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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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Dammit I bought an XPS 1530!
By myou066 on 8/4/2008 7:07:52 AM , Rating: 3
Knowing this factory fault will indeed plummet the used laptop prices. I was meant to sell mine off and get a x300 but guess that isn't happening anymore.

Owning and knowing that your laptop is indeed defective really hurts and Dell is exacerbating the problem by only trying to push the computers out of their warranty period to point the flak at Nvidia and deny further responsibility.

The A09 patch for this comp is a joke. I installed it and compared to the previous bios update, it sounded like a jet engine on when you are merely browsing the internet. I since used a roll back driver and used a laptop cooler instead.

The chips I think are defective in the sense that with the repeated cycles of hot and cold on the chips as you do your business on the laptop creates thermal fatigue on the board and wiring architecture. These laptops although not guaranteed to fail will have a higher than average failure rate. And if you are like me, you enjoy playing the odd game here and there since you bought a laptop with these specs.

This as a Dell customer has really disappointed me especially whenever I call and wait for 40 minutes on the help line only to be told after explaining faults with no posts and blank screens 'Oh we didn't know that' and playing coy pretending they haven't heard customers complain about their services already.

That leaves me to the question - Should I sell off at a huge loss and get something without the defective chip, or pay another $450nz ($330US) for three more years warranty with returns and annoying callouts?

I feel my anger can drive me to create a whole hate site...But I'll leave it there...

Shame on you Dell, Shame on you.

RE: Dammit I bought an XPS 1530!
By myou066 on 8/4/2008 7:12:54 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry the defect is actually a weak die/packaging material set according to the Dell site..


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