Notebookcheck

Low-quality capacitors could be the cause of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 crashes

Zotac's GAMING GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity uses POSCAP capacitors, which are lower quality than the MLCC capacitors used by Nvidia and a few other OEMs. This may cause problems when overclocking. (All images via Igor's Lab)
Zotac's GAMING GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity uses POSCAP capacitors, which are lower quality than the MLCC capacitors used by Nvidia and a few other OEMs. This may cause problems when overclocking. (All images via Igor's Lab)
It's no secret that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 seems to have trouble with stable overclocks. The fly in the ointment could be the use of low-quality capacitors, as discovered by Igor's Lab. Some AIB cards use cheaper and less effective capacitors, which inhibits the delivery of clean power to the GPU, possibly resulting in a crash.

Multiple outlets have claimed that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 tends to crash when overclocked to 2.0 GHz or beyond, as we reported earlier this week. The culprit may be low-quality components used in RTX 3080 cards made by AIB (add-in board) partners.

This news comes from Igor’s Lab, which found that some versions of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 use low-quality capacitors on the PCB of the card, resulting in low-quality power delivery. Igor’s Lab found that some AIB RTX 3080 cards (in particular the Zotac Trinity) use POSCAPS (Conductive Polymer Tantalum Solid Capacitors) instead of the more expensive and generally better MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitors).

The RTX 3080’s reference board design allows for either flavor of capacitor, but POSCAPs cannot deliver clean power to the GPU as well as MLCCs can.

Comparing Zotac’s board design against Nvidia’s own Founder’s Edition (FE) variant, the Zotac card uses six POSCAPs while the FE card uses four POSCAPs and two MLCC clusters. As a result, Igor’s Lab reports that the Zotac card crashes when overclocked to 2.01 GHz, while the FE can overclock “very clearly beyond 2 GHz.”

Other AIB RTX 3080s appeared in the report, including MSI’s Gaming X Trio, which uses five POSCAPs and one MLCC, and the Asus TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080, which uses only MLCCs in all six spots. (This might explain why Asus' RTX 3080s have performed well.)

While OEMs and Nvidia have been mum on the issue, EVGA notified its forum users that it encountered problems when using six POSCAPs in their design. Some of these six POSCAP cards ended up with reviewers, but EVGA revamped the board layout to use four POSCAPs and two MLCC clusters, which caused a retail delay.

While this should still be considered a rumor until Nvidia or another OEM confirms that capacitor quality is the reason behind the overclock crashes, it’s something to keep an eye on. If you’re thinking of buying an RTX 3080, it’s worth a quick look to see what kind of capacitors it uses before finalizing the purchase.

Zotac GAMING GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity - six POSCAPs.
Zotac GAMING GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity - six POSCAPs.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founder's Edition - four POSCAPs, two MLCC clusters.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founder's Edition - four POSCAPs, two MLCC clusters.
Asus TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 - six MLCC clusters.
Asus TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 - six MLCC clusters.
 
Read all 18 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > Low-quality capacitors could be the cause of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 crashes
Sam Medley, 2020-09-27 (Update: 2020-09-27)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.