Paranoid about melting NVIDIA power cables? ASUS RTX 4090 BTF GPU ditches the cable completely

The ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 BTF Edition doesn't have a 16-pin power connector for the PSU, but uses a PCIe high-power connector instead.

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NVIDIA's RTX 4090 had issues with melting cables that raised considerable alarm bells early in its life - gremlins that have still been reported fairly recently - so you'd be forgiven for being paranoid around this problem.

Installing a BTF card - the power connector is the smaller one on the right, of course (Image Credit: ASUS)

Installing a BTF card - the power connector is the smaller one on the right, of course (Image Credit: ASUS)

However, ASUS has come up with a solution in its new ROG Strix Lovelace flagship, albeit this comes loaded with its own caveats (more on that later).

The ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 BTF Edition doesn't have a traditional 16-pin power connector that hooks up to the power supply, and instead gets its power using a PCIe connector.

In other words, it plugs directly into the motherboard with a second slot further down the graphics card that draws the power (capable of delivering 600W for the RTX 4090 to guzzle).

This is a neat, cable-free solution, and of course sidesteps any issues with cable melting because, well, there's no cable to be frazzled. You've got no worries about how the cable might be bent, and whether it's inserted properly - and indeed whether it'll stay inserted properly over time.

Furthermore, the second connection to the motherboard helps to keep the card sturdier and better braced against the dangers of sag, which is a very real problem with hefty boards like the RTX 4090.

The main caveat is that PCIe high-power connection, which obviously needs to be present on the motherboards as well as the graphics card. Current boards don't have the necessary slot, and ASUS is making its own BTF edition motherboards which incorporate this second connector for the card.

So, you'll need to buy not just a BTF graphics card, but also a motherboard, and the other snag is that you'll need to ensure that the PC case you're using will fit in that motherboard.

ASUS notes it has partnered with various case vendors to form the BTF Alliance, which will make cases that are certified as compatible with its BTF motherboards. That includes Aerocool, Be Quiet!, Cooler Master, Corsair, Inwin, Lian Li, Phanteks, SilverStone, and Thermaltake, so you'll have options here.

Those cases will launch at some point in the first quarter of 2024, with the BTF motherboards and graphics cards presumably coming in Q1, or not long after - though sadly ASUS didn't furnish us with release dates for these components.

It's also worth noting that there's an ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4070 Ti Super BTF White Edition in the pipeline, one of the new refreshed graphics cards NVIDIA just announced.

As we mentioned at the outset, problems with NVIDIA's melting power connector pertaining to RTX 4090 graphics cards have been reported fairly recently, indeed there was an incident in October 2023 that turned up on Reddit.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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