Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards were known to have melting and overheating problems with the 12VHPWR power adapters that came with the cards. Still, the company stayed strangely quiet about the problems and said it had started an inquiry. Recently, the company has become more transparent about the issue, revealing that the adapters are sourced from two manufacturers.
According to Nvidia Director of Engineering Gabriele Gorla, who spoke with Igor’s Lab about the company’s power adapter options, Nvidia purchases 4-to-1 12VHPWR (four eight-pins to one 12-pin) adapters from Astron and NTK. Although both adapters are built to PCI-SIG standards, they nonetheless differ “on the inside” due to the usage of slightly different contacts. Astron appears to employ double-slot spring contacts, but NTK uses a lengthy single-slot spring contact with reduced resistance and ease of detachment.
Igor’s Lab reports that Zotac and Gigabyte have claimed that the NTK adapter is more reliable after repeated mating cycles. According to Nvidia, Astron claims that its adapter functions in compliance with requirements (i.e., its resistance is below 1.5 mOhm). According to Igor’s Lab, Astron’s 12VHPWR adapter has its thick 14AWG wires tightly soldered to 2mm2 soldered pads, which is a potential failure site, particularly for the adapter’s contact points along the borders.
Although Igor’s Lab explains how to detect the difference between Astron and NTK adapters, there needs to be a way to know which one will be included with your GeForce RTX 4090 when you buy it. Furthermore, the source claims that Nvidia will continue to utilize the Astron and NTK 3-to-1 12VHPWR adapters included with GeForce RTX 4080 boards but will switch to utilizing NTK 2-to-1 12VHPWR adapters with GeForce RTX 4070 Ti products.
To summarize, there might be various reasons why Nvidia’s 12VHPWR adapters can melt and overheat. Igor’s Lab claims NTK-manufactured Nvidia-branded adapters have a far lower failure rate. However, No official business statement has confirmed this, so take it with a grain of salt.
Via Tom’s Hardware