Independent investigation finds power connectors on GeForce RTX 4090 melting
Hardware

Independent investigation finds power connectors on GeForce RTX 4090 melting due to improper connections

Melting 12+4-pin 12VHPWR power connectors on GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards can be related to both a manufacturing defect and improper cable connection. This is indicated by an investigation by Gamers Nexus specialists. They even managed to simulate the conditions in the laboratory under which the plug began to melt.

    Image source: Gamers Nexus

Image source: Gamers Nexus

Recall that shortly after the release of the GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card last month, some users started melting power connectors. Exactly what this has to do with, no one knows for sure, but most often the allegations fell on inferior complete adapters from four 8-pin connectors to 12VHPWR, or incorrect insertion of the connector – it turned out not to be so easy to insert it completely.

Gamers Nexus Editor-in-Chief Stephen Burke said that according to his sources within the ranks of graphics card manufacturers the risk of connector melting “approx. 0.05-0.1%He also noted that although NVIDIA has not yet released the results of its own investigation, Gamers Nexus experts have concluded that potentially any 12VHPWR cable can fail under certain circumstances.

Research by Gamers Nexus has shown that one of the causes of melting can be foreign objects or pieces of plastic and metal that are created during the cable connection process or as a result of a manufacturing defect. However, the main cause of the problems seems to be the incorrect installation of the cable and / or its installation with tension at an angle (crooked).

Burke showed how it is easy to melt a connector by not inserting the cable all the way into the connector on the graphics card while causing it to become crooked. As mentioned, the connector is pushed into the connector with a lot of force, so it’s easy to think everything is properly connected when in fact the connector isn’t fully inserted. As a result, the contact area is small as shown in the diagram below, leading to an increase in resistance and accordingly temperature. At the same time, the connector heated up to 302 ° C and began to smoke and melt, resulting in damage to the GeForce RTX 4090 card.

It is noted that frequent unplugging and reconnecting of the power connector to the graphics card can also make the problem worse. Instead of leaving a properly installed plug in place, many players may have started to periodically unplug the plug to check if it has melted, increasing the likelihood of problems due to debris or one not fully plugged in after checking connector increased.

During the investigation, Gamers Nexus found that some of the previous theories about the causes of the 12VHPWR reflow can now be dismissed. One of the early versions was that the cable soldering at the connector was weak, which could break during connection, but an X-ray of a cable with allegedly poor soldering showed that theory was unlikely. Deliberate attempts at damage were also unsuccessful.

Additionally, even if some of the contacts of the 12VHPWR connector are not carrying current, the rest will not be heated enough to cause melting. Gamers Nexus removed four of the six 12V power connectors from the adapter to intentionally deliver all power through just two 12V connectors, but the connector never started to melt.

When there are indications that reflow is most likely caused by an incompletely inserted connector, the question arises as to whether it is user error or a design flaw. Burke concludes that while users are partly to blame, if the design itself gets many into trouble, isn’t that a design flaw? Be that as it may, GeForce RTX 4090 owners need to make sure to fully insert the connector into the graphics card’s power connector.

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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