Nvidia has finally broken its silence and said that improperly seated 12VHPWR connectors are largely to blame for the GeForce RTX 4090 power cable breakdown.
The company, which has been mum so far other than confirming that it is investigating the issue, issued a statement to Gamers Nexus that also confirmed the number of cases it is aware of.
We are actively investigating reports. We are aware of about 50 cases globally, a company spokesperson told Gamers Nexus Editor-in-Chief Stephen Burke, according to a video that Gamers Nexus posted to its YouTube channel on Friday morning.
“Our findings so far indicate that a common problem is that the connectors are not fully connected to the graphics card,” Nvidia told Burke. “To help ensure the security of the connector, we recommend plugging the power adapter into the graphics card first to make sure it is plugged in firmly and evenly, before connecting the graphics card to the motherboard.”
Nvidia officials also told Burke that returned cable adapters all show corrosion damage indicating they weren’t fully seated. The company also posted its statement on its customer help page where it shows what the cable looks like if it’s correctly inserted.
Nvidia’s statement appears to largely back up what Burke and his team discovered yesterday: An excessively loose 12VHPWR connector in a GPU can lead to high temperatures that melt the connector.
In the Gamers Nexus investigation, the failed connectors Burke obtained often had physical damage, indicating the plug had largely been pulled out of the GPU. Gamers Nexus has also largely concluded that debris from manufacturing, as well as debris from potential consumers inserting and removing the connector, may be causing the RTX 4090 cables to melt but the most likely cause is a loose connector.
Others, including Ronaldo Boisali from Techlab.net.br and John Gero, research director at Corsair, have previously run their own tests and concluded that the connector is well capable of handling the current being pushed through it – as long as it is fully connected.
Of course, the long-standing question is whether or not the incorrect insertions stem from a fundamental problem in the connector’s design. With clear evidence now that the cable is capable of supporting the energy behind it, many are wondering whether or not the latch could be improved upon.
Nvidia officials told Burke that “we’re investigating additional ways to make sure the connector is secure before turning on the graphics card.”
Other ideas have been floated, such as refusing the cards to post if the sensing pins on the sockets are not fully seated. In fact, the PCI-SIG group is said to be considering design changes to the new plug.
Nvidia also responded to consumer concerns that it would not honor warranties if a consumer uses a 12VHPWR connector “third party adapter”, such as custom cables and modified right angles that people buy in hopes of avoiding a melted connector. This raised concerns that Nvidia and board partners would not honor a warranty if the original 12VHPWR connector was used on a new PSU.
In a statement released to PCWorld, a company spokesperson said the concern was unwarranted. “NVIDIA and our partners are committed to supporting our customers, regardless of the cable or power source used,” said an Nvidia spokesperson.
Perhaps most importantly, Nvidia also told Gamers Nexus that it and its partners will honor RMAs from cards damaged by incorrect insertion. “Anyone who has a problem [relating to this] the company told Burke. “We’re going to speed up the RMA.”
So how many GeForce RTX 4090 cards have suffered from melting connectors? Gamers Nexus reports that board partners have told it 125,000 GeForce RTX 4090 cards have been sold, which would put the known failure rate at 0.04 percent, Burke said.
The statement comes a day after a GeForce RTX 4090 owner apparently filed a class action lawsuit against Nvidia over melting connectors, according to a report in Tom’s Hardware.
Lucas Genova filed his suit on November 11 and alleged that Nvidia “has marketed and sold the RTX 4090 with a dangerously defective power cable plug and socket, rendering consumer cards inoperable and presenting a serious electrical and fire hazard to every individual purchaser.”