Nvidia RTX 4090’s power draw may be too much for its power connector to handle

Sam Mashkovech

Nvidia’s $1,599 GeForce RTX 4090 is an incredibly powerful graphics card, but its performance comes at the cost of high power draw. Like a few of the RTX 3000-series cards, Nvidia uses a new kind of 16-pin 12VHPWR power connector to supply all that power to the card—you can plug up to oven 8-pin GPU power cables into the 12VHPWR adapter, which then plugs into the connector on the GPU, saving some board space.

But at least two RT 4090 users are now reporting that their 12VHPWR connectors have overheated and melted during use. These complaints are sourced from Reddit (via Tom’s Hardware), so take them with a grain of salt—we don’t know the exact configuration of either user’s PC setup. The specific model of graphics card (a Gigabyte RTX 4090 Gaming OC for one user, an Asus RTX 4090 TUF Gaming OC Edition for the other), the power supply, and any number of other factors could have contributed to the connectors overheating.

For its part, Nvidia told Tom’s that it is “investigating the reports” and that the company is “in contact with the first owner” and planned to reach out to the other. We’ve followed up with Nvidia and will update this article if the company has more information to share.

Tom’s Hardware speculates that the issue could be caused by a bend in the cable too close to the power connector, causing some of its pins to “misalign” or come unseated, potentially creating an uneven power load across the pins. We’ll keep an eye on the issue until it’s clearer whether these were one-off user failures or a sign of a more systemic problem with the RTX 4090 series.

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