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Faulty 12VHPWR Connectors: Review Sees Issue With Nvidia’s RTX-4090 Adapter

What is the cause of melted or even charred connectors of the 12VHPWR type, like the ones used in Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 (test) to transmit up to 600 watts? an analysis of igor’s lab Y calm down! You don’t see a general problem in the standard, but in the adapter that comes with all GeForce RTX 4090.

Nvidia’s 12VHPWR adapter is said to be the cause

The adapter converts up to four of the popular 8-pin connectors to the new 12+4+ (12VHPWR) connector. At least three 8-pin PCIe cables are required to operate the RTX 4090 with a maximum TDP of 450 W. If four 8-pin PCIe cables are connected, a maximum TDP of 600 W is allowed.

The GeForce RTX 4090 FE and power adapter
The GeForce RTX 4090 FE and power adapter

The adapter is not only included with Nvidia Founders Edition, but also with custom skins. According to the current state of knowledge, it is always the same model because Nvidia coordinates its distribution. But what is the problem?

This is the technical background.

like the analyzes of igor’s lab Y calm down! will show the end a The 8-pin PCIe connector provided power (maximum 12.5 amps at 12.0 volts) into the adapter through only a Wire (14AWG) routed to 12VHPWR connector. With four 8-pin plugs, this results in a total of four current-carrying wires leading to the adapter. There, the power must be transmitted to six pins on the 12VHPWR connector, and this is exactly where the problem lies.

4 incoming lines are divided into 6 outgoing lines through a brittle construction made of conductive foils and solder
4 incoming lines are divided into 6 outgoing lines through a brittle construction made of conductive foils and solder (image: Igor’s Lab / Shut Up!)

Removal of the connector liner and subsequent grinding of the connector brought to light three main findings:

  1. The six outgoing active pins of the 12VHPWR connector are connected to each other with thin metal sheets.
  2. Each of the two outer pins of the 12VHPWR connector receives 14AWG soldered power, that is, the current of an 8-pin connector. The four in the middle are powered in pairs from another 8-pin connector.
  3. The distribution of the two 14AWG lines to the four center pins of the connector is via 0.2mm thick copper foil, each just 2mm wide.

A high risk of faulty contacts

Not only is the result extremely brittle and causes near-faulty contacts due to the cable bending radii being too tight near the connector or the cable wobbling when disconnected. Bad contacts on the current-carrying side also cause increased resistances, which can lead to high thermal loads. In addition, there is a risk that by connecting all six pins in the connector, all of the requested electrical power will be supplied through less than four intact 14AWG wires, through contact points that are already questionable from the factory, and in the event Of doubt, they are also run down. This further increases the load on the remaining contacts.

“Real” 12VHPWR connectors are built differently

“Real” 12VHPWR patch cords like the am be quiet! Dark Power 13 or accessory ones such as for the Corsair AX1500i would not have this problem, since in this case each of the six hot pins of the connector is powered by a separate cable from the power supply and the power from a line is distributed to several pins through a brittle jumper does not take place. The six pins on the output side are also not electrically connected to each other.

Clear, 12 thick lines [sechs stromführende, sechs Mal Masse, Anm.d.Red] on a cable aren’t that sexy either, but at least it’s an exact and clean solution“, concludes Igor Wallossek and asks Nvidia to start replacing adapters that are already sold by customers. The manufacturer was previously informed of the result of the analysis.

The RTX 4090 in a pre-production model from be quiet!  Dark Power 13, which is based on ATX 3.0 and offers 12VHPWR with up to 600 watts
The RTX 4090 in a pre-production model from be quiet! Dark Power 13, which is based on ATX 3.0 and offers 12VHPWR with up to 600 watts
The GeForce RTX 4090 FE via 16-pin adapter cable on the old Corsair AX1500i
The GeForce RTX 4090 FE via 16-pin adapter cable on the old Corsair AX1500i