A repair shop reveals the RTX 4090 melting connector problem remains worryingly widespread

Reports of melting 12VHPWR power connectors surfaced almost immediately following the launch of the RTX 4090 back in October 2022. The issue was supposed to have been put to rest after Nvidia investigated the issue and released revised models featuring the updated 12V-2x6 connector, but it's still rearing its ugly melted head in the year and a half since it launched.

NorthridgeFix, a Los Angeles based electronics repair company estimated it received around 200 cards and adapters with melted connectors over a period of just one month. NorthridgeFix doesn't state whether the problem cards feature the older or newer connectors.

Recently, CableMod issued a recall of its original V1.0 and updated V1.1 angled 12VHPWR adapters due to the risk of a fire hazard. However, the video above points out that the CableMod adapter are actually "a great product" and that even adapters with the highest quality materials can fail if the foundation they are built on is faulty.

The exact cause of the failures was hard to ascertain as failures were difficult to replicate. Early investigations pointed towards Astron made connectors being more prone to failure, while other reports suggested the connectors were not fully inserted, or the cables themselves were bent. 

Personally, I won't be trying to replicate anything with my RTX 4090, thank you very much.

Your next upgrade

Nvidia RTX 4070 and RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics cards

(Image credit: Future)

Best CPU for gaming: The top chips from Intel and AMD.
Best gaming motherboard: The right boards.
Best graphics card: Your perfect pixel-pusher awaits.
Best SSD for gaming: Get into the game ahead of the rest.

The apparent randomness of the failures would add weight to NorthridgeFix's claim that early revisions of the RTX 4090 connector design itself is to blame. I have an RTX 4090 Founders Edition, and I frequently swap it in and out of my main test rig. However, I do leave the 12VHPWR adapter installed, and unplug it from the four 8-pin power connectors from my power supply. The card has never had an issue—I hope I didn't just jinx it.

The revised 12V-2x6 connector has shorter sensing pins while the conductor terminals are longer. This helps to ensure the cable has been properly inserted. It's also back compatible with existing 12VHPWR connectors and cables. Power supplies and cables with the 12V-2x6 connector are already appearing in the market. At least some RTX-40 series cards have also incorporated the new connector.

Nvidia is certainly paying attention. Let's hope that upcoming RTX 50-series cards avoid this problem altogether. Interestingly, AMD and Intel have shown no interest in adopting the 12VHPWR standard to date. Will their next-gen offering make the move to 12V-2x6, though?

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.