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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: 9 Series
By crystal clear on 8/4/2008 2:58:05 AM , Rating: 1
Form 8-K for NVIDIA CORP- states the following-

There can be no assurance that we will not discover defects in other MCP or GPU products.


RE: 9 Series
By Spoelie on 8/4/2008 5:12:32 AM , Rating: 2
And this tells us what exactly? That no part is guaranteed to be without defects? What manufacturer will guarantee such a thing?

At least the same exact problem should not be there, at least not publicly acknowledged.


RE: 9 Series
By crystal clear on 8/4/2008 6:38:52 AM , Rating: 3
Portion of the article as quoted below-

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.



It took them 6 months to acknowledge the defect/problem publicily & a complete product lineup....defective.

How can you trust them ?

I am of the opinion-

"Its not manufacturing issues rather design issues ..."

I do not believe the company can dramatically fix it in one or two quarters.

I know you will not agree to this opinion, but I do not acceept the official explaination.


RE: 9 Series
By masouth on 8/5/2008 1:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That no part is guaranteed to be without defects? What manufacturer will guarantee such a thing?


Is it really asking much of a company to guarantee that a product line, within it's expected life span, isn't experiencing more than the acceptable/expected failure rate?

From my perspective, by NOT stating a certain line is free from all but the expected failure rate, nVidia is indicating that they are NOT confident in those products at this time. Maybe it's just the bean counters/lawyers preventing them from making a more firm statement of support. Either way it reflects lack of confidence.

This is starting to remind me of the battery recall. It started out small and seems to keep getting bigger the longer it went.

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a guarantee. Most companies guarantee products. Next time you buy something try reading the packaging/included documentation instead of just setting it aside once you've gotten the shiny, new toy out. You'll usually find a guaranteee someowhere in there or a warranty which is, in effect, a guarantee that a product will work as intended or it will be rapaired/ replaced/ refunded per the warranty specifications.


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