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