Burned RTX 4090 brought back from the dead — PCIe repair job resurrects GPU that suffered power connector meltdown

A fixed RTX 4090 graphics card.
(Image credit: Northwest Repair)

Although burn damage is often fatal for computer parts, especially in areas like the PCIe connector, PC repair shop Northwest Repair revived a burned RTX 4090. Part of the 4090's PCIe connector was burned, rendering it inoperable, but Northwest Repair fixed it by cutting off the damaged portion and replacing it.

Northwest Repair worked on an RTX 4090 with burn damage that would have realistically made the GPU a total paperweight. Five PCIe pins used for 12-volt power delivery were toast, and they are absolutely necessary for any GPU to function. Even Northwest Repair said it wasn't sure it could fix the graphics card since it was in such a bad state; that's saying something, considering it fixed an RTX 3090 with liquid metal damage last week.

The repair started by cutting off all of the burned parts of the board, including the PCIe pins. Though this left the GPU lacking five crucial PCIe pins, it did resolve the shorting issue that the GPU exhibited before the amputation. Eliminating the short meant the remaining electrical connections were working fine, and while the 12-volt pins were gone, Northwest Repair was able to manually wire the connection to see if the GPU would at least turn on, and it did just fine.

However, without a full array of PCIe pins, the 4090 wouldn't be able to draw power from the PCIe slot, preventing it from working normally. While the original pins were long gone, Northwest Repair was able to cut off the same pins from a donor board and attach them to the 4090 using epoxy and solder. He used regular copper wiring to connect the salvaged PCIe pins to the 4090, which repairers typically use when the traces on the board aren't an option.

While Northwest Repair didn't show how the resurrected RTX 4090 performed in a stress test after being reassembled, it did at least verify that power was being drawn from the PCIe slot, proving that the repair worked partially at minimum. It's unclear how long this 4090 will live, but that it works at all after such severe damage is remarkable.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.