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RTX 3080 Crash to Desktop Problems Likely Connected to AIB-Designed Capacitor Choice

Igor's Lab has posted an interesting investigative article where he advances a possible reason for the recent crash to desktop problems for RTX 3080 owners. For one, Igor mentions how the launch timings were much tighter than usual, with NVIDIA AIB partners having much less time than would be adequate to prepare and thoroughly test their designs. One of the reasons this apparently happened was that NVIDIA released the compatible driver stack much later than usual for AIB partners; this meant that their actual testing and QA for produced RTX 3080 graphics cards was mostly limited to power on and voltage stability testing, other than actual gaming/graphics workload testing, which might have allowed for some less-than-stellar chip samples to be employed on some of the companies' OC products (which, with higher operating frequencies and consequent broadband frequency mixtures, hit the apparent 2 GHz frequency wall that produces the crash to desktop).

Another reason for this, according to Igor, is the actual "reference board" PG132 design, which is used as a reference, "Base Design" for partners to architecture their custom cards around. The thing here is that apparently NVIDIA's BOM left open choices in terms of power cleanup and regulation in the mounted capacitors. The Base Design features six mandatory capacitors for filtering high frequencies on the voltage rails (NVVDD and MSVDD). There are a number of choices for capacitors to be installed here, with varying levels of capability. POSCAPs (Conductive Polymer Tantalum Solid Capacitors) are generally worse than SP-CAPs (Conductive Polymer-Aluminium-Electrolytic-Capacitors) which are superseded in quality by MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitor, which have to be deployed in groups). Below is the circuitry arrangement employed below the BGA array where NVIDIA's GA-102 chip is seated, which corresponds to the central area on the back of the PCB.

AMD Issues Official Statement on RX Vega 64 Pricing Woes

Update: Related to this story, feast your eyes on Newegg's deal of the day, with a reference, standard Sapphire RX Vega 64 for $689.99 with two "free" games. I don't think I've ever seen such a conturbated launch as this. Also, considering the scope and content of the article, I will be updating the tag for this piece as an Editorial.

There has been somewhat of an uproar in recent times regarding AMD's lack of clarity on pricing of their newly-launched Vega 64. While AMD themselves told reviewers and consumers that their RX Vega graphics cards would be available for $399 (Vega 56) and $499 (Vega 64), recent events have, at the very least, cast some doubts on Vega's supposedly clean-cut pricing. Some popular reviewers and YouTubers have even gone so far as to say they won't be accepting any more samples from AMD due to a perceived slight at the erroneous information provided by the company; when someone reviews and analyses a product based on a fixed price-point advanced by a company, and then that pricing seems to have turned out nothing more than smoke and mirrors... People's work is put out the window.

Now, AMD has come out to put rumors of false Vega pricing announcements to rest. Except the skeptic in me remains, well... skeptic. Here's what AMD has said: "Radeon RX Vega 64 demand continues to exceed expectations. AMD is working closely with its partners to address this demand. Our initial launch quantities included standalone Radeon RX Vega 64 at SEP of $499, Radeon RX Vega 64 Black Packs at SEP of $599, and Radeon RX Vega 64 Aqua Packs at SEP of $699. We are working with our partners to restock all SKUs of Radeon RX Vega 64 including the standalone cards and Gamer Packs over the next few weeks, and you should expect quantities of Vega to start arriving in the coming days."

AMD AIB Partners' RX Vega Manufacturing, BIOS Release Schedule Leaked

Disclaimer things first: take this with a grain of salt, since this hasn't seen the amount of confirmations we'd like. 3D Center has come out with a table that supposedly demonstrates the schedule of RX Vega manufacturing and integration work from AMD's add-in-board partners (which includes the likes of Sapphire, XFX, PowerColor, and others.) Remember that manufacturers receive a suggested reference design from AMD as to how to incorporate their GPUs into an actually operable graphics card, with varying degrees of customization according to the particular partner we're talking about. And this process takes time.

According to the leaked schedule, the BOM (Bill Of Materials) for the required parts to properly manufacture an RX Vega graphics card was to be released sometime in June, with engineering validation tests going through the end of June towards the beginning of this month (July.) Actual working samples from AIB partners are scheduled to be available in the middle of this month, with product validation tests (PVT) stretching towards the beginning of August (you'll remember AMD has confirmed they'll be formally announcing the RX Vega graphics card(s) at SIGGRAPH 2017, which stretches through July 30th and August 3rd.)
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