Last week a whole bunch of separate stories started piling up on a selection of Nvidia and PC subreddits, as well as the EVGA forums, about their graphics cards shutting down in a puff of chemical smoke and the occasional lick of fire. Thankfully EVGA are now sorting out a fix.
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Essentially the problem is the voltage regulation modules (VRMs) attached to their GPUs aren’t getting sufficient cooling to stop them overheating and breaking down over time. Normally the VRMs are covered in a thermal pad which transfers the heat through the heatsink with its attached fans, but EVGA chose to leave them to their own devices with the Pascal range of ACX-cooled cards.
It turns out the entire of EVGA’s GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 range of cards sporting the ACX cooling array is affected by this hot issue, and the company is now issuing a fix users will be able to put in place themselves. If you log into your EVGA account (hopefully where you registered your purchase to setup your warranty) you can request a set of 'optional' thermal pads to fit yourself.
EVGA don't really seem to be admitting fault here. Despite a large number of users coming forward with issues they’re still claiming the temperatures of both the VRMs and the memory modules are within spec tolerances. The tests performed by the lovely Igor over at Tom’s Hardware Germany showed the VRMs hitting unacceptable temperatures, but used the Furmark torture test to get things heating up to that extent.
But even little spikes in temperature can have a lasting effect on the VRMs themselves, leading to them deteriorating over time with the end result being a catastrophic failure and potentially a fizz, pop and a little curl of toxic smoke whisping up from the rear of your PC.
Under normal circumstances these cards aren’t going to be generating the temperatures necessary to kill the circuitry, but with some extreme overclocking it’s all too possible to push things far enough to create a problem. With the safeguards built into your PC though it’s unlikely to cause any further damage other than to your card itself. Small consolation though that might be...
At least EVGA are issuing a fix and are also reportedly willing to replace broken cards at no expense to the user if they are returned to EVGA themselves. But still, with the memory fracas around the GTX 970 having only just been resolved and the worries regarding Micron memory on the GTX 1070 still doing the rounds, things haven’t been smooth sailing for the green team’s graphics cards recently.