NVIDIA RTX 4090 is reportedly melting and burning power cables, but who is to blame?

RTX 4090 with clipart flames
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 is reportedly causing power connectors to melt or burn.
  • The flagship graphics card from NVIDIA has an incredibly high power draw that may be related to the issues.
  • It appears that the melting may have been caused by an uneven connection or cable bending, but NVIDIA is still investigating the situation.

NVIDIA's RTX 4090 may have a power issue on its hands. The flagship graphics card has apparently caused power connectors to melt in multiple PC builds. The extent of the problem is unclear. Multiple PC owners have shared experiences with the issue online.

Reddit user reggie_gakil shared images of a melted power adapter of the RTX 4090. The connector has more damage in the upper-left corner, so there's a chance that too much power may have gone through part of it.

Since reggie_gakil's original post, a second Reddit user shared their experience with a similar problem on an ASUS RTX 4090 TUF Gaming - OC Edition. The situation has drawn media attention from multiple outlets, including Tom's Hardware, XDA, and the Verge.

"We are investigating the reports. We are in contact with the first owner and will be reaching out to the other for additional information," said NVIDIA's Bryan Del Rizzon to Tom's Hardware.

The exact cause of the reported melting and burning is still unknown. NVIDIA said that it's investigating the situation. The company is in contact with the original poster and expressed plans to reach out to the second.

The RTX 4090 has a massive power draw, even for a high-end GPU. As explained by Tom's Hardware, a reference RTX 4090 draws up to 450W, but factory-overclocked models can reach up to 500W. If a PC owner manually overclocks their system, the RTX 4090 could draw 600W or more. That's a lot of power to go through a single connection.

NVIDIA and OEMs provide a split that pulls power from up to four PCIe cables into a single connection. With each cable rated up to 150W, the combined throughput can be large. If a cable is not seated properly or there's another connection issue, the power draw could cause potential issues.

PC build with RTX 4090 with melted cable

(Image credit: reggie_gakil on Reddit)

According to reggie_gakil, the melting occurred while playing Red Dead Redemption 2 with a power load of 400W. That power usage should be well within the range of what the RTX 4090's power connector can handle. The question that remains is if the melting occurred due to a fault in the parts or an error on the side of reggie_gakil.

Melted adapter of RTX 4090 GPU

(Image credit: reggie_gakil from Reddit)

Even if reggie_gakil bent the cable to make it fit within his system, one could argue that responsibility still falls on NVIDIA, at least in part. The RTX 4090 is incredibly large. It's bigger than the Xbox Series S. The cable setup of the GPU is also quite limiting when it comes to how it can be oriented.

Companies such as CableMod have released right-angle adapters to help PC builders with their systems. CableMod also shared a guide on what to avoid when placing cables within a PC.

"The 12VHPWR connector and the terminals used in it are much smaller than the previous generation. Through our extensive testing, it appears that bending the wires too close to the connector could result in some of the terminals coming loose or misaligning within the connector itself," said the company.

"This may lead to an uneven load across the other wires, increasing the risk of overheating damage. The risk of this is substantially higher if the bend is done horizontally in relation to the connector orientation (left to right)."

As we wait for NVIDIA to conclude its investigation and other RTX 4090 owners to weigh in, it's best to take extra precautions when building a system with the GPU. It's important to avoid bending cables incorrectly and to keep proper distance between components. CableMod suggests a minimum distance of 35mm between the connector and any bend in an attached cable.

CableMod 12VHPWR Right Angle Adapter (opens in new tab)

CableMod 12VHPWR Right Angle Adapter (opens in new tab)

NVIDIA's RTX 4090 is a large GPU that can be difficult to fit into a PC case. CableMod's right angle adapter allows you to point cables in different directions to reduce bending. The adapter is expected to go on sale at the end of October.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).