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Nvidia RTX 4090 cables may be melting in a worrying new way

Over the past few months, we’ve seen frequent reports of melting power connectors on Nvidia’s RTX 4090 graphics cards, leading to a wave of worry and speculation that something is seriously amiss. Now, a user has claimed their cable has melted in a dramatic new way — and it could suggest that the headaches are far from over for Nvidia.

According to Shiftyeyes67k on Reddit, the 12VHPWR cable that came with their RTX 4090 GPU melted on the power supply (PSU) side. In other words, the problem occurred where the cable connectors fed into the power supply, not where they met the graphics card, as has been the case with every other report of melting 12VHPWR connectors.

In the user’s own words, “Started noticing a smell coming from my PSU (BeQuiet Dark Power 13 1000w) recently that smelled like burnt plastic. Decided to swap it out and noticed that the 12VHPWR cable was burned from the PSU side?”

This is particularly worrying because, as the name suggests, the power supply fuels many other components within your PC. If a 12VHPWR cable becomes so hot that it melts right next to the power supply, there’s a risk that the PSU itself could suffer damage — and that anything connected to it may also be affected, potentially spreading the fallout much further within your PC.

What’s the cause?

The RTX 4090 graphics card on a table alongside a set of cables held in hand.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Nvidia has previously investigated the issue of 12VHPWR connectors melting and concluded that the problem was down to user error — if cables are not pushed all the way in when connected to a graphics card, there is a risk of the connectors overheating and melting, the company said. Various solutions have been proposed by the likes of Intel and CableMod in an attempt to address the problem, yet even those are not immune to failure.

The post by Shiftyeyes67k raises two main possibilities. Either Nvidia’s 12VHPWR connectors are indeed faulty, despite Nvidia’s reassurances, or users are still having trouble plugging them in correctly.

Either way, this seems to be the first time we’ve seen a 12VHPWR cable melting on the PSU side. Whereas before the melting connector only risked damaging your graphics card, now there’s a chance it could take down your entire system.

That said, it’s unknown how widespread this issue is, and it’s worth treating it somewhat skeptically until we get further confirmation or comment from Nvidia. But whatever happens, it seems Nvidia’s 40-series woes aren’t over yet.

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