We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Your RGB lighting could be damaging your graphics card

Gamers report images of their RGB RAM being burned into their GPU backplate, with MSI Trio Nvidia RTX 3080 cards recently affected.

Gaming PC with RGB memory lighting

Your RGB memory might look bright and eye catching through your case window, but there’s a chance those dazzling lights could damage your graphics card backplate, according to several reports from PC gamers on Reddit. Two recent posts show MSI Gaming X Trio graphics cards, based on the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, where the black backplate has been turned brown in the exact location where the light from the system RAM shines on the card.

Metal backplates are found on most of the best graphics cards these days, helping to shift heat away from any memory mounted on the back of the PCB. Lots of these backplates, such as those in the MSI cards pictured, also have a black paint finish, and it looks as though the color on this finish can be bleached by certain RGB lighting.

You can see clearly in the photos below that the areas where the backplate has been bleached directly correspond with the size and shape of the ends of four memory modules. It’s not clear how this burn-in effect was created, and whether it’s down to simply heat or a specific wavelength of light, but it’s possible for RGB LEDs to emit some light in the UV band when they’re set to bright blue settings. We’ve reached out to MSI for comment to find out what could be happening here.

MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080 graphics card with RGB memory burn on backplate

Both the most recent posts reporting the damage come from users of MSI Gaming Trio GeForce RTX 3080 cards, although other users have chimed in with photos of Asus and Zotac cards that feature a similar bleaching effect on their backplates, where the black has been turned brown, so it’s not a problem faced by MSI alone.

One of the MSI users also included a second image of their system, which now contains a Gigabyte graphics card, to show the memory pattern on the backplate. The memory used in this particular system is G.Skill TridentZ RGB, but other Reddit users have commented to say they have the same memory and have experienced no backplate bleaching problems.

MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080 graphics card with RGB memory burn on backplate

MSI also claimed that these cards had “graphene” backplates, but a teardown of the card showed that they were likely to be made from a mixture of plastic and graphite, with a coating of acrylic paint. Either way, it looks as though this acrylic paint is particularly responsive to some of the light from RGB memory modules.

Thankfully, this bleaching effect is cosmetic, and won’t impact the thermal performance of your graphics card, though it might make it harder to sell if you want to upgrade in the future. If you do want to build a gaming PC with lots of lights, make sure you also read our guide on how to install RGB lighting, where we show you which lights to buy and where to put them.