A hot potato: The RTX 3080/3090 crashing issues that are likely related to the type of capacitors used on the cards have seen MSI stealthily change the design of its RTX 3080 products. Several vendors have given statements regarding the situation, though MSI has remained silent.
For those who don’t know, we’ve seen numerous reports of factory overclocked aftermarket RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards suffering from crashes and stability issues when they reach or exceed 2.0 GHz. It’s thought that the problem is due to the capacitors found on the rear of the PCB underneath the GPU.
The cards can use two types of capacitors, or a mix of both: the large-area POSCAPs (Conductive Polymer Tantalum Solid Capacitors), which operate better at higher temperatures but aren’t as good at high frequencies; and MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitor), which have high current, voltage, and temperature ratings, operate better at higher frequencies, but are prone to cracking.
The issues come when cards use all-POSCAP (or SP-CAPS) designs. EVGA confirmed that problems arose during QC testing when it used an all-POSCAP design, prompting a change to a mixed solution.
As spotted by VideoCardz, MSI has also altered the design of its GeForce RTX 3080 models. The GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio originally used five POSCAPS with one MLCC array, but renders on the company’s website show it now has four POSCAPS with two MLCC arrays. The GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 3X has also changed, with the previous six-POSCAP design changed to five combined with two MLCC arrays.
Several companies, including Nvidia, have responded to reports of the RTX 30-series crashes (via Tom’s Hardware). Team green said: “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.” PCWorld reports that the driver does fix the issues, but does so by slightly limiting the maximum GPU Boost clock speed.
Inno3D is confident that its products don’t suffer from any issues: “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.”
Zotac says it is working on a solution: “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.”
Galax gave an extensive statement. It’s been machine-translated from Weibo, as you can probably tell:
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.