Following a rash of complaints about overheating graphics cards causing black screens and, in some cases, even burning up and dying, EVGA is extending an olive branch of sorts by offering owners of its FTW GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards a free thermal pad. Affected owners would probably prefer EVGA acknowledge there's an issue, but so far it hasn't done so.
There are multiple forum threads on EVGA's forum and Reddit filled with user accounts of FTW GTX 1070 and 1080 cards running uncomfortably hot. In one post, Reddit user "Mydst" says he saw a "bright orange flame" shoot out about an inch above his card right before his display went black.
"I was greeted by the sickening smell of burning electronics. I pulled the card and decided I would gently remove the backplate and see if I could see if there was any visible damage," Mydst said. "Sure enough, there was."
You can see the damage in the picture he posted above. According to Mydst, the card was barely two months old and running at stock voltage with about a 100MHz overclock on the core and memory, which was done through EVGA's PrecisionX utility.
His wasn't the only card to burn up or otherwise fail. Users collectively surmised that the problem stems from the lack of any thermal pads over the VRM section of EVGA's FTW line. There have been reports of certain parts of the PCB running up to 107C. A review site added fuel to the fire when it conducted tests of an affected card and confirmed the high temps.
EVGA acknowledged the testing that was done, along with user complaints about cards running hot, but is holding firm that its card can handle it. Nevertheless, those who want lower temperatures can request a free thermal pad to apply between the backplate and PCB. Here's EVGA full statement:
The test used in the referenced review from Toms Hardware (Germany) is running under Furmark, an extreme usage case, as most overclockers know. We believe this is a good approach to have some idea about the graphics card limit, and the thermal performance under the worst case scenario. EVGA has performed a similar qualification test during the design process, at a higher ambient temperature (30C in chamber) with a thermal coupler probe directly contacting the key components and after the Toms Hardware (Germany) review, we have retested this again. The results in both tests show the temperature of PWM and memory is within the spec tolerance under the same stress test, and is working as originally designed with no issues.
With this being said, EVGA understands that lower temperatures are preferred by reviewers and customers.
During our recent testing, we have applied additional thermal pads between the backplate and the PCB and between the baseplate and the heatsink fins, with the results shown below. We will offer these optional thermal pads free of charge to EVGA owners who want to have a lower temperature. These thermal pads will be ready soon; and customers can request them starting Monday, October 24th, 2016. Also, we will work with Toms Hardware to do a retest.
EVGA also posted a thermal image (above) showing a GeForce GTX 1080 FTW card running Furmark with the optional thermal pad mod.
Some users have responded positively to EVGA's offer while others are unhappy with the lack of explanation. One user called the thermal pad offer a "band-aid fix," adding that "there's no clarification as to why these cards are running hotter than both competitors and reference cards... Thermal pads are not a suitable solution for a $400 product."
If you own an affected card and want to take EVGA up on its offer, you can go here to request one.