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Laptops With Certain NVidia Chips Failing 310

Posted by timothy
from the hardware-sucks dept.
Eukariote writes "An estimated 18 million laptops with NVidia G84 and G86 graphics chips sold in the past one and a half years are experiencing high failure rates. Various laptop models from multiple manufacturers (Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others) are affected. NVidia blames it on bad chip packaging causing thermal failure. BIOS updates that turn the laptop fan on more frequently or permanently have been released by Dell and HP. The cynical interpretation is that this is likely to only delay the problem until the warranty has expired."
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Laptops With Certain NVidia Chips Failing

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  • by DogDude (805747) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:06PM (#24427725) Homepage
    Having to have my laptop fan all of the time to account for a bad chip is an unacceptable fix. It's loud, it takes more electricity to run, and it shortens the life of the fan, and possibly the whole computer as a result.
    • by mysidia (191772) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:27AM (#24429123)

      Note that they conveniently prevent [hp.com] you from downloading the old BIOS to revert the upgrade, by removing old version from their web site, if the increased fan noise is a problem for you. Under the pretense of "avoiding confusion", they will not allow you to get the original version:

      I do not see the previous BIOS version on the HP Support Web? What happened to the previous versions of the BIOS? In order to eliminate any confusion on which BIOS version is the latest, only the latest version is available on the Web.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vegiVamp (518171)

        Yes, because serial version numbering is so very very confusing to the average luser.

    • by jamesh (87723) on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:59AM (#24429261)

      Ford tried to do this to me with my car. It would make a shuddering noise somewhere in the front end at low speed (eg parking lots). I mentioned it to them each service and they said they'd look at it, and when I got it back after the service they said they'd flushed the power steering system and upgraded the car computer firmware.

      The first service after the warranty expired I took it in and they said that there was a faulty hose causing the problem and it would take $$$ to fix. I got them to fix it under warranty eventually but I wonder how many other people they screwed over...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mateorabi (108522)
        According to the authority of the Car Talk guys, once you report a problem to the dealer while under waranty, repairing it is under waranty no matter how long (or how many tries) it takes them to fix it. Sounds like you got them to admit this eventualy, but yes, car dealers are slimy. I wonder if a similar argument would apply, even though you aren't sending the laptop in for service. It's a 'known issue' of a pre-waranty-expiring condition that they are _attempting_ to service with the patch. If it fai
        • More than just cars? (Score:3, Informative)

          by phorm (591458)

          This might apply to more than just cars. I had an issue with my old HP ZD7000 laptop while under warranty. When I contacted HP about it, they said they were working on a fix and to check back with them in about four months. As the laptop was still fairly usable, I waited.

          After four months I called back and got the "oh yeah, there's a fix for that now, but sorry you're out of warranty." I had to get on their case about it, but once they tracked my old ticket # to the same issue the accepted the laptop for wa

      • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday August 01, 2008 @09:01AM (#24431677) Homepage Journal

        Hey, I benefited from almost the exact same problem. I was test driving a program car, and it drove like a dream - except when I turned the steering wheel all the way to the side. Then it sounded like someone had a low-speed metal grinder under the hood. I told the salesman, and he pulled the car's record to look into it. As it turns out, the previous owner had tried to get that noise fixed maybe 5 times, but their dealer couldn't permanently repair it, so the owner returned it under their state's lemon law. My local dealer asked if I'd be interested in the car if they could fix it, so I went home to let them dig around inside.

        As it turns out, there's a corrugated metal hose near the steering mechanism. When you turned the wheel all the way, it pushed a motor against that hose and caused the noise. The permanent fix? A plastic wire tie to pull the hose half an inch to the side. I got the car in mint condition for half price eight years ago, and I'm still driving it today.

        Ummm, this is an obligatory car analogy to the laptops, so don't mod me off-topic.

  • Today's fun fact (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mu11ing1t0ver (1175051) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:09PM (#24427753)
    "The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it." - George Bernard Shaw
  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:11PM (#24427773) Homepage Journal
    Here are exerpts from the most amusing description [theinquirer.net] of the problem:

    All Nvidia G84 and G86s are bad

    The short story is that all the G84 and G86 parts are bad. Period. No exceptions. All of them, mobile and desktop, use the exact same ASIC, so expect them to go south in inordinate numbers as well. There are caveats however, and we will detail those in a bit.

