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  (Source: Parkoz Hardware)
HP and Dell break out a list of defective NVIDIA GPUs in their respective notebooks

NVIDIA was recently forced to defend itself against allegations that it was preparing to exit the chipset business.  In addition, the company reported weaker than expected earnings, thanks to a charge of $150M USD to $200M USD to cover "defective GPUs" on its mobile offerings.

When this news broke many were curious -- which GPUs were affected and what exactly is the problem?  Well the answer to the latter is relatively simple -- a number of NVIDIA mobile GPUs had extremely poor thermal tolerances thanks to defects.  This leads to early chip death and faulty behaviors, such as artifacting, as chips start to fail.

The answer to the first question -- how many -- is just now becoming clear.  It appears appears that NVIDIA's mobile offerings are much harder hit than initial conservative estimates.  Dell and HP, the two largest computer manufacturers have just released lists of what computers have defective chips.

It turns out virtually all the NVIDIA mobile chips are defective.  NVIDIA tried to brush off the issue stating that the issue was a "previous-generation" problem.  However, it turns out that virtually all 8400M and 8600M chips are defective.  These chips make up the bulk of NVIDIA's higher end graphics offerings.  While NVIDIA started to roll out the first of its 9 series mobile chips, the 8 series represents the flagship line of its mobile offerings.

The low to middle end chips are also virtually all defective.  Among the defective lines are the GeForce Go 7000 and 6000 lines, as well as the Quadro NVS 135M and the Quadro FX 360M.

In order to respond to the problems HP is offering extended warranty support.  Information is available here.  Dell offers a driver fix which attempts to deal with the heat issues by pumping up fan speed, on top of its standard warranty support. 

According to Dell, signs of GPU failure include multiple images, random characters appearing onscreen, lines on the screen, or no video at all.  Dell claims the updates will not affect battery life.  Its new Vostro line of notebooks is shipping with the fix preinstalled.

While Dell's solution may provide a decent stopgap to carry chips outside the warranty, it seems unlikely to be able save the chips from a shorter than average lifetime.  In the end both with Dell and HP the warranty charges will eventually be passed on to NVIDIA.

Also, the fact that the bulk of its mobile GPUs, a major source of business, are defective is also extremely troublesome for the giant.  However, as ATI/AMD showed with its latest series of GPUs, in the graphics industry you can never rule out a comeback.

For those with mobile GPUs from other manufacturers, please refer to their respective pages as many of them have posted or will be posting information on the problems.

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RE: Comeback
By neothe0ne on 8/3/2008 11:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
My dv2312us is covered in the lists, and it has a 6150. I was also emailed, and I tried to get my laptop replaced because a DIFFERENT part wasn't working (the multimedia card reader). Now that I think about it, if heat breaks the wireless adapter which is in the bottom left corner, the media card reader also in the bottom left corner would likely bork too. That spot is boiling hot to touch when the bottom right corner (disc drive) feels relatively freezing during operation.

That said, I've had a screen blackout once and am having CONSTANT problems with booting and wireless functionality so +1 to defective NVIDIA GPU list.

RE: Comeback
By TheSpaniard on 8/4/2008 12:50:42 AM , Rating: 2
well if you have a 6150 and my laptop has a 6150... maybe they'll take it back since it is having issues with the USB ports back next to the GPU fan!

RE: Comeback
By StevoLincolnite on 8/4/2008 10:25:44 AM , Rating: 2
Drats! My Second Laptop with a Mobility 9700pro is made by ATI, I guess that rules out for a replacement/upgrade. xD
Still, 4 years and still going is pretty good. (It's an Acer).

My Current Machine is a Toshiba with a Mobility 3650 - Not a bad machine, I was going to get a Dell with the 8600GT, but the 3650 handles everything I need at a cheaper price anyway.

What makes me curious... Did Laptop Manufacturers change Battery Companies when the Sony Batteries went west? If they did, would we see a shift in Mobile Graphics Companies once again, As several years ago, it was impossible to find a machine with an nVidia GPU as ATI was dominant.

RE: Comeback
By Spoelie on 8/4/2008 5:04:50 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is not that the GPU is giving out excessive heat/more heat than normal - it is that the GPU cannot tolerate the heat it was designed for, i.e. the heat produced during normal operation, due to defects introduced in the actual manufacturing.

If other chips start to die because of excessive heat, then this is a laptop/oem design issue.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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