Nvidia thinks RTX 4090 cables melted because they weren’t fully plugged in

Weeks after Nvidia announced it was investigating reports of power cables for its RTX 4090 graphics card melting and burning, the company says it knows why: They weren’t plugged in all the way.

In a post to its customer support forum on Friday, Nvidia said it was still investigating the reports, but that its findings “suggest” an unsecured connector is a common problem. It also said it had received about 50 reports of the problem.

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Nvidia’s flagship card uses what’s known as a 12VHPWR power connector, a new standard that isn’t natively supported by most of the power supplies people already have in their PCs. Because of this, it ships an adapter — or “power dongle,” as Friday’s Post calls it — in the box. Initial reports from users blamed the adapter, with some saying the melting cable damaged their $1,599 GPU.

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It would be easy to blame the company’s findings on users. Of course, Nvidia doesn’t come out right say It’s user error, but it’s heavily implied in the post. This seems like a very convenient explanation, since people have been speculating for about a month that the problem was caused by something more complex, like bad soldering or wires too short to reliably handle the massive amount of power being pumped.

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Screenshot of the video showing a connector with clear lines on the plastic posts.

This is a considerable amount of connector outside the socket.
Image: GamersNexus

even though, Gamers Nexus, an outlet respected in the PC building community for its rigorous testing, came to essentially the same conclusion earlier this week. A video posted by the outlet on Wednesday examining damaged adapters sent in by viewers and extensive testing and reporting on the problem showed the connectors had wear lines, indicating they were not fully inserted into the slot. Gamers Nexus Some people even say that a full connection feels like several millimeters missing. Its video shows that a loose connection can cause the plug to heat up dramatically if the plug is plugged in badly and tilted at an angle.

Nvidia’s post includes a picture of what the connector looks like when it’s not fully plugged in, and it seems to get lost a lot easier than pulling the full 2mm out and holding it at an angle (during installation because the cables are held so tight). A third-party RTX 4090 card would be easier to replace than the Nvidia version shown in the images below.

If you’ve got one of these cards in your computer, double check that yours looks like the one below.

Two photos show a connector that is almost, but not fully plugged in, and a connector that is fully plugged in.

Nvidia says to make sure the cable is fully plugged in before booting your computer.
Image: Nvidia

However, it should be noted that Nvidia may not be Completely Immaculate here. Another thing to note about the picture it posted is that the connector has a locking key. In theory, as long as it gives good feedback when you plug it in, it’s a feature that prevents this from happening. Gamers NexusHowever, the adapters do not actually click audibly, even when fully inserted.

That aside, testing by Nvidia and GamersNexus doesn’t seem to point to manufacturing defects as the main culprit (the outlet’s video from Wednesday suggests that debris left during manufacturing could be an aggravating factor). Either way, an unnamed company spokesperson said Gamers Nexus On Friday, regardless of the cable or GPU, “If there are any issues with the burnt cable or GPU, it will be processed for replacement.”


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