Wednesday, September 10, 2008

beware - faulty nvidia graphics chip in your laptop

Source - New York Times

Nvidia has uncovered a problem with some older graphics chips that shipped in "significant quantities" of laptop PCs, the company said Wednesday.

Nvidia hasn't determined the exact cause of the problem but said it relates to a packaging material used with some of its chips, as well as the thermal design of some laptops. Modern processors generate considerable amounts of heat.

To tackle the problem, the company is releasing a software driver that will cause system fans to start operating sooner and reduce the "thermal stress" on the chips. The driver has been provided to laptop makers directly, said Derek Perez, an Nvidia spokesman.

Nvidia will take a charge against second-quarter earnings of US$150 million to $200 million to cover the expected cost of repairing and replacing the products, which include graphics processing units and media and communications processors. It didn't say specifically which of its products were affected.

The products have been failing in the field at "higher than normal rates," Nvidia said. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it said it was talking to its supply chain about getting reimbursed for some of the costs.

The company also had other bad news on Wednesday. It said it was lowering its revenue forecast for the second quarter due to pricing pressure and delayed product ramps. The company now expects revenue to be between $875 million and $950 million.

- HP gets some of them: HP announces BIOS update, repairs for faulty Nvidia GPUs

- Dell gets even more of them: NVIDIA GPU update for Dell Laptop Owners

- Quote from: APC

If you bought a laptop with either the NVIDIA Geforce 8400M (M for Mobile) or 8600M in it, you can now stick yourself in the pile for people with bad luck. This includes laptops from the following brands (take a deep breath): Acer, Apple, Asus, BenQ, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, LG, MSI, NEC, Sony, Toshiba... to name a few. Now it's not with everyone, of course. If you hit your Control Panel and find yourself using either the 8400M or 8600M graphics processor, you're affected; everyone else can move on.

What's wrong with your computer might you ask? Something small that can affect it in a large way. Quite a few of the graphics chips NVIDIA have been producing are defective. We know that the rumour of every 8400M and 8600M chip being bad is probably true, but now we're hearing that it might extend to other models like in the mobile NVIDIA chips running off of the 6000 and 7000 designs. That's a lot of graphics chips and this can cause your computer to overheat, lock-up, and possibly not work.

this is extremely serious, i'm surprised Nvidia has not faced massive court action or class lawsuits in the US. The company has clarified only a small number of chips are faulty, while most manufacturers are keeping mum. However the failure of the GPU can be disastrous for laptops warrantied for only a year - replacement of the GPU involves changing the entire motherboard, which costs as much as a brand new budget laptop. If your GPU has not failed, the BIOS update will keep the internal fan running longer than usual, which brings another reliability problem later.

no wonder many new Montevina laptops carry ATI discrete graphics.

No comments: