Two days ago, Reddit user kamaloo92 discovered why his ASUS RTX 3080 Ti TUF OC was running extremely hotter than normal.
Owner of ASUS’s GeForce RTX 3080 Ti TUF OC Graphics Card Found Entire GDDR6X Thermal Pad Missing
The user found that one side of the plate covering the VRAM to maintain proper temperatures was missing the thermal pads. This was after he was trying to determine that even after all hardware and software troubleshooting was completed, they were still unable to determine why the VRAM temperatures were extremely high. So, like any computer user that is comfortable dismantling parts of their computer, kamaloo92 took apart the ASUS graphics card and found that the thermal tape was missing on one side.
“My RTX 3080 Ti had very high VRAM temperature – Tj almost always 110°C no matter what i [tried]. So i finally opened it up to find missing thermal pad on four VRAM chips.”
“There are some markings on heat spreader like pad was here for a few seconds, but the VRAM chips are clean. So I assume thermal pad somehow fall before putting heat spreader on PCB.”
“It was working normally. No reboots whatsoever, just constant thermal throttling.”
They later were asked what they used for the replacement thermal pads. It is not an uncommon practice for experienced users to replace thermal pads for better performance and heat dissipation, especially when they feel the stock padding is not adequate enough.
“I’ve added missing pad and changed existing ones – just to be safe. I have also added additional pad as recommended for 3080 TUF (non Ti) and VRAM temps dropped to max 80°C. So I hope it will be good.”
“Just in case, I’ve used Gelid GP-Extreme. 1.5mm for VRAM to heat spreader 1.5mm for VRM on the video connectors end 3mm for heat spreader to main heatsink 3mm for VRM on the power connector end I haven’t removed backplate so I don’t know what’s there. On GPU I’ve used Kryonaut. All measurements were done with calipers.”
“I have heated my card for few minutes in game – this should allow pads to give easier.”
In the same r/nvidia Reddit forum, seven days ago user obamaprism3 discovered a defect with the paste that was supposed to only cover the VRAM, but was also covering the die on the GPU, causing issues with overheating on their 3080 FE GPU:
Over the last several months, we have seen pictures of factory defects and foreign objects found in certain hardware. What was interesting was that some users on Reddit pointed out how that due to the pandemic, employees were being stressed due to lack of additional help on assembly lines, or possibly less-experienced workers having to be added to businesses to adjust for the lack of employees. Granted, it is speculation due to not knowing all the facts from any of the manufacturers, but it is interesting reasoning why more cases of defects are coming to light, especially in the GPU market.