updated 09:45 am EDT, Tue August 12, 2008
NVIDIA Desktop GPU Risk
NVIDIA's mobile graphics faliures may be only the sign of a larger problem affecting desktop hardware as well, says a claim by the Inquirer. Four video card makers have allegedly reported unusually high failure rates in boards made using NVIDIA's G92 and G94 chips, which are used for most mid-range GeForce 8800-series cards, 9800-series cards and the high-end 8800M notebook series. The 9600 GT is also said to be affected.
The issue hasn't been publicly disclosed but if part of a larger issue would be potentially dangerous to board manufacturers, some of which were already nearly shut down due to high pricing and would now have to handle a large volume of warranty replacements and recalls if the problem is confirmed as symptomatic of NVIDIA's desktop parts. A high failure rate may also create problems for larger computer companies that depend heavily on the risk-prone hardware for special-run cards used in their systems, such as the GeForce 8800 GT available as an option for the Mac Pro.
The report if corroborated would likely compound the trouble for NVIDIA, which has regularly attempted to downplay the impact of the notebook problems. The problem was purportedly confined at first only to HP but has since been confirmed by several other PC makers, including Dell, Lenovo and others using either a GeForce 8400M or 8600M chipset. Apple has yet to formally acknowledge a problem but has encountered consistent video problems with mid-2007 and later MacBook Pros using GeForce 8600M GT graphics.
These faults are also understood to have created additional expenses for notebook manufacturers, many of whom are described as replacing entire systems rather than just the flawed parts and are receiving equally defective replacement components that may also need to be replaced under warranty. Software fixes originally promoted by NVIDIA and passed on to Dell and others simply push the likelihood of failure out of the default warranty period rather than solve the problem, according to the claims.
NVIDIA hasn't yet responded to the accusations.