Nvidia said it was investigating reports of “50 cases worldwide” where the RTX 4090’s 12VHPWR connector failed.
After a while, Nvidia announced that it might find out why the power cables for the RTX 4090 graphics card had melted and burned: They weren’t fully connected.
On Friday, Nvidia said in a post to a customer support forum that it was still investigating the reports. Nvidia said it had about 50 reports of the problem, and its findings “indicate” that an unsecured connector was a common problem.
Nvidia’s main card uses what’s known as the 12VHPWR power connector, which is a new standard not natively supported by most power supplies people already have in their computers. Because of that, it ships an adapter — or “power dongle,” as Friday’s post calls it — in the box.
Initial reports by users blamed the adapter, with some saying that the melted cable also damaged the $1599 GPU.
Sure, Nvidia doesn’t immediately show up and say that this is a user error. But since people have been speculating for nearly a month that the problem is caused by something more complicated, like bad soldering or wires that are too small to reliably handle the massive amounts of power being injected.
Nvidia’s post includes a picture of what the connector looks like when it’s not fully plugged in, and it seems easier to miss than something that’s a full 2mm out and stuck at an angle (probably due to the cables being pulled too tightly during installation).
But GamersNexus, a respected outlet in the PC building community for its rigorous testing, had come to the same conclusion earlier. A video posted by the outlet on Wednesday, which examined damaged adapters submitted by viewers and conducted extensive testing and reporting on the problem, showed that the connectors had lines of wear, meaning they weren’t fully inserted into the slot.
GamersNexus added that some people seem to have lost complete contact by several millimeters. Its video shows that a loose connection may cause the plug to heat up too much if it is connected poorly and tilted at an angle.
However, it should be noted that Nvidia may not be entirely blameless here. The other thing that goes off the picture you posted is that the connector has a lock switch. In theory, this is a feature that should prevent this kind of thing from happening, as long as it provides good feedback when plugged in.
According to GamersNexus, however, the adapters don’t make an audible click into place, even when fully inserted.
Testing by Nvidia and GamersNexus doesn’t seem to point to manufacturing defects as the main cause. Despite this, an unnamed company spokesperson told GamersNexus on Friday that “any burnt-out cable or GPU issues, regardless of cable or GPU, will be addressed” for replacement.