We have been following up on the saga of RTX 2080 Ti founder edition cards that are failing users galore. Since we first reported issues, many more have been discovered.
Given the card is $1200, not that many are sold and to have the Nvidia forum now up to 9 pages of disgruntled users suggests there is a problem.
Nvidia is working with their RMA system to help users get a working card. So far the backlog is not very appealing. More dead cards are arriving than Nvidia can get from manufacturing.
EVGA, MSI and other card manufacturers are now slowly ramping up distribution of the RTX 2080, 2070 and eventually other models of the series. We are checking various forums to see if there are issues outside of the founders edition issues.
MSI users have posted a few problems so far. EVGA is more active and most are concerned with performance which suggests drivers or Windows issues. The EVGA PX1 software has been criticised as flakey. Hardforum users: 12% reported dead cards.
Some reports of replacement cards failing must be very frustrating to users. PCI Express slots are not designed to install and remove cards very much. The slots are intended for set it and forget it
Some with marginal power supplies are finding new higher rated ones work to resolve problems. We have often ranted over inadequate power supplies.
We suggest reset Windows may relieve some problems.
Some posts expressed concern over VRAM heat.
While the MSI RTX 2080 Ti has more distance from the VRAM and regulators there is no material difference in the operating temperatures of the regulators or the VRAM. Some posts have noticed Nvidia has changed from Micron GDDR6 to Samsung GDDR6 and replacement cards have worked so far.
Recent video posted on Youtube suggest the artifacting is more related to the game engine than a failed VRAM chip.
We should point out that we have had our fair share of burned out video cards. The EVGA GTX 260 SC above had a bad VRAM chip thanks to 196.75 WHQL. This card was repaired by resoldering the faulty chips successfully. We then reassembled the card using Arctic MX-4 and the card worked perfectly in SLI for several years before it was replaced with the EVGA GTX 660 Ti.
PICK & PLACE
Video cards are made with standard pick and place assembly lines. Parts are pulled off reels and placed on boards in the pattern desired.
Surface mounted parts are soldered differently compared to through hole parts. BGA soldering has to be X-ray inspected. Usually the rosin used with surface mount parts is reliable.
Once a card is done it is tested to be sure it works before the fan assembly is attached. The board is inspected carefully for thermal faults. Once tested the fan assembly is attached and the card is then tested again.
Many cards failed quickly upon installation suggesting there are some problems with design or manufacture that did not get caught with the standard inspection. We suspect Nvidia is looking at the problems carefully and fixing any faults they can find. If the ASIC is faulty, Nvidia may need to make a new stepping mask set.
We have notices some users with old CPUs have been experiencing bottlenecking problems. The RTX 2080 and Ti should be OK with a modern 4/8 core CPU running at at least 4 Ghz with lots of RAM for the shadow buffer. AMD Ryzen R7 2000 series and Intel i7 series are better suited.