Just weeks after Nvidia announced it was investigating reports of power cables melting and burning for its RTX 4090 graphics card, the company says it may know why: they simply weren’t fully connected.

In Post to the customer support forum Nvidia said on Friday that it was still investigating the reports, but that its findings “suggest” that the unreliable connector is a common problem. He also says that he has received about 50 reports on the matter.

Nvidia’s flagship card uses what’s known as a 12VHPWR power connector, which is a new standard that isn’t natively supported by most of the power supplies people already have in their PCs. That’s why it’s sent to the adapter or “power switch” box as Friday’s post said. Initial reports from users blamed the adapter, with some saying the melting cable also damaged their $1,599 GPU.

It can be easy to read the company’s findings as placing the blame on users. Of course, Nvidia does not come out immediately and say that this is user error, but this is strictly intended in the post. It also seems like a very convenient explanation, since people have been thinking for about a month that the problem was caused by something more complex, like bad soldering or wires too small to reliably handle the large amount of power being pumped.

A screenshot of the video showing the connector with clear lines on the plastic pins.

That’s a significant amount of connector to pull out of the socket.
Photo: GamersNexus

However, PlayersNexus, a talk respected in the PC-building community for its rigorous testing, came to the same conclusion earlier this week. A video was published by the outlet on Wednesdaywho examined the damaged adapters posted by viewers and did extensive testing and reporting on the problem, showed wear lines on the connectors, indicating they were not fully seated in the slot. PlayersNexus it even says that some people have missed the full connection by a few millimeters. His video shows that a loose connection can cause the plug to overheat if it’s loosely connected and bent at an angle.

Nvidia’s post has a picture of what the connector looks like when it’s not fully plugged in, and it looks easier to miss than something that’s a full 2mm out and held at an angle (potentially because the cables are pulled back too tightly during installation). It would be easier to get away with a third-party RTX 4090 card instead of the Nvidia version shown in the images below.

If your computer has one of these cards, you should probably double check that yours is showing up as a subcard.

Two photos showing a mostly but not fully connected connector and a fully connected connector.

Nvidia says you should make sure the cable is fully connected before booting your PC.
Image: Nvidia

Note that Nvidia may not absolutely innocent here. Another thing that stands out in the way it ships is that the connector has a locking switch. In theory, this is a feature that should prevent this sort of thing from happening, as long as it gives good feedback when connected. according to PlayersNexusbut the adapters don’t really snap into place audibly, even when fully inserted.

Also, testing by Nvidia and GamersNexus doesn’t point to manufacturing defects as the main culprit (a video released Wednesday suggests that manufacturing debris could be an aggravating factor). Anyway, an unnamed company spokesperson he said PlayersNexus On Friday “any issue with a burnt cable or GPU will be addressed regardless of cable or GPU” for replacement.

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