Nvidia’s RTX 4090 may have an issue with cable melting, at least according to some buyer reports, issues that Team Green is currently investigating.
As Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab) flagged, a Gigabyte RTX 4090 owner wrote about this issue on Reddit, and that post was followed by another user who found the same troubling glitch.
Specifically, this is the adapter cable being burned – the one supplied with the RTX 4090 to allow connection to an ATX 2.0 PSU (4 x 8-pin to 16-pin) – and the first redditor (opens in new tab) provided photographic evidence showing that it had actually been roasted (see above).
The other RTX 4090 buyer (this time with an Asus TUF Gaming OC card) then joined the conversation (opens in new tab): “You’re not the only one. This happened to me today too, not as badly burned as yours. I was having a gaming session a few hours ago, playing Black Desert with my dungeon group. Suddenly, the screen went black and all the fans started to spin at 100%. I turned off the machine and after some inspection I noticed that the power adapter was damaged.”
Nvidia told Tom’s Hardware: “We are investigating the reports. We are in contact with the first owner and will contact the other for additional information.”
Analysis: The 35 mm rule and the secure seating of connectors
At the moment, these seem to be the only two reported cases of this melting issue, as we can’t see any other complaints on Reddit (or elsewhere online).
So there’s always the possibility that these people have been very unlucky with their graphics cards somehow, or that there’s something wrong with the setup or the way the cable was installed.
What most people are concerned about these days is the way the adapter is installed as this has been problematic in terms of the adapter cable being too stiff and troublesome to bend to fit it while still being able to put the side back panel on the PC case.
In fact, the concern of many here is that if the cable is bent at a sharp angle to fit it can pull the pins and the connector won’t fit properly into the 4090 graphics card – and that’s not safe, especially with the amount of power running through these cables (450W, maybe more overclocked and such). Could this be the reason for these melted adapters? We just don’t know for sure, of course, but it seems to be the most likely culprit at this point.
Nvidia’s investigations will no doubt shed more light on the matter, although some people have already criticized the design of the adapter for ATX 2.0 sources, and are now questioning why it didn’t come with a right-angle connector to avoid bending the cable – which officially should not be bent closer than 35mm from the connector at the end. There’s a third-party 90-degree angled 16-pin connector coming, mind you, as you may have seen.
For now though, what worried RTX 4090 owners can do is make sure the cable connector is firmly seated on the board and don’t bend the cable less than 35mm from the end – leave plenty of room. (However, this is easier said than done with many PC cases unless you leave the side panel off, which is far from ideal for a number of reasons such as dust, potential for damage to the hardware’s innards, and a Noisier PC when all these fans kick in).
Please note that this possible cable melting issue should not affect people who have a new ATX 3.0 PSU which can just use the 16 pin cable to connect to the RTX 4090 without the need for any adapter. At least in theory, these PSUs won’t have any issues, anyway.
Let’s hope that Nvidia clarifies this matter and confirms what happened in these two cases sooner rather than later so we can know what is happening for sure.