We’ve been following the “cablegate” controversy surrounding Nvidia’s new RTX 4090 graphics card closely, and in a new development of this ongoing saga, one consumer has filed a class action lawsuit against the GPU manufacturer.
Lucas Genova, the plaintiff, originally filed the lawsuit in a California court on November 11. Our good friends from Tom’s gear (opens in a new tab) I noticed a report in the aggregator of court proceedings records justia (opens in a new tab)and from the update we can see that on November 15 an official call was sent to Nvidia.
If you haven’t been following this controversy, we’ve posted a detailed explanation, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll summarize it here. In short, the “12VHPWR” 16-pin power supply, used to connect the RTX 4090 to an ATX 2.0 power supply, contains an unknown fault that can cause the adapter to reach high temperatures, posing an imminent safety risk, in particular fire, as well as the risk of damage to the high GPU class.
AND Megathread on Reddit (opens in a new tab) tracks reported cable meltdowns, with the first Founders Edition RTX 4090 suffering a fatal glitch just this week. At the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases stands at 26 (with six unconfirmed cases). The megathread is expected to be presented as evidence in an upcoming trial.
Analysis: Nvidia is really in trouble right now
In the class-action lawsuit, Genova alleges that Nvidia sold GPUs that had “faulty and unsafe power cord plugs and receptacles, rendering consumer cards inoperable and posing a serious electrical and fire hazard to any buyer.”
That’s a bold statement that we don’t necessarily agree with, but it’s safe to say that the “everyone and everyone” part is a tad hyperbolic. in recent Video about Nexus players on YouTube it was claimed that an Nvidia partner put the 12VHPWR adapter failure rate at 0.05-0.1% – in other words, an average of one in 1500 RTX 4090 cards.
So if you’ve been lucky enough to get your hands on the world’s most powerful GPU, don’t panic right away: while the exact cause of the glitch is still to be determined, it seems that inserting the adapter correctly and using a small amount of dielectric grease should prevent the card from catching fire. Power supply expert JonnyGuru explained this in his recent blog post (opens in a new tab) regarding the case.
Still, it looks like Lucas Genova isn’t convinced. He claims to have “experience in installing computer components such as video cards”, presumably to prevent Nvidia’s immediate response to “user error”. His lawsuit accuses Team Green of a litany of crimes including unjust enrichment, breach of warranty and even fraud.
Since this is a class action lawsuit, there’s the possibility that other interested parties will join the original plaintiff, meaning this case could quickly blow up in Nvidia’s face. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this situation, and hopefully Nvidia will too, but so far the GPU giant’s official line remains that we’re “continuing to investigate reports”, with no further updates.