Graphics card sag, while once not a problem, has become a real threat to their lifespan, causing them to fail much earlier than usual. As cards get stronger, they also get much bigger and heavier, meaning they tend to sag if not supported on both sides of the computer case.
As a German computer repair technician KrisFix (opens in a new tab) explains (and reported by Tom’s gear) when the graphics card sags as a result of increased weight, “memory modules may lose connection to the associated soldering points on the circuit board.” There is also the issue of thermal variability caused by daily use of the card in deflection conditions.
According to KrisFix, this seems to be the main reason why the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, considered one of the the best graphics cards has ever (and still is an excellent contender) failed sooner than anticipated.
And since the 2080 Ti, graphics cards have only gotten heavier, making the RTX 3000 series, and especially the brick-like 4000 series, even more vulnerable to failure later in life.
What is done with it?
It seems that manufacturers are finally becoming more aware of the graphics card drooping issues, with more and more coming up with a simple way to combat the problem: using a support beam of some sort to keep the card level on the unsupported side.
Some have these supports built into the computer case, e.g Cooler Master support bracketwhile others like it Manli Gallardo RTX 4090 The graphics card itself has two spirit levels. And as the concept becomes more widespread, we should see more of them emerge and eventually become standard in both PC cases and graphics cards.
But what about current users who already made a purchase many years ago and may face imminent catastrophic GPU failure? You can modify your computer through official or unofficial repair services to give it a bracket or level, but it can be quite expensive.
Of course, there are cheaper alternatives and guides on how to build them, with everything from Lego bricks to hooking string around the GPU to stabilize it. So there is hope for you, as long as too much damage hasn’t been done to your beloved graphics card yet. Otherwise, you may have to invest in a brand new one, e.g RTX4070 which started on April 13.