    Both of these ASICs have a rather terminal problem with unnamed substrate or bumping material, and it is heat related. If you ask Nvidia officially, you will get no reason why this happened, and no list of parts affected, we tried. Unofficially, they will blame everyone under the sun, and trash their suppliers in very colourful language.

    When the process engineers pinged by the INQ picked themselves off the floor from laughing, they politely said that there is about zero chance that NV would change the assembly process or material set for a batch, much less an EOL part.

    For dessert, there's this [theinquirer.net] article to finish :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      All Nvidia G84 and G86s are bad

      Does this affect the new 9xxx chips as well? Here is a table ( [heise.de] translation [google.com]) listing which mobile 9x chips are equivalent to which 8x chips. Are they really identical except for the name, or has the thermal problem been fixed?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My MacBookPro turned on one morning, and everything worked but the display. I managed to log in, launch iTunes and play some music, but no graphics output. A trip to the Apple store later and I'm out a machine for a week. Never had an explanation, but now I am curious if i should send it back and ask for a new logic board with a graphics chip that isn't going to fail again prematurely due to faulty design.

    What should/can I do?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:30PM (#24427925)
      Just continue to use iTunes without the display, you pussy. Sheesh -- typical Mac user.
      • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Friday August 01, 2008 @06:05AM (#24430125)

        Personally, I've never used my display on my MacBookPro. The UI on OSX is so wonderful, that I do not even have to look at it. I practically imagine what I want to open, and it opens it for me! This coupled with the nice sounds, let me know when I've opened the right application. If worst comes to worst, I can just use the option key combos to start my music, to start web-browsing etc.

        I've never used it, so to be honest, I don't see why anyone would want such a feature, let a lone need it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by v1 (525388)

        the key of course is not having to click 5-6 random alerts, notices, and popups before managing to get an application launched.

        Attention! Your mouse has moved! Would you like to go to the Security Center to see if someone has owned your computer?

        You have just clicked Cancel. Cancel or Allow?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by postmortem (906676)
      it is not logic board, it is motherboard. And yes, that is PC term. And yes, you got one.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:01AM (#24428187)

      My MacBookPro turned on one morning, and everything worked but the display. I managed to log in, launch iTunes and play some music, but no graphics output. A trip to the Apple store later and I'm out a machine for a week. Never had an explanation, but now I am curious if i should send it back and ask for a new logic board with a graphics chip that isn't going to fail again prematurely due to faulty design.

      Well, unless your replaced logic board fails again, I don't think Apple would take it back for replacement, since it basically works. Unfortunately, the affected GPUs are basically the entire nVidia 8x00 line (except for desktop 8300, and all the 8800's). Very few laptops actually use the 8800M GPU (think gaming laptops), so any other replacement, even a new laptop with an nVidia chipset will likely have the problematic GPU. The other alternative is to find a laptop with an AMD/ATi or Intel GPU.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Macman408 (1308925)

      As long as it's working fine at the moment, there's not much you can do. If it fails repeatedly while under warranty (especially with the same problem), you're likely to be able to talk your way into a replacement computer.

      Apple does have a decent history of creating repair extension programs when there's a known and particularly nasty design defect, especially when another company owns up to it being their fault. I imagine especially in those cases, they get the third party to pay for some or all of the

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ggvaidya (747058)

      What should/can I do?

      Join the line? [apple.com]

      (Seriously, you should put your details into the spreadsheet [apple.com] so we can collate what's happening and on which logic boards, etc. There's also some advice on talking Apple into letting you buy AppleCare after your warranty's expired)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:16PM (#24427817)
    i think that the better quality control of apple makes my computer immune to the problem, the genius bar can surely fix this problem and replace the computer for a new one, try this with dell.
  • Does anyone have a link to a list of laptop models that use these chips?

    • Re:Model numbers (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hemogoblin (982564) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:22PM (#24427867)

      Here are the Dell models which have BIOS updates, from TFA:

      Inspiron 1420
      Latitude D630
      Latitude D630c
      Dell Precision M2300
      Vostro Notebook 1310
      Vostro Notebook 1400
      Vostro Notebook 1510
      Vostro Notebook 1710
      XPS M1330
      XPS M1530

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        On Inspiron 1420s the Nvidia is an option - and was back in early 2007 when I got mine. Unless you specifically paid for the 'better' chip, you got an Intel® GM965 Express chipset, with Graphics Media Accelerator X3100.

