updated 11:40 pm EDT, Mon May 11, 2009
Nvidia sued over graphics
Five owners of Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard laptops have combined their lawsuits against Nvidia in an attempt to make the company replace allegedly flawed processors, according to court documents. The five plaintiffs filed an amended complaint last week in San Francisco federal court that accused Nvidia of violating the consumer-protection laws. According to one plaintiff Todd Feinstein of Louisiana, after purchasing his MacBook in April 2008, the computer ran hot, periodically shut-down without warning and displayed only grey or black at times.
In July of 2008 Nvidia admitted to the problem, claiming some older chipsets that had shipped in “significant quantities” of notebooks were flawed. After arguing that its chip suppliers, the laptop markers and consumers were to blame, Nvidia eventually told the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it would take a $196 million charge to pay for replacing the graphics processors.
Although Apple, Dell and HP also tried to find a solution, Apple by promising to repair any defective MacBook Pro for two years after the purchase date and Dell and HP released an update (designed by Nvidia) to increase fan speed to prevent chip failures, the plaintiffs still claim that this is an improper “remedy” for the problem. The five plaintiffs also believe that the faulty processor can lead to further problems such as degraded battery life, slower system performance, and increased noise. In addition, the fix only ensures that the computer will not fail during the OEM’s express warranty period, leaving the longer-term effects to reveal themselves after the warranty.
Currently the lawsuit requests the case be granted class-action status, which could involve millions of laptop computer owners and result in Nvidia having to replace the faulty chips and pay unspecified damages.