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Updated GTX590 BIOS rushed out to repair reputation

KitGuru spies have uncovered the reason behind all of the recent commotion at NV headquarters. It seems that the stories being reported by customers on sites like Overclockers.co.uk mean that the “It is an old driver issue” statement might be binned in favour of something more substantial. KitGuru applauds nVidia's move.

Ever since SweClockers ran a video of nVidia's GTX590 card exploding in the lab, the world + dog has been waiting to see if this is a one off – or something indicative of a more serious issue. Interesting to see that in the day or two after the explosion, the view count was less than 10,000 – but it is now over 300,000. SweClockers ad sales team must have made an alter to nVidia and be thanking their personal gods that the cameras were switched on at the right moment.

Hard to see in this still, but there are 3 small columns of smoke floating up from the card in the full video. Worth looking at - click the pic to see

At the end of last week, nVidia was telling the UK channel that – 100% – the exploding card issue only affected products that were being over-volted and being used in conjunction with an older driver that was not meant to be used.

In nVidia's own words…

“A few press reports on GTX 590 boards dying were caused by unsafe overvoltaging (as high as 1.2V vs. default voltage of 0.91 to 0.96V), & using older drivers that have less overcurrent protection.  Rest assured that GTX 590 operates reliably at default voltages, and our 267.84 launch drivers provide additional levels of protection. See our knowledge base for more info (http://nvidia.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/nvidia.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2947)”

Initially, it was believed that almost no one would be affected. However, the latest stories from customers on Overclockers seems to indicate that the issue could be more widespread than first thought.

Greg Brown shares his pain on Overclockers

The jury is out and – in all honesty – with the speed of development, it may never return.

What do we mean by speed of development?

Well, nVidia's engineering squad have just completed work on a BIOS that is intended to prevent future GTX590 explosions.

We will be watching nVidia to find out when it might be available and will let you know. It would be nice to get a clarification from nVidia about which customers could be affected by the ‘exploding card problem' and whether it is necessary for all customers to update their BIOSes.

nVidia has also said that additional warranty problems relating to exploding GTX590 cards will be dealt with by the manufacturer who shipped you the card, rather than by nVidia itself. So the returns policy should be ‘Back to your local store, as per normal'.

nVidia has yet to make a statement regarding customers who want to return GTX590 cards because they are scared that there are safety issues. It's a little bit of a grey area, so some clarification would be nice.

KitGuru says: Great move by nVidia to hard-code a solution into the BIOS. No one wants to see £600 cards exploding – even if there is an RMA process in place. Prevention is definitely better than cure. We will watch this closely and report back on developments.

Comments below or in the KitGuru forum.

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  1. well at least they arent ignoring it. guess its hard to ignore videos of cards dying.

  2. The card seems to have been rushed to release imo to try and compete with 6990. it hasnt really worked on a variety of levels

  3. the card has rushed written all over it, starting from the clock speeds and continuing with these issues. Imho nividia are screwing up badly and they haven’t even managed to beat the 6990, so the rush was in vain.

  4. No big surprise that they can blow up at stock as well. The sweclockers card was only overvolted to 1.025V after all. Really lousy vrm design from nvidia. The reference gtx 570 has had some problems with the vrms as well, but nothing like as bad as this …

  5. Yep, its the quality of the VRM’s. They are using poor quality components, there are threads about it on some forums with some people who really know what they are talking about highlighting the problems.

  6. Nvidia needs to provide datasheets for the generic ICs used in the GTX590’s VRMs. If they truly cared about their customers they would jump at the chance to help modders fix their mistakes, and let people know just how close they are to the edge of the card’s capabilities. Maybe some of the more savvy community could offer to upgrade the VRMs on the GTX590, for a fee. For a $700 card it might be worth it.

    But of course Nvidia has never believed in full disclosure…

  7. You guys are a bunch of nerds. I swear. Rush out to beat the 6990? blow up on stock? Please. First of all, maybe if people wouldn’t OC cards to began with, they wouldn’t have any problems. Second, the card blew up ” read slightly ” only because they was OC. And last, someone mention low core clock? And? The card is already powerful enough, Nvidia knows what they are doing. The card can run at 50-60 frames at one of the highest resolutions at extreme settings with no problems at all. 600 core clock doesn’t mean anything. Stop sucking on with AMD. Support both brands.

  8. U2K, i’ll support a company whose product has most overclocking headroom and (more importantly) won’t blow its VRMs when applying the slightest additional voltage to it.

    I’ll guarantee i’m not in the minority of people who read and participate on enthusiast hardware sites. Just look at the poll above.

  9. You obviously don’t know a thing about technology and design (probably another victim of marketing)… anyway – it is a rule of thumb, when you design a reliable product – its components MUST NOT BE PUSHED TO THE LIMITS. It must have 15 to 20% margin of safety. That’s where overclocking initially comes from. Card is manufactured with a safety margin and then the user can push it to the limit, when product operation becomes not so reliable. BUT THE PRODUCT MUST SUSTAIN UP TO 15% INCREASE OF IT’S SAFE WORKING PARAMETERS. If it doesn’t than the product is not reliable. I would call it even BROKEN, because if there is no safety margin to begin with – it surely will fail when operating at initial “safe” parameters in case of unexpected event, that designers haven’t thought of. This kind of events happen all the time and with no safe margin – your card is fried. And that’s exactly what we see here with GTX590 on multiple hardware forums – cards at stock are becoming bricks for 700$.

  10. ^ this comment is adressed to Overclocker

  11. Ahh, Overclocker is right, my comment #9 goes to U2K.

    PS Sorry, was in a bit of a rush. Confused the posts and authors.

  12. Purchasing a 590 was the worst decision I’ve ever made. Not only did it burn up and smoke my tower, it resulted in destroying other components in my tower as well! This is fucking pathetic and horrible!