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Welp, we all knew this was coming. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Nvidia following numerous reports of melted RTX 4090 cables and cards. The company has yet to address the issue publicly, and so far investigations have yet to yield a definitive cause. Still, it’s undeniable some people’s cards have gone up in smoke. Now a California man wants redress through the courts. It’s unclear at this time how many RTX 4090 owners will join the suit, however. By our count, we’ve only seen a few dozen melted cards shown online despite Nvidia reportedly selling over 100,000 GPUs so far.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a gamer named Lucas Genova on Nov. 11 in the Northern District of California, according to Techspot. The suit alleges Nvidia is guilty of fraud for selling GPUs with known defects that lead to the cables and connectors melting. He claims Nvidia sold “defective and dangerous power cable plug and socket(s), which has rendered consumers’ cards inoperable and poses a serious electrical and fire hazard for each and every purchaser.” Though some have theorized the melting was caused by user error, Genova states that’s not the case with him. He states he is “experienced in the installation of computer componentry like graphics cards.” It’s been hypothesized that people weren’t plugging the power cable in all the way, partially due to the adapter’s design. Genova insists he followed best practices in installing his GPU and it still melted.
The lawsuit comes after weeks of online investigations and speculation about the cause. Even when online sleuths have tried to make an adapter cable melt, they have almost always failed. This has led to even more confusion as to the root cause. Gamers Nexus has done several deep dives, however, and reports it’s only affecting a very small number of users. According to an Nvidia partner it spoke with, the failure rate is only 0.05 to 0.1 percent of all RTX 4090 owners. The results of all the various analyses are summarized in the megathread on Reddit.
The YouTuber also says any RTX 4090 cable can fail, not just certain ones. However, he says it’s usually due to not being properly inserted along with the cable being pulled taut. This sort of backs up what Corsair’s PSU chief said recently as well. He stated the main cause is the adapter cable not being properly inserted. This is apparently relatively easy to do given the design of the connector. For some reason they were designed to require a lot of force to ensure a proper connection. People also tend to treat $1,600 GPUs with kid gloves as well.
Regardless, we’re still waiting on Nvidia to clarify the situation. It’s impacting a minimal number of RTX 4090 owners, but it has cast a shadow over Nvidia’s adapter design. It’s even allowed AMD to dunk on its rival by just using current power cables on its RDNA3 GPUs.
[Update: Just as we went to press, Nvidia delivered its verdict on the issue, which we will cover in a separate piece. TL;DR, the company also believes it’s due to cables not being fully inserted. — Ed]