Nvidia Investigating User Reports of RTX 4090 Power Cables Melting
Nvidia Investigating User Reports of RTX 4090 Power Cables Melting

Nvidia Investigating User Reports of RTX 4090 Power Cables Melting

Users on Reddit report that their 12VHPWR adapter cables are frying, weeks after an industry group warned about potential thermal issues with the connector.

I've been with PCMag since October 2017, covering a wide range of topics, including consumer electronics, cybersecurity, social media, networking, and gaming. Prior to working at PCMag, I was a foreign correspondent in Beijing for over five years, covering the tech scene in Asia.

Nvidia Investigating User Reports of RTX 4090 Power Cables Melting Image

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition (Credit: Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

If you recently bought an RTX 4090 graphics card, you may need to be careful about how you install the product in your PC.

On Reddit, two customers who purchased the RTX 4090 say the cable that sends power to the graphics card recently melted while they were gaming.

The customers (Opens in a new window) both posted (Opens in a new window) pictures of the problem, which deals with the 12VHPWR cable necessary to send enough juice into Nvidia’s most powerful gaming GPU. As you can see, the plastic around the Nvidia-branded 12VHPWR connector melted, and also caused slight damage to the power sockets in the RTX 4090 GPU.

"It occured mid game. GPU is still working," wrote (Opens in a new window) Reddit user reggie_gakil, who requested a return of the product.

Nvidia has already reached out (Opens in a new window) to one of the customers. “We are investigating the reports,” a company spokesperson also told (Opens in a new window) The Verge.

It’s possible the problem could be confined to a few faulty 12VHPWR connectors that ended up shipping to unlucky customers. But the issue also occurs weeks after the industry group that oversees the PCI interface, called PCI-SIG, warned about potential thermal issues when using the 12VHPWR adapter cable with existing ATX 2.0 power supplies.

“Please be advised that PCI-SIG has become aware that some implementations of the 12VHPWR connectors and assemblies have demonstrated thermal variance, which could result in safety issues under certain conditions,” the industry group told members, according (Opens in a new window) to a Wccftech report from September.

Slides (Opens in a new window) from a PCI-SIG presentation show the thermal problems happen due to bending in the 12VHPWR cable, which can lead to overheating.

In addition, the company CableMod last month also warned (Opens in a new window) consumers to avoid bending the 12VHPWR connector—even slightly—when it’s installed on an RTX 4090 GPU.

More Users Encounter Melting Issue With Nvidia's RTX 4090 12VHPWR Cable

The adapter cable from Nvidia can suffer overheating issues due to its poor build quality, according to tests from journalists and reviewers.

I've been with PCMag since October 2017, covering a wide range of topics, including consumer electronics, cybersecurity, social media, networking, and gaming. Prior to working at PCMag, I was a foreign correspondent in Beijing for over five years, covering the tech scene in Asia.

More Users Encounter Melting Issue With Nvidia's RTX 4090 12VHPWR Cable Image

(PCMag/Michael Justin Allen Sexton)

UPDATE 11/18: In a note on its support page (Opens in a new window) , Nvidia says it's "actively investigating the reports" of melting cables and is currently "aware of about 50 cases globally."

"Our findings to date suggest that a common issue is that connectors are not fully plugged into the graphics card," it says. "To help ensure the connector is secure we recommend plugging the power dongle into the graphics card first to ensure it’s firmly and evenly plugged in, before plugging the graphics card into the motherboard."

The statement comes after one affected user filed a class-action lawsuit over an RTX 4090 12VHPWR connector that started to melt shortly after using the graphics card.

Original Story:
The power cable for Nvidia’s RTX 4090 graphics card has shown signs of melting for another seven consumers, bringing the total up to nine.

Users on Nvidia’s Reddit forum have been cataloging (Opens in a new window) the cases ever since two users initially reported the problem earlier this week, which prompted the company to investigate.

The issue deals with the 12VHPWR adapter that comes with the RTX 4090 product. It’s designed to funnel more power into the graphics card through a single cable. But the same adapter can end up melting along the plastic fringes of the 16-pin connector, according to unlucky consumers who’ve experienced the problem.

“Well, I used the card for 1 day. I was playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, (barely opened the game, and played for 3 minutes) then I felt the burning smell and I immediately turned my PC off and took the cable off,” wrote (Opens in a new window) one user on Reddit on Friday, who posted pictures of the melted connector.

“Looks like the boogeyman got me too,” wrote (Opens in a new window) another user, who noticed the issue after his PC began crashing.

So far, Nvidia has remained mum on the matter. The company hasn’t responded to requests for comment. But in the meantime, reviewers and journalists say they’ve found the source of the problem. According (Opens in a new window) to Igor’s Lab, the Nvidia-branded 12VHPWR adapter cable suffers from poor build quality, which can lead to the overheating. Specifically, the adapter contains a metal “bridge” inside the connector that's too thin. This same bridge can easily break if the cabling is bent at the 16-pin connector, which can cause an improper connection and result in temperature spikes.

The findings echo an earlier warning from the industry group PCI-SIG, which told companies earlier this year about the 12VHPWR cable causing heat problems if it fails to properly insert itself into a graphics card.

If true, then Nvidia may be forced to issue a recall for the connector over the potential burn hazard. But the problem seems to only affect Nvidia’s branded 12VHPWR adapter, not third-party cables, which have better build quality, according to Igor’s Lab.

If you do own an RTX 4090, you should avoid bending the Nvidia-branded 12VHPWR cable close to the 16-pin connector, according (Opens in a new window) to the company CableMod. However, one consumer noted (Opens in a new window) their own 12VHPWR adapter began to melt, even though the cable was never bent.

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