Problem with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition turns out to be a literal bug trapped inside

In 1946, computer science pioneer Grace Hopper used the word "bug" to refer to a malfunction in a computer at the Harvard Computation Laboratory, which was caused by a moth trapped inside a relay. Engineers were already calling defects bugs at the time, building on the word's connection to the same root as "bugbear" in the sense of an annoyance, but it's a fun fact that the first computer bug was an actual literal insect. And so was the one recently found by YouTuber northwestrepair in an RTX 4090 Founders Edition.

The GPU was apparently bought at resale and so didn't have a warranty, which is how it ended up in the hands of northwestrepair, AKA Tony, when it didn't work. On testing it he found that the fan blew, though there was no picture. After thoroughly checking the card for short circuits, cracks, and activity around the BIOS chip, he eventually popped open the core and uncovered the culprit. 

"I don't know exactly what that thing was," Tony said after extricating the dead insect. "It looked like it had wings."

This isn't the first time one of northwestrepair's videos has traced a fault to a literal bug, with this Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Ti AMP Extreme Holo suffering a similar fate. "I think I found the bug," Tony said while lifting that one's remains. "Or what was left of it after trying to urinate on a powered device."

Even when they don't involve dead insects being liberated from their GPU tombs, the videos on nortwestrepair's channel are enjoyably soothing. If you want to see chips being flooded with flux while some chill tunes play, you could do worse than checking them out.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.