Hefty graphics cards can start to perish under their own weight, with board sag breaking components, a new report underlines.
The sag - where the card is pulled down at the back with gravity, perhaps with quite some force when it comes to larger triple-slot boards equipped with giant coolers - can actually affect the VRAM modules, according to YouTuber KrisFix (who runs a German hardware repair shop).
As you can see in the above video, the repair expert shows a damaged NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti where the memory modules, which are very close to the PCIe slot, suffer from the slight bending of the board.
KrisFix explains that this bending can result in the solder joints cracking in some cases, meaning the VRAM modules no longer have a good or reliable connection, and this can cause artifacts, random errors, and crashes to pop up sporadically.
This is apparently a "very common problem" the repair shop is seeing as time passes with 2080 Ti models, and of course, the RTX 2000 family has been available for a long time now - over four years in some cases.
Does this mean that in the future, we might see similar problems with heavyweight RTX 4000 models and RTX 3000 graphics cards? That could be a possibility if KrisFix's theories are correct.
The key point, though, is to ensure this doesn't happen by supporting your card if it's a heftier beast that appears to be a likely victim of board sag. That can be achieved using a simple bracket to support the rear of the graphics card, where it sags down and causes the board to bend slightly.
Indeed, KrisFix notes that this is something he advises those who've had their RTX 2080 Ti cards repaired to go ahead and do. Because if the rear of the card isn't propped up somehow, there's every likelihood that the fixed 2080 Ti will again become faulty and need to go back for repairs in a month or two.
So, there you have it. If you've got a giant of a graphics card nestling in that gaming PC, don't neglect to spend a little bit of money on a bracket (or maybe even 3D print one yourself) to save possible pain and frustration in the future. That goes for gargantuan AMD graphics cards, too - which are also subject to the laws of physics, naturally - although it's just the one NVIDIA model KrisFix has highlighted here.
As a final point, if you're in the market for a second-hand graphics card, and are pondering an RTX 2080 Ti, this is something to bear in mind. Not all used graphics cards are equal, and the market in general can be a bit of a minefield (other pitfalls to watch out for include ex-mining GPUs floating about).