updated 02:00 pm EDT, Tue May 3, 2011
NVIDIA settlement pushes unwanted Compaq notebooks
A determination (PDF) by the court in the wake of NVIDIA's class-action settlement has left Mac users and many others angered at unfair treatment. Judge James Ware declared "without merit" objections from those who were told the only replacement option was an entry-level Compaq CQ-56 notebook. The sub-$500 notebook "meets or exceeds nearly all of the specifications" of the systems whose graphics failed, Judge Ware claimed, further believing that any missing components could be added in.
For most, Judge Ware's claims are openly false and ignore the class of system that was purchased. Affected systems were using either a GeForce 8400M or 8600M and in some cases still outperform the integrated Radeon HD 4250 graphics the CQ-56 uses. AMD's 2.3GHz Athlon V140 processor is also slow enough that some of the higher-end or more recent systems from the settlement period, which ended in September 2008, could still be faster.
The arguments have particularly frustrated MacBook Pro buyers covered under the settlement. Ware made no distinction between platforms and argued that a notebook with an "advanced operating system" like Windows 7 was enough, even if the user had bought a Mac. Critics have noted that, if users were required to use the settlement computer, they would have to repurchase hundreds of dollars worth of apps and might be locked out of certain apps entirely.
Systems have in some cases been covered by warranties. The inherent manufacturing defect that triggered the lawsuit could still mean some would have to buy entirely new notebooks to get an actual equivalent and has put attention not just on Judge Ware but on NVIDIA, which didn't take care to make a distinction between Mac and Windows users or the types of systems they bought.