Update 9/30/2020 7:30am PT: MSI, Asus and Gigabyte have posted statements, which you can find below.
Update 9/29/2020 2:45pm PT: Nvidia has provided the following statement via its forums (opens in new tab):
“NVIDIA posted a driver this morning that improves stability. Regarding partner board designs, our partners regularly customize their designs and we work closely with them in the process. The appropriate number of POSCAP vs. MLCC groupings can vary depending on the design and is not necessarily indicative of quality.”
The comment comes after several of Nvidia's third-party partners have altered their designs with modified capacitor arrangements.
A bevy of third-party graphics card makers have issued statements regarding the reports of crashing issues that have marred Nvidia's launch of the RTX 30-series graphics cards.
Ampere's debut was met with more excitement than we typically see with launches due to impressive generational performance gains, but then things went sideways. Widespread shortages set in after both the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 launches, but that seems a petty concern after an increasing number of reports emerged that users were experiencing crash to desktop (CTD) and black-screening issues.
Following a report from Igor's Lab, much of the speculation turned to the various capacitor arrangements on the RTX 30-series graphics cards. But that speculation reached a fever pitch after EVGA officially acknowledged that it had encountered difficulties with designs that used only one type of capacitor (commonly referred to as POSCAPs, but more specifically, SP-Caps). We have more detail on that topic here.
However, even after EVGA's acknowledgment and the following statements from third-party GPU makers (AIBs), it's best to be cautious. While it appears that some capacitor arrangements could bear some of the blame, recent independent testing has revealed black screen issues on cards with several types of capacitor arrangements.
Nvidia also released a new driver today, citing nebulous 'stability improvements,' though the driver release notes don't explicitly state the improvements address the crashing issues that are being reported. Drivers could certainly be a big factor: We in the tech world are very accustomed to vendors providing high-performance drivers/BIOSes for a product launch, which many speculate are used to get high scores in reviews. Later, those drivers are dialed back to improve stability. We're busy testing the new drivers with various 30-series models — stay tuned for our findings. We have encountered issues with several cards in our labs, so we have plenty to work with.
It's entirely plausible that this issue isn't entirely related to capacitors. Nvidia's Ampere cards have higher power supply requirements than previous-gen cards, drivers are still in the early stages of widespread use, and boosting tables, which define when and for how long the GPU stays in a boosted state, could bear some of the blame.
Also, there is no guarantee that all cards with POSCAP-only designs are defective; instead, this could imply they simply have a greater chance of an issue (i.e., a higher failure rate), or that there are binning issues that make some caps more reliable than others. As such, capacitor-induced crashes might not be responsible for all crashing issues. In short, there are a lot of factors at play.
Igor's Lab also reports that third-party GPU makers didn't have access to proper drivers long enough before the Ampere launch to ensure the thorough and accurate methodology needed to bin the different GPUs into classes worthy of overclocking, and those that are not. That could mean some chips that aren't suitable for a factory overclock could have made it into the shipping cards.
Be aware that we can't say just how widespread the issues are. For instance, 100 complaints aren't as concerning if they come from a pool of 100,000 deployed cards. Knock a zero or two off that 100,000, though, and things become real catastrophic. For now, we lack proper perspective because we don't know how many cards were sold at retail. We do know, however, that our own testing encountered a few issues on factory overclocked cards, and we're still looking into those. That's two cards (one 3080 and one 3090) out of a sample size of six (three 3080 and three 3090), which isn't good.
Nvidia has released a short statement, which you can see below, but it doesn't provide any details about the source of the errors, and comes after several of its partners have changed the capacitor alignments on their designs. For now, we're left with what the third-party GPU makers have to say to glean some more details. We've reached out to all of them and will update this article as we receive more statements (we've been told more statements will be released tomorrow). Here's the rundown:
Nvidia Statement on GeForce RTX 30-Series Crashes
Nvidia has provided the following statement via its forums (opens in new tab):
"NVIDIA posted a driver this morning that improves stability. Regarding partner board designs, our partners regularly customize their designs and we work closely with them in the process. The appropriate number of POSCAP vs. MLCC groupings can vary depending on the design and is not necessarily indicative of quality."
-The company also gave a similar, but shorter, statement to PCWorld's Brad Chacos.
"All retail ROG Strix and TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards use only MLCC capacitors for decoupling close to the GPU.
During development, we discovered the improvement this makes to RTX 3090 and 3080 overclocking headroom, so we made specification changes before we started shipping cards to reviewers and customers. Please note that some of the product images used on etail sites and our product pages were from early development samples, so are not final. All images will be updated soon.
Please bear with us!"
Recently there has been some discussion about the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 series.
During our mass production QC testing we discovered a full 6 POSCAPs solution cannot pass the real world applications testing. It took almost a week of R&D effort to find the cause and reduce the POSCAPs to 4 and add 20 MLCC caps prior to shipping production boards, this is why the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 series was delayed at launch. There were no 6 POSCAP production EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 boards shipped.
But, due to the time crunch, some of the reviewers were sent a pre-production version with 6 POSCAP’s, we are working with those reviewers directly to replace their boards with production versions.
EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 XC3 series with 5 POSCAPs + 10 MLCC solution is matched with the XC3 spec without issues.
