Update 9/29/2020, 7:30am PT: MSI sent over images and a statement disputing any claims that it has changed the design on its 30-series GPUs. Included are four images of the backs of the cards, showing the capacitor configuration. The MSI RTX 3090 Gaming Trio and MSI RTX 3090 Ventus 3X have a layout with 4x SP-Caps and 2x MLCC clusters, while the MSI RTX 3080 Gaming Trio and MSI RTX 3080 Ventus 3X have a layout with 5x SP-Caps and 1x MLCC cluster. These are the cards that actually shipped to consumers and reviewers; earlier variants may have existed but apparently did not ship to anyone outside of MSI. This includes the 6x SP-Cap card, images of which were posted on MSI's site at one point but have since been removed.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 just can't seem to catch a break. The Ampere-powered offering is one of the best graphics cards (opens in new tab) on the market despite its limited availability, but some custom models are suffering from stability issues.
Reports of custom GeForce RTX 3080 crashing started piling up last week. EVGA has acknowledged (opens in new tab) that the root of the crashes is likely due to the design and choice of capacitors. Some vendors have openly responded (opens in new tab) to the issue, while others kept their silence.
In a nutshell, there are two types of capacitors that filter voltage. POSCAPS (Conductive Polymer Tantalum Solid Capacitors) are bigger and have a higher temperature tolerance, meaning they're more expensive but don't excel at high frequencies. MLCC (Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors), on the other hand, are smaller, cheaper and adept for higher frequencies in comparison to POSCAPS. However, they have a lower temperature tolerance, so they crack more frequently. So far, user reports show that the custom GeForce RTX 3080 models that leverage a complete POSCAPS design are more susceptible to instability and crashes.
MSI, as reported by VideoCardz (opens in new tab), has started silently revising the design on the its GeForce RTX 3080 models. As a matter of fact, MSI has removed the renders of the backplate from the product pages, although some regional product pages are already showing the new design.
The original capacitor layout on the GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio employed five POSCAPS in conjunction with one array of MLCC. The new design consists of four POSCAPS and two arrays of MLCC.
On the GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 3X, MSI had originally utilized a design six POSCAPS, which has been substituted with a new layout that includes five POSCAPS and two arrays of MLCC.
It's unknown if any of the old designs from MSI or other vendors actually made it into the wild.