Update: As for recent reports of power connectors melting on RTX 4090 graphics cards (there are now two on Reddit), Nvidia says it’s investigating and will be contacting card owners, The Verge reports. (Opens in a new tab).
We also spoke with Hardware Buster’s Aris Bitziopoulos to get his thoughts on the 12VHPWR power connector and overheating when bent. Aris is also the trusted PSU expert we hire for our best guide to PSU gaming (Opens in a new tab). In his test, which you can see in the video embedded below, bending a 12VHPWR cable close to the connector increased the temperature measured at the connection point by about 1°C.
The 12VHPWR connector used for testing was direct from a compatible ATX 3.0 Seasonic PSU, and Aris does not foresee any problems with the connector in normal use. However, it’s important to note that this is not a test of the PCIe 3x 8-pin to 12 + 4-pin adapter included with Nvidia’s RTX 4090, and it would be difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions from the report cited below. User power connector that has been severely damaged after failure. There are many variables. Aris mentions that if you are bending the cable, be careful not to damage the pins.
Original story: It is not a good idea to bend the 12VHPWR connector used by the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090. (Opens in a new tab) graphics cards, and included within the ATX 3.0 specifications, in any way installed or used.
High-end cable manufacturer, CableMod, warns users that odd bends or twists in the cable can put extra pressure on the connector and possibly increase the risk of overheating. The company warns against vertical and horizontal bends, which basically means users need to keep cables properly aligned and straight or risk breakage.
Anyone who has ever built a computer will understand that this is not always possible.
The 12VHPWR connector was introduced as part of the ATX 3.0 specification (Opens in a new tab), published by Intel, and aims to reduce the power footprint of connectors on a PCB and deliver 600W of power. So far it has only been approved for use with the RTX 4090, however other graphics cards are expected to follow.
“This new connector can provide the power needed for these power-hungry cards, but it also comes with some caveats that users should be aware of,” CableMod says in a post on its website. (Opens in a new tab) from September 25.
“The 12VHPWR connector and the terminals used in it are much smaller than the previous generation. Through our extensive testing, it appears that bending the wires too close to the connector can cause some of the terminals to loosen or misalign inside the connector.
“This can lead to uneven loading across the other wires, increasing the risk of overheating damage. The risk of this is significantly greater if the bend is horizontal with the connector orientation (left to right),” notes CableMode.
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Cablemod also says that any bend in the 12VHPWR cable should occur within 35mm of the connector itself, easier said than done.
The reason I’m highlighting this company post today is because of a post from a Reddit user earlier today. (Opens in a new tab) Showing that the 12VHPWR cable connecting the RTX 4090 to the power supply had completely failed, melting in the process.
The hapless PC builder thinks their setup was pretty simple and didn’t have any aggressive bends. User provided images (Opens in a new tab) it shows a little bend, and is likely more aggressive than Cablemod’s recommendation of 35mm, but certainly nothing that I would consider wrong or abnormal by PC build standards.
If you didn’t know that a major cable company recommended such a bend, you wouldn’t think anything of it.
“I don’t know why this happened. I think my adapter cable is faulty. I think it’s the RMA. EDIT The card is connected vertically. The bend wasn’t that aggressive. I’m sure it was still wrong, this shouldn’t happen on a 2k Euro GPU. PSU Corsair RMX 1000,” says user reggie_gakil in the forum thread.
rtx_4090_adapter_burnt from r/nvidia
We cannot attribute this single failure to bending or any other reason at this time; sometimes things go very wrong and are not always indicative of a wider trend. And while I hear many stories of PCIe cables melting, old and new, I’d venture to say this isn’t the first time it’s happened.
However, this new 12VHPWR connector is not without its critics.
Overclocker and PCB analyzer Buildzoid has already published a scathing review (Opens in a new tab) Of the connector called “the 12VHPWR connector sucks” to deliver 600W of power with fewer pins compared to older 600W power connectors and citing the need for a power adapter change in the first place.
WCCFTech (Opens in a new tab) It was also previously reported that PCI-SIG, the group responsible for managing the PCI standard, has told its members to be wary of some implementations of 12VHPWR and thermal variances when using adapters for non-ATX 3.0 spec PSUs, which can lead to security issues.
“We encourage members to work closely with their connector vendors and exercise due diligence in using high-power connections, especially where there may be security concerns,” PCI-SIG said in a communication to members.
However, Nvidia has already made an effort to alleviate the concerns of owners about this PCI-SIG statement. In response to the question, “Why did PCI-SIG issue a warning and how does this affect NVIDIA’s new products?”, Nvidia said a month ago. (Opens in a new tab):
“It does not affect NVIDIA’s new products. During early development and testing we identified a potential problem with a prototype connector manufactured by a single supplier. As a PCI-SIG member, we notified the supplier, asked them to fix it (which they did), and shared our findings. to support providers implementing the new standard. PCI-SIG was passing on those learnings to other providers.”
So from the official perspective, at least from the GPU manufacturer, everything is fine with the connector. Although this may do little to ease the worries of other RTX 4090 owners; The image posted on reddit of what could go wrong with the cable in the event of a malfunction is not a pretty look. But we can only take that as an isolated incident today.
I’d like to think that confirmation of this connector from the GPU manufacturers, Intel, Nvidia, and PCI-SIG would be enough to ensure that simply bending a cable that will be used by thousands of people won’t cause it to burn. . Fire hazards should not be taken lightly. (Opens in a new tab) That said, I would personally be inclined to follow Cablemod’s advice if I were to use this cable in my PC today.
In light of this, and the growing concern among some PC builders about cable safety, I also foresee an attempt by the aforementioned companies to allay further concerns. At least to restore confidence in the security of the connector.