It would appear that even Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition graphics card is susceptible to the ongoing 16-pin power adapter meltdowns. The first reported case of Founders Edition surfaced on Reddit (opens in new tab) over the weekend.
The affected GeForce RTX 4090 owner stated in a Reddit thread that they bought the GeForce RTX 4090 from Best Buy on October 19, so the Ada flagship wasn't even a month old when it fell victim to the meltdown. The user housed the graphics card inside his Asus ROG Helios case without the side panel on so as to avoid bending the 16-pin adapter (the alleged cause of other RTX 4090 meltdowns). The Redditor confirmed that they had connected the three 8-pin PCIe power cables from his Asus ROG Thor 1200W power supply.
The user spent the next seven days playing Call of Duty: Warzone, around two to three hours a day, but then his screen went pitch black on October 29th. But, unfortunately, it was already too late when they took apart the system. The damage was already done, and the 16-pin power adapter and the 16-pin power connector on the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition had melted. The Redditor has returned the damaged graphics card and adapter to Nvidia for analysis. Unfortunately, although the chipmaker sent the Redditor a replacement three days later, they are reluctant to install the graphics card.
According to the thread on Reddit (opens in new tab), we're just four incidents short of reaching the magic 30 number. Until this weekend, there was only user feedback on custom GeForce RTX 4090 models, but it seems like even the Founders Edition may not be safe. Nvidia's investigation continues as new reports continue to pile up. In a short statement, the chipmaker said it was still investigating the reports and didn't have any new details.
The only new development so far is that Nvidia has confirmed to the German publication Igor's Lab that the company purchased its 16-pin power adapters from two manufacturers: Astron and NTK. Both adapters conform to PCI-SIG's specifications. However, Zotac and Gigabyte allegedly told Igor's Lab that the NTK adapters are less vulnerable to failures after several mating contacts. The important word here is "less," so there is still an inherent probability that a failure can occur.
There have been numerous theories around the 16-pin power adapter's failures, spanning from the adapter's design to user error. Sadly, there's not much GeForce RTX 4090 owners can do other than wait until Nvidia concludes its investigation. Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, so let's hope Nvidia can end the GeForce RTX 4090 casualties sooner rather than later.