    • Re:Model numbers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:24PM (#24427881)

      A link? Shit I own one. Dell XPS m1330; I've had the motherboard replaced twice already for video failure, and I got the thing in September of 07. Yes, that's right, replaced twice in less than a year.

      The flaw is every bit as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

    • Re:Model numbers (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gideon Fubar (833343) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:29PM (#24427915) Journal
      Sadly, it's not the laptops that are the problem. The problem apparently exists in all G84 and G86 chips, including those on desktop models.

      This was reported by the inquirer (and here, i think) a few weeks ago, but apparently the news hasn't been getting around..
    • If you're worried about a specific machine (windows), rightclick your desktop, go to Properties, Settings and see what adapters are listed

  • So, is it not fair (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hubdawg (1148477)
    to say that possibly the manufacturer packaged and shipped these chips with inadequate cooling ? The best chip of any manufacturer is susceptible to heat failure. Why is it all Nvidia's fault, seems to me it should be a shared responsibilty. They need to come up with a viable solution and compensate the people who may be affected.
    • by Manip (656104) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:38PM (#24427989)

      But it is Nvidia's fault because they signed off on these cooling units.

      That is like saying it isn't your car maker's fault if they put breaks in your car designed for a lawnmower and instead it is obviously the people who are making these lawnmower breaks fault for not making sure they can break a much heavier car...

      From what I'm reading the issue isn't with fans not performing as expected. The issue is that at the performance rate Nvidia had them at they simply didn't do the job needed and resulting in the GPU overheating and destroying its self.

      It is entirely, 100% Nvidia's fault. If you put in substandard parts you get a substandard result.

      • by MachDelta (704883) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:52PM (#24428115)
        Agreed. Most reference coolers (and even a lot of 3rd party ones) aren't worth the cheap plastic used to make them. When I pulled the ref cooler off my 8800GT last year I was shocked to find that the fan didn't even sit completely atop the core, and that there was a LOT of excess thermal paste and stupidly thick thermal pads. It's little suprise the card was heatsoaking to 90C after a few hours of Bioshock and crashing itself! I can only cringe in horror when I imagine something like that stuffed into a freaking laptop. Fortunatly I had already planned on replacing the stock cooler (just a big heatpipe/heatsink with a 120mm fan ziptied to it) and lo and behold my card now has trouble hitting low 40's even after hours of flogging.

        \ Long story short, all manufacturers should be held accountable for the idiotic shortcuts they take when it comes to cooling their electronics. Its kind of an important aspect of electronics, no? Why not spend a buck or two more on something that actually does the job? Till then the first thing I do with any graphics card (or CPU for that matter) is still going to be to chuck the stock cooler into my parts bin, and then look for something bigger or better.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "break" is what happens when you drop a glass on concrete, or when you take 15 minutes to rest from working.

        "brake" is a device used to slow a moving vehicle

    • I have a Toshiba Tecra with an NVidia card. Damn thing was getting extremely hot -- too hot to touch sometimes. I brought it in for service and they replaced the video card, thermostat, mainboard, and a bunch of other stuff. When they gave it back to me, it had a bad video card in it. Damn thing goes blank for seconds at a time, and the GPU Errors is over 50 in nividia-settings. Sometimes it even crashes X -- doubly so when I have an external monitor hooked up.

      I have to send it back to get the card replaced

    • by IorDMUX (870522) <mark.zimmerman3@gmail . c om> on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:50AM (#24428543) Homepage

      Why is it all Nvidia's fault, seems to me it should be a shared responsibilty.