Also note that we have updated the product pictures at EVGA.com (opens in new tab) to reflect the production components that shipped to gamers and enthusiasts since day 1 of product launch.
Once you receive the card you can compare for yourself, EVGA stands behind its products!
“In response to the recent reports speculating that the use of POSCAP capacitors on the GeForce RTX 3080/3090 graphics cards could lead to stability issues and crashes, we would like to clarify the issue with the following statement:
“It is false that POSCAP capacitors independently could cause a hardware crash. Whether a graphics card is stable or not requires a comprehensive evaluation of the overall circuit and power delivery design, not just the difference in capacitor types. POSCAPs and MLCCs have different characteristics and uses, thus it is not true to assert that one capacitor type is better than the other.
“The GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 30 graphics cards are designed in accordance with NVIDIA specifications, and have passed all required testing, thus the product quality is guaranteed. GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3080/3090 GAMING OC and EAGLE OC series graphics cards use high-quality, low-ESR 470uF SP-CAP capacitors, which meet the specifications set by NVIDIA and provide a total capacity of 2820u in terms of GPU core power, higher than the industry’s average. The cost of SP-CAP capacitors is not lower than that of MLCCs. GIGABYTE values product integrity highly and definitely does not reduce costs by using cheap materials.
“NVIDIA has released a driver (version 456.55) on September 29, 2020 that improves stability. Users are advised to update to the latest driver for optimized performance. For users who encounter power-related issues with GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards, GIGABYTE will provide product replacement, free of charge.
“GIGABYTE has been constantly improving and optimizing product quality, especially in terms of thermal designs, to provide the best gaming experience to the consumers for decades. For the latest AORUS GeForce RTX 30 graphics card series, we have also paid extra attention to the cooling performance and introduced industry-leading solutions such as MAX-Covered Cooling to ensure that the operation of each component is stable.”
|Model||Nvidia RTX 3080 / 3090 Reference Design||Gigabyte RTX 3080 / 3090 Gaming OC and Eagle OC|
|GPU Core Power||SP-CAP 220u/9m OHM *5 MLCC 22u *10||SP-CAP 470u/6m OHM *6|
|Total Capacity (U)||1320u||2820u|
About the SP-CAP capacitors and MLCC capacitors of GALAXY RTX 3080/3090 products.
Dear player friends: Hello, everyone. Recently, many users have come to inquire about the specific usage of the capacitors on the back of the GALAXY RTX 3080/3090 series of graphics chips. After verification, about the RTX 3080/3090 that has been released by GALAXY. The capacitors used on the back of the model chip are as follows:
1. GALAXY RTX 3080 Heijiang/Metal Master product, the number of SP-CAP capacitors on the back of the chip: 5, the number of MLCC capacitors: a set of 10. This version is currently on sale and is the original commercial version.
2. GALAXY RTX 3090 General/Metal Master product, the number of SP-CAP capacitors on the back of the chip: 4, the number of MLCC capacitors: two groups of 20. This version is currently on sale and is the original commercial version.
3. GALAX RTX 3090 GAMER trial production samples, currently only 6 pieces are in the hands of the media and KOL. The first batch of this sample uses 6 SP-CAP capacitors. After confirmation, the GAMER products officially produced and sold will be used for capacitor materials. Make optimization improvements. Note: This product is not currently on sale.
I am very grateful to the players and friends for their support and love to GALAXY. GALAXY is also consistent in its pursuit of product quality. It is our glorious mission to provide you with better and stronger hardware. In addition, the current full range of GALAXY graphics card products support three-year warranty and personal warranty service. If you have other doubts or questions, please feel free to leave us a message to discuss, thank you!
To all current users and prospective buyers, Please be rest assured, and we hereby declare that INNO3D/ICHILL GeForce RTX 30 Series products do not have any instability problems.
—Via PR email, posted by @aschilling
"MSI became aware of reports from customers, reviewers, and system integrators that there may be instability when GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards core clocks exceeded a certain amount. The latest GeForce driver (456.55) includes fixes for the issue. As such, MSI recommends owners of GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards update to the latest driver release which can be downloaded from the NVIDIA GeForce website (opens in new tab).
MSI stands behind its design decisions for its GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards catalog which consists of GAMING models and VENTUS models. MSI utilizes a mixed capacitor grouping in its designs to benefit from the strengths of both SP-Caps and MLCCs. All MSI GeForce RTX 30 Series cards that have shipped out since the beginning of production, which include media review samples, feature the PCB configurations as shown in the updated images below.
MSI would like to express its appreciation to customers, reviewers, and system integrators that raised awareness to the issue, and to NVIDIA for the cooperation in quickly resolving the problem.
Image 2. Product image of GeForce RTX 3090 GAMING TRIO series that have shipped out since the beginning of production
Image 3. Product image of GeForce RTX 3090 VENTUS 3X series that have shipped out since the beginning of production
Image 4. Product image of GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING TRIO series that have shipped out since the beginning of production
Image 5. Product image of GeForce RTX 3080 VENTUS 3X series that have shipped out since the beginning of production
What you said is recognized by both us and the head office.
We have been informed that we are aware of the current situation and are working with NVIDIA on a solution.
If a countermeasure is available, we will notify you through a notice immediately.
We apologize for any concerns.
—Posted via tagtag.co.kr (Zotac Korea)