NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080 & A6000 GPUs might be susceptible to “vapor chamber cracking”, revealing an unusual blue substance inside the cooler.
NVIDIA’s Older Ampere GPUs May Be Vulnerable to Vapor Chamber Cracking But It’s a Very Rare Occurrence
The information was revealed by the South Korean media outlet QuasarZone, which initially disclosed the problem while investigating high temperatures at certain spots of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition and RTX A6000 Workstation GPUs. While digging into the problem, the technician discovered a “breakthrough” in the vapor chamber that was due to a chemical reaction from “traces” of copper.
Moreover, the high temperatures were also attributed to the failure of the “liquid metal stopper” as well, which became a primary reason for a chemical reaction to take place within the heatsink. The technician replaced the shroud of NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 FE, thinking of it as the problem, but this wasn’t the case.
QuasarZone reports that another NVIDIA RTX A6000 workstation GPU was brought in to investigate “high temperatures”, and upon deep-diving, a “hole” in the vapor chamber was found similar to the one in the RTX 3080 FE. To end the rising doubts, the technician decided to split the heatsink of the RTX 3080 FE, which revealed a relatively “weird” blue substance, residing alongside the ripped-out copper parts.
This substance is an oxidized form of copper, which is why it exhibits a blue color. The reason for its existence in the first place is the humid conditions within the vapor chamber, which makes the oxidizing process easier to occur.
Now, the reason why the GPUs were experiencing high temperatures in the first place is due to the fact that when the vapor chamber is exposed through a hole, the changes in internal pressure disrupt the flow of heat in the system, which results in temperatures exceeding the 100°C mark in some cases. This is a very rare occurrence since these cards are mostly over three years old and if it was widespread, we would’ve heard more similar incidents. Plus, it is also mentioned that both of these GPUs had their heatsinks removed and had TIM applied on several occasions so they’ve been through a lot.
Owners of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition and RTX A6000 workstation GPUs should not worry too much about this happening to their cards unless or until they are experiencing over-heating problems. Even then, it’s mostly worn-out thermal pads or old TIM that can fix most of the overheating issues on old cards with the appearance of cracks being a very rare instance.
News Source: QuasarZone