Old driver blows up GeForce GTX 590 cards

Written by David Hing

March 25, 2011 | 14:42

Tags: #bug #driver #explode #geforce #gefore #gtx-590 #oc #overclock

Companies: #nvidia

Nvidia’s recently released GeForce GTX 590 3GB - a card that costs around £580 inc VAT - can overheat and even blow up if overclocked with an old driver.

The problem was captured on video by the guys at SweClockers, and is apparently a result of the card drawing more power when overclocked or overvolted than its power circuitry can handle.

However, the problem can only occur if you overclock or overvolt the card, and only if you use an older driver. The GeForce 267.52 driver that was originally given out to the press, and which might be available from some websites, does not activate a safety mechanism that prevents damage to the card’s power components. However, Nvidia's latest driver does feature overcurrent protection.

In a statement, Nvidia explained that ‘in the web release driver of GeForce GTX 590, we have added some important enhancements to our overcurrent protection for overclocking. We recommend anyone doing overclocking or running stress apps to always use the latest web driver to get the fullest protection for your hardware.

The company also stressed that the card is completely safe, saying that customers could 'rest assured that the GTX 590 operates reliably at default voltages.' You can see a video of the GTX 590 3GB failing below, although Nvidia claims that the damage was caused by a user overvolting the card's GPUs by as much as 1.2V; a huge increase over the default voltage of 0.91 to 0.96V.

However, Nvidia still recommends that overclockers play it safe with the voltage, even if they're using water-cooling. ‘Nvidia has worked with several water-cooling companies to develop waterblocks for GTX 590,' says the company, 'and these solutions will help provide additional margin for overclocking, but even in this case we recommend enthusiasts stay within 12.5-25mV of the default voltage in order to minimise risk.

The company also reminded us that any overclocking or overvolting can void a manufacturer's product warranty.

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