Unplug your GPU only if necessary
According to ZOTAC, one should remove power cable adapter carefully and only when really necessary.
If you are one of those people who replace or remove graphics cards frequently, make sure to count how many times have the power cable adapter been used. ZOTAC has an interesting note on their website, claiming that the 4x 8-pin to 12VHPWR (the so-called PCIe Gen5 or 16-pin) power cable has limited service life up to 30 connects/disconnects.
As you might know, NVIDIA and board partners will bundle said adapter to ensure compatibility with all power supplies, including those without ‘modern’ 450W or 600W PCIe Gen5 power connector.
We recently covered an issue related to power variance for 12VHPWR power cable adapters. This issue has not been officially commented on by PCI-SIG (the body that governs PCI-Express specifications), but was covered by GamersNexus.
As it turns out, the problem was reported by NVIDIA as a member of PCI-SIG, who were testing various prototype power cables and supplies. They observed that some cables were prone to showing hotspots or even melting due to severe bending or due to excess connection cycles (about 40). That said, ZOTAC’s 30 cycles are even lower than what NVIDIA has reported to PCI-SIG to raise awareness of potential issues with such power cables.
Judging from the PCI-SIG slides date, the thermal variance issue has been reported on August 25th. It is very likely that ZOTAC is just covering their ground in case there are any problems with their adapter. Chances are there won’t be any, however for legal reasons this small note ensures that the potential issue is not ZOTAC’s concern.
What you can do as a potential ZOTAC RTX 4090 customer is to comply with the company’s recommendations, prevent severe cable bending of power cables and monitor the status of the ZOTAC’s cable connectors.
Update: It is reported that such limited 30 mating cycles are not an extraordinary thing for a power connector. The same durability is expected from any Molex connector that was released in the last 20 years. This does not change the fact that it is still the first time ZOTAC has made such a claim for their power connector.
Many thanks to SH1988 for the tip!