EVGA has seemingly confirmed that issues with a certain type of capacitor are the source of an increasing number of reports of crashes associated with factory-overclocked Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards.
These capacitors were cited in a recent article by Igor’s Lab as the probable source of the issues that have spawned complaints in enthusiast forums and Reddit about unexplained RTX 3080 crashes.
EVGA’s statement, which comes in the form of a forum post, cites its own issues with the capacitors in its designs, and all but confirms that capacitors could play a role in the recent reports that capacitors are to blame:
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 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!
Reports began circulating earlier this week that some of Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 cards were crashing during gaming sessions, and the stability issues have largely been observed during times that certain third-party graphics cards reached or exceeded 2.0 GHz. Notably, that’s the factory-overclocked range of most third-party RTX 3080’s. Manually downclocking the impacted cards by ~100MHz has seemed to remedy the RTX 3080 black screen, but this is based on anecdotal evidence.
Nvidia’s own RTX 3080 FE models, which only reach 1.71 GHz, aren’t impacted by the crashes.
Igor’s Lab notes that Nvidia’s RTX 3080 FE cards don’t use as many POSCAP capacitors, instead bundling them with higher-quality MLCC capacitors – and those cards don’t suffer from the crashes and black-screening issues. In contrast, custom cards that use all-POSCAP implementations seem to suffer from the issue more widely.
EVGA’s statement above acknowledges that its own cards weren’t stable with the all-POSCAP solution, all but confirming that the capacitors could play a role in crashes. In fact, EVGA says the all-POSCAP designs couldn’t pass its own internal testing, so the company went with a mixed POSCAP and MLCC design, which solved the issues, albeit at the cost of a delayed launch.
We do need to exercise caution, though. There is still the outside chance that this issue isn’t entirely related to capacitors – Nvidia’s Ampere cards have ratcheted up power supply requirements, and drivers are still in the early stages of widespread use. As such, capacitor-induced crashes might not be responsible for all crashing issues.
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 slightly higher failure rate). Nvidia provides manufacturing recommendations to its AIB partners, and it is unlikely that it would have passed design rules to partners that would result in widespread failures.
For reference, there are lists of third-party (AIB) graphics cards (compiled by reddit /user/Roseking/) and their capacitor arrangements available online. Be sure to check the reddit post for further updates to the list.
In the meantime, be sure to head to Igor’s article over at Igor’s Lab for the deep-dive details about the capacitor issues. We reached out to Nvidia on the matter earlier this week, and the company has yet to acknowledge the crashing issues or provide a statement.