NVIDIA 16-Pin ’12VHPWR’ Cable Update: More Evidence of User-Error, More Cards Melt, First Lawsuit

Jason R. Wilson & Hassan Mujtaba

There's even more evidence now that the NVIDIA 16-Pin 12VHPWR cable issues are due to user error instead of a major design defect. As discovered by GamersNexus, we are now in the fourth week since the first issues appeared and more details pop up to tell what's causing these cables to melt.

NVIDIA 16-Pin 12VHPWR Cable Problems Once Again Suggested To Be User-Error, Users Mount Up More Pressure on Green Team

There are three main topics to cover in this post, first and foremost are the new discoveries made by GamersNexus which once again point out two potential reasons why this issue is being caused. Now one should not call this the definitive reason for the issues as NVIDIA has yet to provide its own official update, but there are three sources that have said this might be the reason. First, we have Ronaldo Buassali from GALAX & TecLab who said this in the very beginning followed by Corsair's tech expert, JonnyGuru, and now, we have more details on the matter by GamersNexus who have also managed to recreate the melting issues live at their lab.

Related StoryHassan Mujtaba
NVIDIA Reportedly Ends Production of GeForce RTX 2060 & GTX 1660 Series Graphics Cards

GamersNexus Suggests User Error Is Causing NVIDIA's 16-Pin 12VHPWR Cables To Melt

In a very deep and detailed analysis that took several days of testing, Steve Burke and his team over at GamersNexus found two main causes behind the melting of the 16-Pin 12VHPWR cable from NVIDIA. Yesterday, we told that there were two cables provided by two different companies and one may feature problematic soldering and design. However, GamersNexus tested both and found out that the issue can occur on both cables, so the manufacturer doesn't matter.

The tech outlet continues to suggest that the issues are caused by either user error where users are not inserting the cables within the connector properly or foreign debris that might enter the connector after plugging the cable in or out or while manufacturing. Based on data from various AIB partners, GamersNexus reports that the failure rate is somewhere between 0.05 to 0.1% and that means that out of 100,000 units that have been shipped for the RTX 4090 so far, only 100 are really affected by this.

A summary of the entire video has been provided by NVIDIA's subreddit mod, Nestledrink, which can be read below:

  • Per Nvidia partner: Failure rate is 0.05% - 0.1%. Nvidia may provide more context on this later
  • Any of them "can" fail because there are a few modes of failure and one of them involves user error
  • Confirmed 2 Manufacturers: Astron / NTK (Also, subcontracted to Tricon?)
  • Failure in general is overwhelmingly uncommon and many of the failures are very easily avoidable

What are the causes:

  • Foreign object debris in the cable
  • Caused by improper manufacturing and scraping of the bump combined with high current and or poor connection
  • Creating poor points of contact
  • Extremely improper insertion by the user
  • Improper insertion in combination with a taut wire on one or more pins
  • Causing one point of poor contact that heats up

Conclusion:

  • Cables are melting when the connector is unseated
  • It requires being very unseated AND pulling the cable at an angle
  • Did not fail when tested unseated but not being pulled at an angle
  • "Partial insertion and angling of the pin into the socket could have increased susceptibility for a high resistance parallel connection at the lip of the socket" - Failure Analysis Lab Testing sent to GN
  • Any debris will make this worse
  • Failures are rare
  • Don't chase specific adapters as any of them can fail
  • Anxiety surrounding the issue might exacerbate the issue
  • When people are unplugging and re-plugging, it could create foreign object debris (not common)
  • User error when re-plugging the connector
  • Purely objectively, GN feels you should be comfortable using a 12VHPWR connector but it requires them to be fully connected and seated (Critical)
  • There should not be any gap
  • Push the cable until you can't wiggle it out anymore (GN gave an example of how he could pull the seemingly fully inserted cable out by wiggling it out -- this is an indication that the cable is NOT fully seated)

NVIDIA Hit With Lawsuit Over 16-Pin 12VHPWR Melting Fiasco

Moving on to story number two, we have Lucas Genova, an owner of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card who has filed a class action lawsuit against NVIDIA over the whole 16-Pin 12VHPWR cable. The lawsuit can be seen filed over at Justia and was filed at the California Federal court on 11 November 2022. The user states:

NVIDIA "marketed and sold the RTX 4090 with a defective and dangerous power cable plug and socket, which has rendered consumers' cards inoperable and poses a serious electrical and fire hazard for each and every purchaser."

via Tomshardware

Lucas states within his law suit that he installed his graphics card correctly but despite that the 16-pin cable on the card melted. Now there's no evidence as to if the cable was properly inserted or not but despite that, the user should be able to RMA his card for a new unit without any issues. We should advise all RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 owners to check and make sure the cable is inserted fully within the 16-Pin connector on the card. The issue occurring this often shows that the design of the cable isn't very user-friendly as the previous 8-pin connectors if they require you to put in a lot of force.

Another Founders Edition's 16-Pn 12VHPWR Cable Melts

Over this weekend on Reddit, another RTX 4090 GPU was mentioned as melting/malfunctioning, causing yet another user to contact their representative. This time, however, it comes from an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition card. This new development now stretches into the territory of NVIDIA's high-end proprietary cards.

The card was purchased on the 19th of October from Best Buy (it is unknown whether it was online or in-store). The GPU was inside an ASUS ROG Helios chassis with the side panel removed to ensure that the cable would not be bent on the 16-pin adaptor, as the user knew of the possible damage. The three 8-pin PCIe cables were confirmed to have been connected per the user to the ASUS ROG Thor 1200W PSU to offer adequate supply to the card.

The cable for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition. Image source: Party_Quail_1048 on Reddit.

On October 29th, the screen suddenly went black. Before the day, the user would play Call of Duty: Warzone each day, between two to three hours each. Upon investigation, the connector and corresponding adapter was already damaged, showing signs of melting. The graphics card has since been returned to NVIDIA for replacement, which will add to the list of cards that NVIDIA is currently examining for the actual cause of the problem. The user has reported that they have received the replacement graphics card but are very hesitant to install the new graphics card until a problem and solution have been found.

The connector on the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition. Image source: Party_Quail_1048 on Reddit.

The problem has been active for the last month since the first day of the release of the Ada architecture-based graphics cards. However, this is the first known incident involving an NVIDIA-branded graphics card (i.e. Founder's Edition).

Once again, we wait for NVIDIA's official reply over the matter. The company has been working with AIBs to get to the bottom of all of this but hasn't really revealed the exact cause yet.

Are you willing to buy a graphics card with the 16-pin 12VHPWR connector cable?
Vote to see results

Deal of the Day

Comments