Nvidia Investigates Melting PC Graphics Card Power Cables

The Nvidia logo is displayed on a sign.

Image: Smith Collection / Gado / Contributor / Kotaku (Getty Images)

Perhaps the oversized, power-hungryand highly-priced 4000-series graphics cards from Nvidia are a bit too hot of a product right now. After one user posted photos of their charred 12-volt, high power (12VHPWR) connector on Reddit, Nvidia responded with an investigation into at least two cases.

Yesterday, Reddit user reggie_gakil shared photos of a freshly seared cable and power connector on their RTX 4090 graphics card, titled “RTX 4090 Adapter burned” with a caption that reads “IDK [how] it happened but it smelled badly and I saw smoke.” Though the card reportedly still works, reggie_gakil was not alone. Another Reddit user began with their reply, “You aren’t the only one. This happened to me today as well.” This follows reports that PCI-SIG, the consortium that sets standards for PCI, PCI-X, and PCI-Express connections (the ones used in said graphics cards), was aware of potential “safety issues under certain conditions.” according to The VergeNvidia is now investigating these cases.

In a statement to KotakuNvidia said it is “in contact with the first owner and will be reaching out to the other for additional information.”

With the increased power draw of these new graphics cards and new ATX power standards that have raised eyebrows, this might not be so much of a surprise. Indeed, YouTube channels like JayzTwoCents are doing a bit of an “I told you so” victory lap.

The 12VHPWR cable is DANGEROUS! But NVIDIA doesn’t agree…

As mentioned in JayzTwoCents’ video, Brandon Bell, senior technical marketing manager for Geforce at Nvidia dismissed early fears over unsafe power cables as “issues that don’t exist” and that “it all just works, man.” While the results of Nvidia’s investigation have yet to determine if the initial Reddit post that sparked alarm is an outlier, there’s certainly cause for concern.

Nvidia’s competitor, AMD, also responded to reggie_gakill’s melted-cable story. AMD Radeon’s senior vice president replied to a Tweet staying that “the Radeon RX 6000 series and upcoming RDNA 3 GPUs will not use [the 12VHPWR] connector.”

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