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New test shows loose RTX 4090 power connectors cause overheating and melting

Failure is rare, but can be caused by any kind of 12VHPWR cable or adapter.



Enlarge / Nvidia’s RTX 4090. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

A few weeks ago, some early adopters of Nvidia’s new flagship RTX 4090 GPU began reporting that the cards’ power connectors were overheating and melting their plastic casing, sometimes causing damage to the outrageously fast and expensive GPUs.

For Nvidia’s part, the company is still looking into the failures. “We continue to investigate the reports, however we don’t have further details to share yet,” according to an Nvidia rep talking to KitGuru earlier this week. But the YouTubers at the Gamers Nexus channel have been conducting their own in-depth research, and in short, they believe that the problems are mostly being caused by improperly seated power connectors. “Foreign-object debris” inside the connector can also cause problems, but Gamers Nexus believes this kind of damage is much rarer.

The failure that Gamers Nexus was able to re-create in its labs involved connecting the 12VHPWR power connector to an RTX 4090 without inserting it fully and then bending the cable to one side, making the connection even worse. After just a few minutes of testing, the loose connection’s high power resistance generated heat above 250° Celsius, causing smoke and visible bubbling as the connector melted in its socket.

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