Amazon's New World MMO is reportedly killing $1,500 Nvidia GPUs

EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 in front of a sparkler
Bricking RTX 3090s in a graphics card drought is not a good look. (Image credit: EVGA)

Update: In a statement sent to PC Gamer today, Amazon says that it has observed "no indication of widespread issues" with RTX 3090s, despite "a few" reports of players who say they've experienced hardware failures. Although the game is already safe to play, says Amazon, it will release a patch that caps fps on the menu screen to "reassure" players. Here's the full statement:

Hundreds of thousands of people played in the New World Closed Beta yesterday, with millions of total hours played. We’ve received a few reports of players using high-performance graphics cards experiencing hardware failure when playing New World.

New World makes standard DirectX calls as provided by the Windows API. We have seen no indication of widespread issues with 3090s, either in the beta or during our many months of alpha testing.

The New World Closed Beta is safe to play. In order to further reassure players, we will implement a patch today that caps frames per second on our menu screen. We’re grateful for the support New World is receiving from players around the world, and will keep listening to their feedback throughout Beta and beyond.

Earlier in the day, an Amazon customer service rep acknowledged an issue with "Nvidia RTX 3090 Series & 100% GPU Usage" in a forum post. The developer recommends turning off "the overrides in the driver settings," but the only specific instruction given is to set 'Max Frame Rate' to 'Off' in the Nvidia control panel (its default state) and rely on the in-game frame rate limiting option.

Original story: The closed beta for Amazon's New World MMO just went live yesterday, and today there are multiple reports that it's somehow killing GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards.

That's hardware that's mighty tough to replace right now.

The reports have come through the New World subreddit (crossposted in r/nvidia) after greyone78 posted about the death of their RTX 3090. Twitter is seeing some instances of dead GPUs, too.

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It's a bizarre situation. Software should not be able to just kill a piece of tech in 2021. There are meant to be a whole raft of fail safes built into your hardware which should stop it overheating, clocking too high, or drawing more power than it can handle. That's how come overclocking is pretty much fool-proof these days... if a little unrewarding.

But seemingly those fail safes aren't so safe in New World, with the game overheating GPUs and causing power spikes all over the place. The general consensus seems to be that it's down to uncapped frame rates in menu screens, with the graphics silicon getting far too excited and drawing too much juice through its VRMs and frying them.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened: Starcraft II was another culprit back in the day.

If you run New World either with a capped frame rate from the off, or with your GPU underclocked or undervolted, with a strict power limit engaged, there's a very high chance you won't kill your expensive graphics card. 

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But there's no way I'm going to try and dive into the New World beta and see if my RTX 3090 can handle it until we get an update from Amazon or Nvidia about what is causing this, if these reports are accurate.

I'm all for pushing hardware to the limit, but y'know, there is a limit.

A New World screenshot.

(Image credit: Amazon)

It does also seem to be an issue peculiar to EVGA cards at the moment, though New World is evidently pushing other GPUs too hard as well, with reports of unnecessarily high power usage in menu screens and stupidly high temperatures as a result.

That means there's an argument about whether it's a hardware issue or a game issue. "Encountered same issue, EVGA 3090 FTW with power supply of over 1000w," says one Reddit user. "I guess this is not a game issue, the cards were just bad and waiting for the right conditions to fail."

"Add me to the list." writes another. "EVGA 3090 FTW3 - ran fine for about 30 mins > black screen game audio still going > fans shot up to 100% right after black screen > hard reset and now no video."

Though the fact it's tied around one specific game, and only in the settings screens, makes it tough to swallow that the game itself has nothing to do with the issue. We have reached out to both Amazon Game Studios and EVGA for a response to these issues.

It's still makes for pretty heart-breaking reading when more and more reports on reddit roll in about cards being killed by a simple game beta test: "This just happened to me too. Booted up the game for the first time, I was on the Brightness calibration screen, and clicking Restore Defaults sent all my fans into overdrive, blasting off to Mars. Screen went black and video output wouldn't come back. I hard reset, and the GPU doesn't turn on anymore, except for the red light of death. Same card! EVGA 3090 FTW3. Been using it since Feb, no issues whatsoever."

Around the launch of Nvidia's RTX 30-series cards there were several reports of cards failing because of their power componentry not being up to the job. A lot of the blame was put on the capacitors, but VRMs got some blame too. EVGA itself noted that some of its early boards, those that went out to reviewers, had insufficiently capable capacitors, but they supposedly never got out into retail.

Nvidia salved these issues by releasing a driver that pulled back a little on the power front and since then we've not really seen any problems. Certainly with a PowerColor RTX 3080 we had which kept falling over before the patch, it was far happier after.

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I'd guess Amazon will learn its lesson—with Bezos back from space, and now such a man of action, he'll probably drop in a hard coded frame limiter himself.

But that's not a great look for New World, a title which is somewhat carrying the torch for Amazon in terms of its gaming credentials. It's not had a great track record after all, what with the dreadful Grand Tour game, shooter Crucible being released, unreleased, and then cancelled, and then brawler Breakaway going nowhere at all. 

So, being the killer of GPUs amidst a GPU drought may be something that sticks with Amazon's new MMO even after launch.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.