Nvidia update on RTX 4090 GPU melting adapter reveals likely cause

Nvidia RTX 4090 FE melted adapter cable
(Image credit: Party_Quail_1048 (Reddit) / Nvidia)

Nvidia has produced a statement on the RTX 4090 GPU and its still ongoing investigation into incidents of melting power adapters.

Team Green notes that a common problem with the reported 12VHPWR adapters which are melting is that they weren’t plugged in properly, and that the company estimates there have been some 50 cases of this worldwide.

Nvidia wrote: “We are actively investigating the reports. We are aware of about 50 cases globally. Our findings to date suggest that a common issue is that connectors are not fully plugged into the graphics card.

“To help ensure the connector is secure we recommend plugging the power dongle into the graphics card first to ensure it’s firmly and evenly plugged in, before plugging the graphics card into the motherboard.”

Nvidia concludes that: “We are investigating additional ways to ensure that the connector is secure before powering on the graphics card.”

Team Green also provided a couple of images to illustrate the adapter being correctly seated, and another where it isn’t fully plugged in.

Analysis: Scale of the problem

Those who have been affected by the melting adapter problem will benefit from “an expedited RMA process, regardless of the cable or card used,” so replacement RTX 4090 boards will be issued speedily to all affected users.

That’s good to hear, as there is the suggestion of user error here, in terms of the adapter not being plugged in fully – but even if that’s been the case, Nvidia will replace the damaged graphics card in question, as Gamers Nexus (GN) clarified. Nvidia told GN: “Anyone who has an issue [with the melting adapter] will be taken care of. We’ll expedite an RMA.”

GN also received an approximation of RTX 4090 units sold thus far (from board partners) and reckons it’s around 125,000 units, which if 50 of the graphics cards have turned out to have the issue as per Nvidia’s official figure, means 0.04% of the RTX 4090 user base have been affected (add your own seasoning, but this gives you some idea that the problem is far from a widespread one).

Nevertheless, it remains a concerning situation, and we’ll be interested to see what Nvidia might advise in terms of the mention of “additional ways” of securing the connector for the power adapter.

Since we’ve started hearing about the adapter not being properly seated as the possible cause of these melting cables, the obvious worry is that even if the thing is connected properly to begin with, if it’s under any kind of strain – and bent round to fit in a PC case against the side panel, for example – there’s a danger of it working looser eventually, and maybe causing a problem.

Hopefully Nvidia will have that further advice on hand soon.

Via Tom’s Hardware

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).