RGB lighting might actually burn into your graphics card

The Force (of light) is strong with this one.

RGB lighting causes brown scorch marks on MSI Gaming X Trio backplate.

If you love everything RGB, then this will more than likely leave you in shock. It turns out those beautifully bright LEDs might burn into your graphics card. No, seriously. Gamers report that RGB memory is causing brown scorched-like spots on the backplate of their graphics cards.

Two recent posts on Reddit reveal that a duo of MSI GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards have succumbed to the same dreadful fate. It appears the black backplate has turned brown in the exact location where the light from the quad-slot RAM modules shines on the card.

While the latest two posts focus on MSI, other users claim it’s not necessarily the brand’s fault. Asus, Zotac, and Gigabyte graphics cards have all reportedly suffered the same fate. In that case, you might assume that RAM is responsible, but it looks like Corsair Vengeance sticks were involved in one incident and G.Skill Trident in the other. The real reason is more a perfect storm of sorts.

Reddit User showcasing the same scorched issue on there ageing Asus Strix Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti graphics card.

As mysterious as it might seem, the Redditors arrived at one logical conclusion. Some purple, blue, and white LEDs, while good-looking, emit significant amounts of UV radiation. This UV radiation isn’t harmful to you or your hardware, but it could unwittingly affect the coating of your backplate.

In this particular case, MSI claims these cards have graphene backplates. However, on closer inspection, these graphene backplates are actually plastic and only reinforced with a graphene coating. This finish is then painted with black acrylic. It appears this acrylic paint is particularly sensitive to the RGB lighting, creating a rather unsightly “bleached effect” over time. It’s a lot like OLED burn-in in that respect, with a lingering ghostly afterimage. So, we can carefully assume it is the combination of both the paint and the lighting that causes this bleaching effect.

Thankfully, it is merely cosmetic damage and will not affect the overhaul performance of your card. It might even only happen in exceptional cases. At least one of the posts stated that they never turn their PC off, leaving their GPU constantly exposed to the light. Still, considering the cost of graphics cards, it remains a hard pill to swallow. Here’s hoping brands put their collective heads together to find a solution before RTX 5000 graphics cards come in.