The beta for Amazon’s MMO, New World, dropped yesterday. It was quite popular, with reports of up to 187,000 simultaneous players at times. But if New Worlds was in the news for its popularity yesterday, it’s making waves today for an entirely different reason: It’s frying graphics cards.
Strange New World
It’s impossible to over-emphasize how odd this is. Back about 10 years ago, applications like Furmark were capable of damaging GPUs because they behaved more like thermal viruses than actual software. AMD and Nvidia both took steps to limit these kinds of workloads and built algorithms into their own drivers to detect them. Graphics cards also possess their own throttle limits and power regulation circuitry.
End users can hose an operating system installation by deleting the wrong files, but the only way to typically break a PC hardware component with software is to flash the UEFI/BIOS incorrectly. Even that’s a stretch, because we call UEFI/BIOS updates firmware, not software, and they come with extra risks.
There have been several tweets from EVGA users about RTX 3090’s dying after playing New World:
Breaking: For people playing New World please cap your FPS.
This will help prevent any issues that people have been having with their GPU’s being fried.
Go to Settings > Visuals > Max fps > Set this to 60, this will bring the utilization back down. pic.twitter.com/mXGcyixFgi
— PowerGPU® (@PowerGPU) July 21, 2021
I just want to make sure this doesn't happen to others
— Gladd (@Gladd) July 21, 2021
It is not clear if this issue is hitting any other company or graphics card, but there are multiple unhappy EVGA users reporting the problem in the company forums. EVGA is one company that acknowledged sending out some RTX 3090 GPUs with insufficient power circuitry last fall, but the company claimed these parts were only ever sent to reviewers and that none of them made it into retail.
It’s possible that’s true. This could be evidence of a different problem, unrelated to the initial issues. We don’t know yet if the issue is hitting cards from other companies. It’s been reported that the problem is the game’s menu screens, which run at uncapped frame rates, but most games — including games one runs with V-Sync disabled — don’t appear to hit frame rates that cause this kind of problem. Plenty of online games kick you back to the title screen if you spend too much time idle.
One could argue that New Worlds isn’t “killing” graphics cards so much as it’s demonstrating that some GPUs may not be adequately cooled, but that’s going to be cold comfort to anyone left trying to get a replacement GPU during a historic shortage. Hopefully, Amazon patches the game to remove this possibility and EVGA (as well as any other manufacturer) replaces cards as quickly as possible. Everyone who has purchased an RTX 3090 should still be covered under warranty, so that is not an issue.
A similar issue affected StarCraft 2 in the past, so this problem isn’t completely unknown. But it’s still an unusual problem, especially given that it seems to be hitting one GPU company.
SpaceX Starship Performs Amazing Flip Maneuver, Explodes on Hard Landing
The launch itself went off without a hitch, sending the vessel up to 41,000 feet. That's a major milestone for the Starship, but the landing… well, that was more of a crash. SpaceX is still calling this one a win, though.
AI Is Penalizing Amazon Delivery Drivers for Errors They Aren’t Making
Amazon drivers are being penalized for driving mistakes they aren't making, and it's costing delivery companies a great deal of money.
Amazon’s Satellite Internet Antenna Pulls 400Mbps During Testing
Amazon's upcoming Project Kuiper service will be similar to Starlink, but the company claims its prototype Ka phased-array antenna will give it the edge.