      I work for a company big into mobile IC design (like NVIDIA). And I can say that it is very likely NVIDIA's fault because they (as do we), as the design company, specify every last detail of process, circuit, and package, when it comes to IC fabrication. Additionally, the company which produced these chips--TSMC--is the oldest, largest, and possibly most reliable dedicated fab company in existence. If there is a heat dissipation problem, it almost certainly stems from engineering oversight or management's corner-cutting on NVIDIA's part.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MRAB54 (1109973)

      Exactly. An overclocked PC can run for days on end completely stable in a room temp ~75 degrees. But if you put that desktop in an oven and get the air temp up around 150, something is gonna burn up. It really should be the OEMs responsibility for saying "Hey, your card gives out more heat than our laptop design can dissipate. We can't deploy these."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:18PM (#24427835)
    From NVIDIA's Q2 FY2009 Business Update [nvidia.com]:

    Separately, NVIDIA plans to take a one-time charge from $150 million to $200 million against cost of revenue for the second quarter to cover anticipated warranty, repair, return, replacement and other costs and expenses, arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of its previous generation GPU and MCP products used in notebook systems. 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. To date, abnormal failure rates with systems other than certain notebook systems have not been seen. NVIDIA has initiated discussions with its supply chain regarding this material set issue and the Company will also seek to access insurance coverage for this matter.

    Regarding the notebook field failures, NVIDIA president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated: "Although the failure appears related to the combination of the interaction between the chip material set and system design, we have a responsibility to our customers and will take our part in resolving this problem. The GPU has become an increasingly important part of the computing experience and we are seeing more interest by PC OEMs to adopt GPUs in more platforms. Recognizing that the GPU is one of the most complex processors in the system, it is critical that we now work more closely with notebook system designers and our chip foundries to ensure that the GPU and the system are designed collaboratively for the best performance and robustness."

    Today's high performance notebooks are highly complex systems with extreme thermal environments. The combination of limited thermal management and frequent power cycling is particularly challenging for complex processors like the GPU.

    Huang added, "This has been a challenging experience for us. However, the lessons we've learned will help us build far more robust products in the future, and become a more valuable system design partner to our customers. As for the present, we have switched production to a more robust die/package material set and are working proactively with our OEM partners to develop system management software that will provide better thermal management to the GPU."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Note that NVIDIA's customers are the OEMs putting chips in laptops and desktops, not the users buying systems. Users will have to deal with the computer manufacturers.

      Of course, Dell, HP, and company will understandably try to minimize their expenditure on warrantee repairs.

  • by cdance (516169) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:22PM (#24427863)
    As detailed in this thread [laptopvideo2go.com], the GF8400 has serious performance problems under Vista Aero when running recent driver versions. I wonder if this is related? - i.e. Recent driver updates have down-clocked the GPU leading to bad performance. Dell have however recently acknowledge the problem and is working on a fix.
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:29PM (#24427921)

    waiting to form.

    Charlie gets it right. Let's see, 18 million notebook machines. Freight each way, plus cost of labor to fix them and the materials needed. Less than $10 a machine! Great, that math stuff. Yup, a $150-200 million charge oughta do it at around $10 a machine!

    Hello? This is the SEC? Hey, I have a question about an 8K I saw for NVidia. It goes like this.....

    • Yup, a $150-200 million charge oughta do it

      More like $50 million for trial lawyer fees and a $5 coupon for each consumer to use towards any new G84/86 equipped laptop.

  • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:34PM (#24427951) Journal

    Does this have anything to do with the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death [wikipedia.org]? And do these problems, in turn, have something to do with RoHS [wikipedia.org] certification, due to lead-free solders being less durable?

    Nvidia has been said to have had a hand in the design of some parts of the 360, and the problem sounds like it is identical.

    That said, on my own laptop (a Dell Inspiron 6000i) sees at least 8 hours a day of actual use, and is generally powered on at least 20 hours per day. The default fan control keeps the fan spinning all the time at smoothly varied speeds, with a heavy tendency to keep it spinning at high speed for long periods of time following heavy loads. This is very annoying to me.

    Instead, I run i8kfangui, which lets me control (based on the temperature of the CPU, GPU, RAM, or hard drive) the fan's speed. It keeps dust accumulation and noise down, and works pretty well. The tradeoff is that it (by my choice) keeps the CPU in a constant and dramatic swing between 52 and 43 degrees Celcius:
    The fan is simply off below 43C, then turns at low speed once the CPU reaches 52C. If it gets to 68C (which almost never happens, and is quite hot for a CPU) it spins at high speed. I find this behavior to be very preferable.

