You are aware at least one Nvidia card has burnt so far and, as reported earlier the cards that died prior to launch come from Asus. When we put two and two together it's pretty much clear that Asus must have done something to the cards and we decided to look into it.
Asking around we learned that the weird clock of 612 MHz was not the only thing the company changed. Namely, they changed the bios and let people use 1.2V (default is 0.9) which is way to much for the card. It ultimately results in TDP going up to 550W. As you can imagine, this is way to much for the card to handle and the power parts give up, eg. burn.
Nvidia wasn't tightlipped as the company got back to us with a following statement:
"NVIDIA's reference GTX 590 VBIOS on the production boards has not changed, and we have not provided a new VBIOS to AICs or end users for GTX 590. The original GTX 590 VBIOS that NVIDIA shipped is good for customers to use and we stand fully behind the reliability of the hardware with that VBIOS.
We did hear of one AIC partner who issued a custom VBIOS update specific to their board and we are checking in with them on the details of this."
We will hear more tomorrow but the new driver doesn’t let the card to draw insane amounts of power such as 550W, as this will clearly kill any possible card we know of. New driver prevents it despite the bios tweaks.
So far out card didn’t catch fire, and it works well even overclocked. We are not aware of any issue with highest clocked TGT cards either. Let's see what tomorrow brings."
The gtx 590 is a symptom of poor design and poor decision making on part of nvidia. One cannot expect such a card to work when it may as well be made of bubble gum and paper clips. I would have designed it differently such as one single large vapor chamber for both gpus and used solid copper fins. One large high flow rate 92mm dual slot fan at the rear of the card. Sure it would have been longer than the 6990 but would have used the space on the backside of the pcb as well for more caps and phases then cooled them with a heavy backplate. Then the card would have been much better even if it weight more than a house hold pet. Loud to but it wouldn't be roasting at 80+. I have been thinking of ways they could have made this card but what I thought off wouldn't be cheap at all but very expensive once on the market. The 6990 has many flaws as well such as the same centrally mounted fan and two blocks with vapor chambers to cool the gpus. Clearly no one learned from the mistakes of the gtx 295 co op edition ware many eventually died from cooling related issues vs the old dual planar version. Two independent blocks just do not work period. 7950 gx2 had numerous issues with this same for the 3870x2, 4870x2 and the gtx 295 co op. The only such card that did ok cooling wise that used to blocks or coolers was the 7900gtx duo and well they were far from cheap and at introduction make current cards seam cheap by over $300 usd.
GTX 590 a failure of reason and to learn from past mistakes of the gtx 295 co op as well ati's 3870x2 and 4870x2, to add salt to the wound the 6990 has the same flaw.
It might not be Nvidia. If they wanted the cores to get .9v and someone wrote a new bios that supplied 1.2, then the chips would have exploded because of that. I'd argue that makes sense seeing as we aren't hearing about the GTX580 exploding.
What does a GTX580 use as its Vcore? I'm just wondering how much they had to cut it down to make it work as a dual chip card.
This is simply a case of misuse of an overclocking tool. If someone blamed Intel for a CPU frying after someone set their Vcore to 1.7 volts, they'd be scoffed at. Just because a tool (i.e MSI Afterburner and Asus SmartDoctor) allows you to exceed the manufacturers stipulated voltage limits, doesn't mean it's a good idea.