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This GPU has sprung a leak!

Today’s video is a quick one from me, reaching out to the community for your opinion and thoughts on an issue I came across recently with a graphics card cooler. It's an extremely odd issue, one that I have never experienced before in over 25 years of building, modding and working with computer hardware…


00:00 Start
00:32 The problem
02:50 James to the rescue
03:06 In touch with MSI – have you had the same problem?
03:57 James test and replicating the problem

A friend of mine called me recently in a bit of a panic as his graphics card was suddenly overheating during any GPU-intensive workloads. The GPU core temperature would instantly heat up to around 85°C (100°C hotspot), the fans quickly ramped up to maximum RPM, the system would crash in games and just generally feel like there was a serious issue. So I got the card over to my workshop to take a closer look.

The card in question is an MSI RTX 2080 Ventus OC, which was purchased approximately 3 years ago so it's out of warranty. My initial thought was that a card of this age would probably be ready for a clean up and a fresh application of some good quality thermal compound. When disassembling the cooler from the card I noticed a small rough area on the cold plate direct touch heat pipe, I took a mental note of this but didn’t think too much of it at the time, did the clean up, re-paste and re-assembled the card.

With the card reassembled and back in the system, I ran some GPU intensive workloads, such as the 3DMark stress test and the Heaven benchmark, but it was quickly apparent that the clean up and a new application of thermal compound had not fixed the problem, which I thought was odd. So I proceeded to tear the card down again to check that I had not got a bad mount, check the thermal paste spread etc.

On the second disassembly of the card I was quite shocked to see that there was a small droplet of liquid on top of the GPU die and when I flipped the cooler over, there was more liquid seeping out of the rough spot on the heat pipe that I saw earlier. It seems as though the heat pipe has corroded and eventually given way completely, with a pinhole in the copper that was leaking fluid once the heat pipe got up to a certain temperature. I was able to replicate the problem in the video by using a heat gun to warm up the cold plate and sure enough, more liquid seeped out of the corroded heat pipe.

We reached out to MSI about this issue, to ask if they had seen the problem before during RMAs of this card. MSI’s response was that this isn’t an issue they are aware of – but we would like to hear from the community to try and find out if anyone else has come across this issue with the RTX 2080 Ventus OC, or any other graphics card. Or simply if you have had issues with high GPU temperature when using this card and have been unable to solve the problem.

If you have experienced this issue please let us know by contacting us via our Facebook page HERE, or over on Twitter HERE.

KitGuru says: This is a very odd problem indeed, but also quite serious when heat pipes are failing and liquid leaking onto a GPU is concerned, please get in touch if this has happened to you.

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