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Reports claiming that defective Radeons surfaced at top-tier manufacturers prove false

A recent article from DigiTimes had many graphics partners pointing a finger at AMD for several thousand potentially faulty Radeon HD 2600 and HD 2400 products.  Specifically, DigiTimes claimed “One first-tier maker has recalled over 20,000-30,000 units already, noted the sources.”

Although the article stated that Asustek Computers, Micro-Star International (MSI) and Gigabyte Technology all experienced a problem with improperly flashed cards, all three manufacturers have since denied the existence of any such defect.

Several product managers and engineers were left scratching their heads when confronted about receiving batches of faulty Radeon HD parts.  ASUS representatives, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claim that no journalists inquired to the company about faulty Radeon-series graphic adaptors, and that the company has not found a single defective in its inventory.

When approached as to the nature of the defect, a Taiwanese graphics adaptor engineer stated, “ATI did deliver some chips without UVD to Acer for one of its projects and that’s it.  All chips delivered to other OEM and ODM has the UVD enabled.” Universal Video Decoder, or UVD, is a hardware acceleration unit found on the Radeon HD 2600 and 2400 graphics processors.

That same engineer suspects Acer is where the notion of a defect or recall may have occurred.

Acer, the world’s fourth largest branded PC vendor occasionally orders one-off products from its suppliers. Since the parts were ordered without UVD support it one would be hard pressed to consider them defective.  Acer’s OEM partners include ECS and Asustek.
MSI and Gigabyte have no knowledge of receiving either products without hardware UVD support or defective ROMs. Both companies went on to say that internal testing of the HD 2K-series has not shown problems related to UVD support.

A Gigabyte official spoke to DailyTech on the record with regard to the defect report.  “We can confirm that all shipping AMD Radeon HD 2400s and ATI Radeon HD 2600s have working UVD functionality,” he stated. “We are shipping a number of HD 2400 A13s and their UVD functionality is enabled in the August Catalyst driver drop.  All of the remaining HD 2400s, and all of the HD 2600s, have UVD support in the current driver.”

One AMD engineer, also speaking on terms of anonymity, claim that there are no cards in the channel with a UVD problem and they are unaware of faulty products leaving the factory.  "Any report claiming that defective HD 2600 and 2400 [cards] are recalled in the channel is completely untrue."


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Defective chips
By The Jedi on 8/9/2007 1:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When approached as to the nature of the defect, a Taiwanese graphics adaptor engineer stated, “ATI did deliver some chips without UVD to Acer for one of its projects and that’s it. All chips delivered to other OEM and ODM has the UVD enabled.” Universal Video Decoder, or UVD, is a hardware acceleration unit found on the Radeon HD 2600 and 2400 graphics processors.


I think a more likely occurance was that ATI had an early batch of defective chips, and cut Acer a deal to dump them off. Large OEMs offer cut-down lower cost parts all the time, especially with graphics chips. Dell for example has GeForce 6150 LE motherboards, and routinely sells SE model graphics cards that are slower. With the lower costs, it's harder for the channel to compete with crap like that. But I can understand the need to sell all of the chips you can rather than trash a portion of them.

Of course a lot of that stuff is with a limited warranty, and maybe suspect quality. I recall Gainward had some "GeForce 256 SE" cards that were like 10 MHz lower. They were cheaper, but they died early with no real warranty.




RE: Defective chips
By Treckin on 8/9/2007 4:45:32 PM , Rating: 1
No no no no. While that may be a component of it (that amd had some unusual hardware from a first run) OEM's have been contracting neutered hardware since the dawn of personalized computing (think dell and hp). Every OEM on the market has chopped versions of motherboards, especially chipsets, in their low-end budget systems.
They used to make OEM only versions of procs which had half the cache of purchasable CPU's etc. Im not sure about that anymore, as the cost of doing special runs on 90nm, 65nm, and soon 45nm and 32nm fabs is incredibly expensive. On the older fab processes, the die cutters and engravers were not nearly as expensive...
One example of a low-end chopped board is sitting in my garage right now. I have a 1999 Dell something or other, which has a neutered version of a gigabyte mobo in it. The retail version had 4 ram dimms, while this has 2, and also the retail had an agp slot (ht shit back then LOL), and this one has only 2 PCI slots, both OEM populated...

The thinking is that anyone buying a $300 desktop is probably not going to be doing much HD decoding, and probably dont have a monitor worth displaying HD vid on anyhow.


RE: Defective chips
By Slaimus on 8/9/2007 5:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
There were no defective chips at all. The problem reported by digit-life was on the BIOS.

Acer probably requested some cards without UVD, and so those had the BIOS set a flag to the driver that UVD is not present. Those card were likely made by Asus or ECS like the article says.

Some of those probably got mixed in with the normal batch, so it was suspected that they had to recall a lot of cards to see cover all possible stock.

AMD/ATI then probably stepped in with a driver update that just ignored this BIOS flag, and enabled the UVD always.


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