RTX 4090 16-Pin Power Connector Woes Spawn 3D Printed Fix

 3D Printed 16-pin power cable guide
(Image credit: Mike JC)

A PC building Redditor shared his design for a 16-pin power connector cabling guide. You can see Mike JC's 3D printed finished result via the above link, and grab the 3D printing source file here to modify and output to your heart's content.

PC DIYers and enthusiasts are understandably worried about installing and running Nvidia's new flagship GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards. Following the news about melting quadropus to 16-pin power connectors started to bubble up, our graphics card editor felt compelled to make sure Red Dead Redemption 2 wasn't going to make his RTX 4090 red or dead. Luckily, he had been wise enough not to inflict any severe bends onto the cabling, letting it leisurely hang there, making it impossible to reattach the PC chassis side panel.

Mike JC's cable bending guide seems to be based on the advice of the CableMod guide, which warns against exaggerated bends. It also suggests that if a cable must be bent (necessary for almost everyone), it shouldn't start to curve until it's 35mm away from the connector assembly. The descriptively named 'Nvidia RTX 4090 16 pin cable bend protector' 3D printer source file was designed with such measurements in mind.

"So for everyone following cable-gate with Nvidia and the melting 4090 16 pin cable adapters, this is for you," writes Mike JC on Thangs.com. "Apparently, allowing the cable to bend prior to the 35mm mark can cause your $1600+ card to melt... This will make sure the cable stays in the appropriate position even when smushing your case panel back on." The Redditor and 3D printing enthusiast added that the design was first drawn up as a joke, but it might well be of practical use until manufacturer solutions are verified to be safe.

(Image credit: Mike JC)

Other solutions to the overheating cable that users have grasped to protect their sizable investments in hardware include; discarding the PC side panel until a sensible and safe alternative arrives (the same idea as our GPU editor) or actively cooling the cable connector with RGB fan (joke).

There is debate about whether Nvidia's Quadropus solution is inherently unsafe. Igor's Lab seems to think this adaptor is prone to issues and likely to be the root cause of many problems we are seeing. Others say that robust right-angle power connectors on the way and direct 16-pin to 16-pin connector cables (with an appropriate PSU) are potential solutions.

Despite all the problems of size, weight, power, heat and pricing, the RTX 4090 remains in pole position in our best graphics cards 2022 charts due to its overwhelming performance. AMD isn't going down the 16-pin power route for its upcoming Radeon RX 7000 series GPUs, so hopefully, that is a sign of greater efficiency and elegance but with enough performance to make them desirable to gamers living on the bleeding edge.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • DRagor
    Hmm. When I look at this gizmo I see a horse. Possibly Troyan horse. Am I weird?
  • bolweval
    DRagor said:
    Hmm. When I look at this gizmo I see a horse. Possibly Troyan horse. Am I weird?

    Maybe a pigeon toed Trojan horse?
  • USAFRet
    I see not a horse, but rather a jackass.

    And the name of the creature starts with N.
  • thisisaname
    I see a dog. Which with how the cable runs make make me think the cable is a dogs dinner.
  • pixelpusher220
    When you absolutely, positively do not want your side panel to fit back on.

    The 90 degree plugs are the only real answer to this engineering fail
  • Co BIY
    Good concept but it still creates a tight 90 degree bend.

    The cable guide needs to create a gentle bend at the appropriate distance from the plug and probably needs to be anchored to the plug.

    How about remounting the card vertically on a PCIe cable standoff if your case is too small ?

    Any performance hit with PCIe extenders?
  • hannibal
    Need huge space in the case if that connector is toward the side of the case...