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Did Nvidia just fix the RTX 4090’s melting power connectors?

Nvidia’s 40-series graphics cards have gained an unwanted reputation for the unreliability of their 12VHPWR power connectors, with numerous accounts circulating online of connectors melting and destroying GPUs. Now, though, it seems Nvidia might have solved the problem for its RTX 4090 graphics cards.

The idea came to light after a post by prackprackprack on Reddit, with the user asking whether their new RTX 4090 featured shorter sense pins compared to older versions of the card. Shorter pins would mean the power supply couldn’t properly connect to a user’s graphics card and send it higher wattages unless the connector was correctly pushed in.

The power connector on an Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card. The four shorter sense pins are shown at the bottom.
The power connector on an Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card. The four shorter sense pins are shown at the bottom. prackprackprack on Reddit / Reddit

Other Reddit users chimed in to suggest it did indeed appear that the pins were shortened. However, Nvidia has remained tight-lipped on the matter, and there has been no official word on whether the company has implemented an improved power connector in order to end the saga of its melting plugs and cables.

The news follows a report that suggested Nvidia had made a similar move to shorten the four sense pins on its RTX 4070 graphics card. As noted by tech website Igor’s Lab, newer versions of the RTX 4070 are also coming with shorter sense pins. That suggests this could be a change that will be rolled out across the 40-series lineup.

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A sorry saga

A person holds the connectors of an Nvidia 12VHPWR cable from an RTX 4090 graphics card. The ends of the connectors are burned and melted from where the cable has overheated.
Shiftyeyes67k / Reddit

Over the past year, there have been several user complaints of melting connectors on Nvidia graphics cards. In the worst-case scenario, the connectors melted at both the GPU and power supply ends, with the potential to cause fires and take down a user’s entire PC.

After an investigation by JonnyGuru, it was suggested that the incidents could be caused by user error, with power connectors not properly inserted leading to serious overheating and melting. Others, however, thought the issue might have been caused by bent cables putting undue strain on a connector’s internal wiring.

Since then, there have been suggestions on how to remedy the problem, but no official word from Nvidia. Now, though, it seems the company might be taking action itself. With any luck, the days of melting power connectors and destroyed graphics cards are seriously numbered.

Alex Blake
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