There have been more and more reports circulating around the internet over the last few days reporting that a wide range of Nvidia RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards are experiencing crashes to desktop while gaming. A investigation by the igors Lab website has found that the issue may be caused by bad power delivery due to the type of capacitors some third party manufacturers have used in their production. It is theorised that when boosting past 2.0 GHz clock speeds, cards that have excluded MLCC capacitors, Multi Layer Ceramic Chip Capacitors, are more prone to crashes. Teardowns have shown that some cards in the series from third parties only use cheaper POSCAP style capacitors (Conductive Polymer Tantalum Solid Capacitors) on the back of the GPU. Nvidia's founders edition card and more high end cards use a mix of the two types of capacitors. It is being speculated that just having one MLCC capacitor out of the six capacitors on the back of the GPU can negate crashes completely.
Most third party manufacturers have not yet commented on the issue. But on their forums EVGA released the following statement which pretty much confirms the theories that have been circulating.
"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"
What does this mean for people who already have received their cards? There has been no word regarding a recall just yet. But If you are experiencing crashes a slight underclock may help. Likely some kind of BIOs upgrade to affected cards will utilise a similar fix to patch the problem, but will disappointingly slow down your cards boost clock in the process.
For those like myself who have their card on pre-order if you can confirm your chosen card has MLCC capacitors you should be relatively safe. If your card only contains POSCAP capacitors you would be better off cancelling your order, and waiting to see if this issue is fixable without underclocking or having a product recall.
Link to Igors Lab Article on the Issue
EVGA Forum Statement