We’ve covered the reports of instability across the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 product families, even cards from different manufacturers. An early theory, coined by Igor of Igor’s Lab, is that the issue could be caused by sub-par power circuitry, especially since there seemed to be evidence that the problems were concentrated in certain specific GPU families much more so than others.
Nvidia and vendors have remained very quiet about the issue to-date, but MSI has released a statement recently. It says:
MSI became aware of reports from customers, reviewers, and system integrators that there may be instability when GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards core clocks exceeded a certain amount. The latest GeForce driver (456.55) includes fixes for the issue. As such, MSI recommends owners of GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards update to the latest driver release which can be downloaded from the NVIDIA GeForce website.
MSI stands behind its design decisions for its GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards catalog which consists of GAMING models and VENTUS models. MSI utilizes a mixed capacitor grouping in its designs to benefit from the strengths of both SP-Caps and MLCCs. All MSI GeForce RTX 30 Series cards that have shipped out since the beginning of production, which include media review samples, feature the PCB configurations as shown in the updated images below.
MSI also released an image of the backs of its GPUs to prove the designs haven’t changed.
Here’s the truth of the situation as we know it today:
Nvidia launched Ampere. A lot of customers had problems with Ampere. A logical theory based on the quality of the power rail circuitry was advanced and endorsed as plausible.
Meanwhile, people discovered that lowering your GPU boost clock by ~100MHz or locking your GPU clock to a high, fixed frequency both produced more stability. This was not in tension with the first theory — a circuit that can’t quite keep up with the demand places on it at 2.1GHz might be perfectly at ease at 1.9GHz. Similarly, repeatedly switching a GPUs clock speed up and down requires much more complex power distribution compared with running things at a static clock.
After several days of speculation, Nvidia has released a new driver, 456.55, that seems to have dramatically improved the situation for most players. Games that were previously unstable at low clocks now run rock-solid at higher frequencies. There are some people still having problems after the update, but it appears to have worked for the majority of people.
We’re still going to keep an eye on this solution as it evolves, but Nvidia’s latest driver appears to resolve the issue quite effectively.