Nvidia is finally responding to the RTX 4090 cable meltdown controversy

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Nvidia spent weeks researching melted RTX 4090 adapter cables and has finally come to a conclusion. It turned out that people hadn’t plugged them in properly, as previously reported by several outlets. While the solution to the mystery is fairly simple, and we imagine it’s quite embarrassing for those affected, it still raises questions about Nvidia’s adapter design.

Team Green posted the results of its findings on its support site. If you expected an extensive analysis of the research, you will be disappointed. Nvidia’s post is surprisingly light on details, but Gamers Nexus was able to confirm some additional details. The bottom line is that Nvidia is aware of 50 instances of cables melting, which equates to a 0.04 percent failure rate based on discussions Gamers Nexus has had with Nvidia’s partners. According to Nvidia, the adapter can melt if it’s not fully connected to the GPU. This is apparently a “common problem”, according to the update; users may think it is fully seated and the card is operational even though it is not fully seated. Nvidia provided a clear illustration of what this could look like. It says all the melted cables it examined showed a clear “wear line” that indicated it wasn’t fully in place:

In other words, it is due to user error, but the design of the connector makes it difficult to fully insert the connector, as it seems to require more force than people are used to. Given the $1,599 price tag of the 4090, it’s also understandable that people are cautious. To remedy the situation, Nvidia advises people to plug the adapter into the GPU first. This allows you to view the connection from all angles, making sure it’s properly connected. Once you know it’s safe, connect the GPU to the PCIe slot.

Of course, this is cold consolation for those with melted GPUs. After all, it wasn’t like they were trying to melt down their brand new video card. For those affected, Nvidia says it will prioritize RMAs for anyone affected by the issue. So is any combination of card and cable, which is a laudable development. Nvidia also says it’s looking at ways to make sure the connector is secured before powering the card.

This raises a few questions about Nvidia’s adapter. First, why is the card allowed to work even if the connector isn’t fully seated? We’re not engineers, but it sounds like a change to the cable that cuts it off if a particular connection fails would be a good solution. Gamers Nexus said this can be achieved by shortening the length of the measuring pins on the belly of the 16-pin cable. This would prevent it from turning on unless fully seated.

Finally, why was this literally never an issue on a GPU prior to this generation? It seems that the design of the adapter is the issue as it was previously reported that Corsair’s PSU chief described it as very difficult to be entered in full. Therefore, we must conclude that it is possible both user error and a miscalculation on Nvidia’s part in the design of the adapter.

For now, we can put this controversy to bed, it seems. The probable cause has been unearthed and Nvidia says it will take care of all affected customers. All right, that melts well, we think. The only unknown left is what changes – if any – Nvidia will make it its 40 series adapter cable. Since the problem is miniscule, we can see Nvidia simply putting a label on future adapters to warn of the risks of incomplete placement. That seems less expensive than redesigning the damn thing.

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