Some GeForce RTX 4090 Owners Claim Their Native 16-Pin Power Plugs Are Melting Too
The new NVIDIA RTX 4090 is the undisputed king of PC graphics right now, but these spendy $1,600 cards may have a fatal flaw. Reports of melting 16-pin power adapters are piling up, and NVIDIA says it's investigating the issue—things might be getting even more complicated, though. Some users have started reporting melting power plugs on their native ATX 3.0 power supplies.
The RTX 40-series GPUs can pump out more pixels than past graphics cards, but they need a lot of juice to do it. Thus, NVIDIA moved to the 12VHPWR power connector which can support up to 600 watts of power. This 16-pin connector (12-pins for power and 4 sense pins to determine how much power can draw) is not included with most power supplies, so the cards come with an adapter to aggregate multiple 8-pin connectors. The RTX 4090 launched just a few weeks ago, and it didn't take long for RTX 4090 owners to report failing adapters.
Initially, blame was placed on the adapter, which carried a lot of power and won't take kindly to being manipulated or bent. With the huge size of the 4090, some people have to do some creative cable management to make it fit. However, an ATX 3.0 power supply doesn't need the adapter as it already has the necessary 12VHPWR power connector included. It would appear that native connector is not immune to overheating.
A redditor reported the 16-pin connector on an MSI MPG 1,000W ATX 3.0 power supply began melting while plugged into an RTX 4090. Luckily, they noticed the issue before the plug was able to damage the GPU plug. In the same thread, another 4090 owner chimed in to say their 1,300W MSI MPG power supply had just done the same thing. The NVIDIA subreddit maintains a list of failed power connectors, which currently has 20 entries, including the two with native cables attached.
NVIDIA has yet to provide an update on its investigation, but this will surely muddy the waters. A design issue with an adapter would have been relatively easy to fix, but we could be looking at a problem with the 4090's power usage characteristics. On one hand, two melting cables doesn't mean there's a fundamental problem with the 16-pin connector. However, ATX 3.0 power supplies are still rare, and that could explain why most of the melting cables have been adapters. One thing is certain, though—RTX 4090 owners will be keeping a close watch over their shiny new GPUs.