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Nvidia RTX 4090 video cards

DragonflightDesign

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northernireland
We're not a hardware forum but equally, quite a few developers aren't aware of what's going on in the hardware world. This is a heads-up for those of you that are running RTX 4090 video cards and aren't aware that they can (and have and will) catch fire for seemingly no good reason. Nvidia initially tried to blame users for not plugging the power leads into the cards correctly. When that was debunked they then switched to blaming users for using third-party 90-degree connectors to attach the power cables. However, the RTX 4090 is so big that it won't fit into very many cases unless you use a 90-degree connector to route the cable. The weight of the cable then stresses the power socket on the card and it cracks the PCB tracks. The root cause is ultimately a piece of poor design. They introduced a new power plug to the RTX 4090 which proudly has '600 watts' emblazoned on it but in comparison to previous generations of the RTX series, Nvidia actually reduced the current carrying capability of the individual wires (made them thinner, in other words). Yes, the cable and plug will carry that much power until something goes wrong: either the PSU drops a power feed or the socket is not properly soldered to the card (see above). The power demand by the card is then switched to the remaining power feeds and they can't handle it because the wiring and the pins are not designed to carry the additional current. In design parlance, 'there's no current headroom in them'. Cablemod, who are (were) a big supplier of 90-degree connectors have withdrawn from the market until they can figure out a solution.

So if you're running an RTX 4090 and particularly if you have to use a 90-degree connector, keep a close eye on the power connector for signs of heat stress and melting.

I also note the the recently-released RTX 4070 series cards also use the same 600 watt connector but they aren't as physically big as the 4090 and don't gobble as much power.

-Dai
 
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