Black Screens, Be Gone: RTX 4090 and 4080 Get Fix via Firmware Update Tool

RTX 4090 Founders Edition
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia has released a new GPU firmware update utility for RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 - Nvidia's best graphics cards, that fixes certain compatibility problems on some motherboard UEFIs (BIOS) when starting the system. However, the update is only necessary on affected systems; for unaffected systems, the update is fully unnecessary and won't install.

The firmware updater specifically fixes black/blank screens from occurring during the bootup process. This condition prevents users from accessing the BIOS screen on their machine or seeing any images on the screen until the operating system loads with the proper GPU drivers.

As a result, this only affects the bootup processes; once you're inside Windows (or any other OS), the problem disappears.

According to Nvidia, the GPU firmware update tool will detect whether or not the firmware update is required. If it sees the system has an affected motherboard BIOS, it will install a new firmware update; if not, the firmware update will not install and instead give the user the option to update it manually if necessary. 

Thankfully Nvidia says only certain motherboards with UEFI are affected, so the problem is likely rare and won't happen to many users. It also means all motherboards predating UEFI will work fine. This fact can also be advantageous to UEFI motherboards, as it allows users to utilize the compatibility or legacy mode in the UEFI to get the card working in an emergency.

Again, only Nvidia's RTX 4090 and 4080 GPUs are affected and need the update; all RTX 30 series GPUs and older are fine. We don't know if future RTX 40-series GPUs (RTX 4070 Ti, RTX 4060, etc.) will also be affected, but you can expect Nvidia to update the GPU UEFI firmware update tool if the problem does expand to more GPUs down the line.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • trajan
    Thanks so much for posting this. I had no idea it was an issue. I just recently completed a build on Asus Formula Z690 with the RTX 4090. Everything worked fine for a few days but I ran into this exact issue last night when I was starting to move data over, hook backup drives up etc. and needed to get into the BIOS again. Hopefully this patch will fix it.

    For anyone else with the issue, weirdly I discovered that switching from an HDMI connection to DisplayPort seemed to resolve things for me, as a short-term fix.
  • -Fran-
    Fake news! The nVidia die-hard fans always say their drivers (firmware included) are just like magic and never fail!

    Probably user error, plugging the card backwards or something!

    Do I need the "sarcasm" tag?

    In any case, good they fixed it. Buying one of these and not booting must be one hell of a scare XD

  • TechieTwo
    Asrock discovered the RTX40 issue a couple weeks ago and did a BIOS update to resolve the issue. Other mobo makers are bound to follow. It's an RTX40 issue not really a mobo or BIOS issue.