Nvidia settles RTX 30 series capacitor controversy

The release of the RTX 30 series graphics cards brought with it some issues for users. Factory overclocked aftermarket RTX 3080s and 3090s were causing crashes when reaching 2.0GHz speeds, which was thought to be due to capacitors under the PCB of the cards. There are two different types of capacitors that can be used in the cards or a mix of both, large-area POSCAPs (Conductive Polymer Tantalum Solid Capacitors) which run better at high temperatures but don’t run as well at high frequencies, and MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitor), which are higher rated in voltage, current and  temperature and run better at higher frequencies but have the tenancy to crack.

Nvidia and the card makers have addressed the issue saying, “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.”

The driver fixes the issues by marginally lowering the boost clock speeds byt 1-1.5% which is enough to stop the issue from happening without affecting performance. Card manufacturing companies have released statements addressing the issue to put prospective buyer’s minds at ease.

MSI said “MSI became aware of reports from customers, reviewers, and system integrators that there may be instability when GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards core clocks exceeded a certain amount. The latest GeForce driver (456.55) includes fixes for the issue. As such, MSI recommends owners of GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards update to the latest driver release which can be downloaded from the NVIDIA GeForce website. MSI stands behind its design decisions for its GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards catalog which consists of GAMING models and VENTUS models. MSI utilizes a mixed capacitor grouping in its designs to benefit from the strengths of both SP-Caps and MLCCs.”

Asus said on instagram that “”All retail ROG Strix and TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards use only MLCC capacitors for decoupling close to the GPU. During development, we discovered the improvement this makes to RTX 3090 and 3080 overclocking headroom, so we made specification changes before we started shipping cards to reviewers and customers. Please note that some of the product images used on retail sites and our product pages were from early development samples, so are not final. All images will be updated soon. Please bear with us!”

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