Nvidia is investigating reports that the power cable for its RTX 4090 graphics cards is burning or melting in some situations.
Some users experiencing the issue have taken to Reddit, posting photos of the damage. The Verge cited user ‘reggie_gakil’ as the first to post about it, detailing burn damage on their Gigabyte RTX 4090. A photo also shows damage on the ’12VHPWR’ adapter that Nvidia includes with the 4090 card. Another Redditor replied in the same thread showing similar damage to their Asus RTX 4090 card and power adapter.
Nvidia told The Verge that it’s investigating the reports and is in contact with the first Redditor and plans to reach out to the second as well.
However, several people have already raised concerns about the 12VHPWR power adapter, specifically noting that the adapter could cause issues if bent a certain way. CableMod, a company that makes custom cables for use in PCs, includes details in its 12VHPWR guide about how to bend the cable to avoid these issues:
“The 12VHPWR connector and the terminals used in it are much smaller than the previous generation. Through our extensive testing, it appears that bending the wires too close to the connector could result in some of the terminals coming loose or misaligning within the connector itself. This may lead to an uneven load across the other wires, increasing the risk of overheating damage.”
CableMod recommends bending the cable a minimum distance of 35mm away from the connector to avoid the problem. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work in practice, as there’s often not enough space between the graphics card and the side of the PC case for a safe bend. PCI-SIG, the consortium responsible for developing standards around peripheral component I/O data transfers, also warned of issues with the 12VHPWR adapter back in September. Moreover, the PCI-SIG included several examples of how the adapter could melt or burn, which looks very similar to the Reddit reports.
The Verge also highlighted a video from PC-building YouTuber JayzTwoCents, who called the 12VHPWR adapter “dangerous.” But when he brought his concerns to Nvidia, the company said in an email that he was “worrying about issues that don’t exist.”
While it remains to be seen what comes of Nvidia’s investigation, it’s worth noting that some power supply vendors have started to ship 12VHPWR cables to replace the bulky connector for a single cable that should avoid the bending issues. The Verge says new ATX 3.0 power supplies should also help, but there aren’t that many available yet, and it can be a tough sell to PC builders who are upgrading components and already have a working power supply.
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