Are Nvidia failure issues spreading to HP desktops, Apple MacBooks?
Suzanne Deffree - October 14, 2008
Reports are swirling this afternoon that the failure issues Nvidia reported in July have spread from notebooks to desktops after HP released a statement offering free repair for 38 models of its Pavillion Slimline desktops, which use Nvidia chips.
In July, Nvidia admitted that certain notebook configurations with GPUs and MCPs manufactured with a certain die/packaging material set are failing in the field at higher than normal rates. Unfortunately, the company has given little more information on the issue since then.
HP’s statement reads "Some of these computers may not boot or may not display video. Computers experiencing either or both of these symptoms, attributable to the computer’s motherboard, are eligible for this HP Limited Warranty Service Enhancement."
This HP program provides for free motherboard replacement for 12 months from the date the consumer’s one-year hardware limited warranty expires or until December 31, 2009, whichever is sooner.
Nvidia had stated in July that the issues were confined to notebooks and that the issues affected PCs only (no Apple Macs). But last week Apple said that its MacBook Pros could (or are) having problems with the Nvidia chips and offered free repairs to affected customers.
Apple’s statement reads: "In July 2008, Nvidia publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, Nvidia assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the Nvidia graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within two years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty."
Ouch, so far it looks like the OEMs are picking up the tab for Nvidia’s product failures.
One labor group, Unite Here, isn’t taking the matter lightly and will be at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters today as the company unveils its latest laptops. It’s unclear whether Unite Here was invited or is crashing Apple’s party (you’ll recall that the group was an uninvited guest at Nvidia’s Nvision event in August, where it drew attendees’ attentions to Nvidia’s product failures), but today it appears that the group will be going after Apple employees for comment on last year’s laptops and is now seeking an SEC investigation into Nvidia.
I’ve pinged Nvidia for comment on the HP and Apple statements, but no reply yet.
While we wait for the company’s thoughts, share your own below. What do you think about the HP and Apple statements? Should the OEMs be paying for the GPU failures? Voice your opinions below.