NVIDIA tells board partners to collect GeForce RTX 4090 cards affected by melting 16-pin power adapter

Published: Oct 27th 2022, 10:47 GMT   Comments

NVIDIA requests board partners to collect and send damaged RTX 4090 cards to HQ

Igor’sLAB reports that NVIDIA has notified all AICs (Add-in-Card) partners to collect RTX 4090 affected by ‘melted’ 16-pin power connectors and ship them directly to the HQ. 

NVIDIA is stepping up its response to the new power adapter issues. A story blew up earlier this week after numerous users reportedly had issues with RTX 4090 cards dying after 16-pin/PCIe Gen5/12VHPWR power connectors and adapters melting, and in some cases destroying the cards in the process.

Naturally, this is not a good look for NVIDIA, whose logo is on every 4x 8-pin to 16-pin power adapter bundled with the cards. The issue of overheating and, in some cases, the melting power connector appears to impact all board partners, so the issue had to be escalated within NVIDIA.

Igor Wallossek confirmed with people familiar with the matter that NVIDIA has requested all affected cards to be shipped to the HQ for analysis. It is not clear whether this means NVIDIA HQ or AIC HQ, but it shouldn’t really matter because both parties are capable of finding out the root cause of this issue.

nVIDIA just notified all AIC this morning… All damaged cards need to be sent directly to HQ for failure analysis, this is first time… Even a few years ago when 2080 Ti got issue with Micron, they didn’t do this.

— Igor’sLAB

Igor believes that this issue is not caused by severe bending of the power cable, nor is it a result of exceeding recommended use cycles. The issue may be the power adapter itself, which is of poor quality.

NVIDIA 12VHPWR (PCIe Gen5 adapter), Source: Igor’sLAB

It is said that the adapter may have fire-dangerous flaws in the design. Wobbly contacts and unsafe solder might be the reason so many adapters are seeing heat spikes. The main concern is on NVIDIA’s own power adapter, other brands may not be impacted by the issue.

Why NVIDIA’s 12VHPWR adapter is having issues:

  • The problem is not the 12VHPWR connection as such, nor the repeated plugging or unplugging.
  • Standard compliant power supply cables from brand manufacturers are NOT affected by this so far.
  • The current trigger is NVIDIA’s own adapter to 4x 8-pin in the accessories, whose inferior quality can lead to failures and has already caused damage in single cases.
  • Splitting each of the four 14AWG leads onto each of the 6 pins in the 12VHPWR connector of the adapter by soldering them onto bridges that are much too thin is dangerous because the ends of the leads can break off at the solder joint (e.g., when kinked or bent several times).
  • Bending or kinking the wires directly at the connector of the adapter puts too much pressure on the solder joints and bridges, so that they can break off.
  • The inner bridge between the pins is too thin (resulting cross section) to compensate the current flow on two or three instead of four connected 12V lines.
  • NVIDIA has already been informed in advance and the data and pictures were also provided by be quiet! directly to the R&D department.

NVIDIA has confirmed to The Verge it is actively investigating the problem. The company already promised to replace the first reported card. Other users should not worry about replacement, but it would be advised to pay closer attention to the cards when gaming.

Source: Igor’sLAB (statement), Igor’sLAB (analysis)

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