Graphics card sagging, while once a non-issue, has become a genuine threat to their lifespan, causing them to fail much sooner than normal. As cards become more powerful, they also become much larger and heavier in design, which means they tend to sag if not supported on both sides in the PC case.
As German computer repair technician KrisFix (opens in new tab) explains (and reported on by Tom’s Hardware) when a graphics card sags as a result of this increased weight, “memory modules can lose connection with its associated solder points on the PCB.” There’s also the issue of thermal variance, caused by the daily use of the card under sag conditions.
According to KrisFix, This seems to be a major cause for why the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, considered one of the best graphics cards ever (and still an excellent contender today), has been failing sooner than anticipated.
And since the 2080 Ti, graphics cards have only become heavier, which puts the RTX 3000-series and especially the brick-like 4000-series at an even higher risk for failure later on in its life.
What is being done about it?
It seems that manufacturers are finally becoming more aware of the issues surrounding graphics cards sag, and more are coming up with a simple way to combat it: using some kind of support beam to keep the card level on the unsupported side.
Some have those supports built-in the PC case like Cooler Master’s support bracket, while others like the Manli Gallardo RTX 4090 graphics card itself are equipped with two spirit levels. And as the concept becomes more widespread, we should be seeing more of them cropping up and eventually becoming a standard in both PC cases and graphics cards.
But what about the current users, the ones who already made their purchase years ago and could be facing imminent catastrophic GPU failure? You can have your PC modded by official or unofficial repair services to give it a bracket or level, but that could be quite expensive.
Naturally, there are cheaper alternatives and guides on how to go about building them, everything from Lego blocks to hooking string around your GPU to stabilize it. So there is hope for you as long as too much damage hasn’t already been done to your beloved graphics card just yet. Otherwise, you might have to invest in a brand new one, like the RTX 4070 that launched on April 13.