Nvidia’s RTX 4090 quickly became the source of controversy not long after its launch thanks to instances of melting cables – a problem that you might think is well in the past, but it turns out that isn’t the case.
In what will doubtless be a concern for anyone with an RTX 4090 bought in the early days, Byogore on Reddit (as spotted by Tom’s Hardware) reports that their Asus model of the Lovelace flagship has had its cable melted (complete with the obligatory pic of the scorched connector).
Reports of problems with the melting 16-pin power connector have not been around for some time, but this Asus RTX 4090 is nearly a year old, showing that the issue is still present, and can affect graphics cards much further down the line in the longer-term, in theory.
As Tom’s notes, this sadly puts paid to the theory that if a melting crisis is to occur, it’ll be in the first six months or so. Unsurprisingly, that has not made RTX 4090 owners feel very happy in the Reddit thread discussing the new meltdown.
Analysis: Be careful out there, owners of older RTX 4090s
This is just one report, of course, but as mentioned it’s still going to be pretty concerning given the seriousness of the issue. Having a melting incident and your top-performing graphics card, which cost a fortune, getting bricked is pretty galling, no doubt.
For those curious on further details, the Redditor tells us that they were using Nvidia’s own power connector (not a third-party modded cable, which hit the market not long after the melting problem became widely known), and a Corsair HX1000i power supply (1000W, 80+ platinum rated).
Newer RTX 4090 models have addressed this problem, or have attempted to anyway. We’ve seen moves made such as the 16-pin power connector being repositioned (on the back of the graphics card) to ensure it’s easier to get a better connection (an improperly seated connector being blamed by Nvidia as the cause of cable melting).
Moreover, a redesigned spec has come in for a 12V-2×6 power connector, rather than the original 12VHPWR, and this is designed to get round issues of wonky connections, and it’s now appearing in new RTX 4090 graphics cards. From what we see thus far, it does indeed side-step any fiery connector gremlins…
But what if you have an old RTX 4090 with the 12VHPWR connector? Aside from hoping and praying, you could use a modded cable (this incident happened with the included Nvidia connector), or alternatively, keep checking from time to time that the connector is properly seated. The latter is hardly ideal, mind, especially considering there’s a theoretical maximum number of times the connector can be unplugged and then plugged back in (30) before that action might cause problems (yes – eek).
Seeing the melting issue pop up now is seriously disappointing all round, really, although at least the affected owner, Byogore, still had a GPU under warranty. If you’re out of warranty coverage and this happens to your very expensive Lovelace flagship – when new cards have a redesigned power connector to avoid the potential issue – well, that doesn’t seem fair, frankly. It’s a lot of cash to go up in smoke…