in the PC community for its rigorous testing, came to essentially the same conclusion earlier this week. A video posted Wednesday by the outlet, which examined damaged adapters sent in by viewers and conducted extensive testing and reporting on the issue, showed the connectors showed wear lines, suggesting they weren’t fully inserted into the slot had been. PlayerNexus even says that some people seem to have missed a full connection by several millimeters. His video shows that a loose connection can cause the connector to overheat if inserted poorly and at an angle.

Nvidia’s post includes a picture of what the connector looks like when it’s not fully seated, and it seems a lot easier to miss than something that sticks out a full 2mm and is held at an angle (possibly because the cables are too be firmly withdrawn). During the installation). It would be even easier to miss with a third-party RTX 4090 card, rather than the Nvidia version shown in the images below.

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

Two photos show a connector that is mostly but not fully inserted and a fully inserted connector.

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However, it’s worth noting that Nvidia may not be Completely blameless here. Another thing that jumps out at the posted image is that the connector has a locking key. In theory, that’s a feature that would prevent something like this from happening, as long as there’s good feedback when plugged in PlayerNexusHowever, the adapters do not really snap into place audibly, even when fully inserted.

That being said, tests conducted by Nvidia and GamersNexus don’t seem to point to manufacturing defects as the main cause (the outlet’s video on Wednesday said residue left behind during manufacturing could have been a complicating factor). Anyway, said an unnamed spokesman for the company PlayerNexus on Friday that “any issues with the burnt cable or GPU, regardless of cable or GPU, will be processed for a replacement.”

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