    But the point is that it is generally a slow climb to 52C, and a fast fall to 43C, over and over in an abusive thermal-stress scenario. This cycle repeats a dozen or so times per hour, 8-20 hours per day, and has done so for three years. It works fine,

    The motherboard is not RoHS compliant, and so presumably was built with lead-based solder. However it seems that most new machines are built with lead-free solders [wikipedia.org], all of which seem to have various problems.

    Are there any metallurgists in the house who might care to speculate on the relationship between lead-free solders and systemic failure of laptops due to heat cycling?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kevinl (38843)

      Does this have anything to do with the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death [wikipedia.org]? [...]

      Nvidia has been said to have had a hand in the design of some parts of the 360, and the problem sounds like it is identical.

      Xbox 360 has ATI graphics. You must be thinking of the original Xbox, which did use NVIDIA graphics.

    • No, Xbox 360's use an ATi chip.

      Although RoHS probably contributed to the RRoD, mostly it was an improper thermal solution. There was an article awhile back where it was discovered that Microsoft engineers decided to cut costs by designing the heatsink system themselves. Insufficient cooling and an improper mounting system allowed the board to warp more than the RoHS solder could handle. Newer 360's have lots of extra epoxy around the package to keep it from pulling too far away from the motherboard.

    • Sounds like you're drawing a long bow to me.

      The problem here sounds like it's inside the chips themselves.

      I'm no metallurgist or hardware expert but I'd have thought solder is used when mounting the chips to the board, not inside the board itself.

    • by fermion (181285) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:07AM (#24428243) Homepage Journal
      The lack of lead in solder is a technological issue and as such is solved by more advanced technology. Certainly there are few people here who are opposed to higher technology?

      Sure we can whine about the extra work we are forced to do, or the fact that we have to pay for higher technology, but what good does that do. As technologically savvy people we live for the chance to advance the technology. We see these opportunities all over the place. Smaller cars require innovate means to increase safety and power. Smaller computers require more power efficient components and better batteries. Have one type of plastic go away just opens up a space for innovative new plastics. this is what makes the world exciting.

      So, if some company can't keep up, then they just suck as technologist and need to go away. A car company can't make technologically advanced cars, screw them. A video card manufacturer can't keep up with the trends and make a reliable video card, screw them too. I have involved in a number of situations where the process had to be rethought. Someone whines that a baby might be born with defect and we can't use this chemical. Someone complains that the dust will give them cancer and we must use a hood. Someone complains that we can't reliably dispose of an agent, and we must switch agents. Sure, we could say who cares if some worker dies. So what? But in each case the change was made, and technology gave us an equal or better solution.

      It is always easier to blame failure of the external forces rather than taking responsibility for a personal lack of creativity. This change is solder is not the first scape goat used by the those that lack innovative solutions, and won't be the last. There will always be firms that say a problem can't be solved, and they will be generally over thrown by those who then find the solution. I think that any number of lazy American firms are discovering that right now, while others are riding the way of can-do innovations.

      • Your comment assumes that higher technology is always better.

        Sometimes what you need is a hammer, not a jackhammer. I'm not convinced the massive failures all over the place that result from using lead-free solder are worth the incremental environmental benefit.

      • by inviolet (797804)

        The lack of lead in solder is a technological issue and as such is solved by more advanced technology. Certainly there are few people here who are opposed to higher technology?

        Sure we can whine about the extra work we are forced to do, or the fact that we have to pay for higher technology, but what good does that do. As technologically savvy people we live for the chance to advance the technology.

        You are talking through your hat.

        Specifically, you are committing the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org].

        RoHS is a serious

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eil (82413)

      And do these problems, in turn, have something to do with RoHS certification, due to lead-free solders being less durable?

      The motherboard is not RoHS compliant, and so presumably was built with lead-based solder. However it seems that most new machines are built with lead-free solders, all of which seem to have various problems.

      That's quite a theory, except that the solder has nothing at all to do with a graphics chip overheating. It holds the components to the board and that's it. These chips are failing i

    • by Animats (122034)

      Lead-free solders have higher melting points than lead-based solders. As a result, soldering now requires tighter temperature and time control. You're operating much closer to the limits at which the parts will be damaged by soldering heat. Considerable effort has gone into working out ways to do lead-free soldering reliably, and it can be done. But it's not easy. There are conferences and much discussion of how to do this right.

      There's also a problem with tin leads used with lead-free solders growing

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wtarreau (324106)

      Probably that RoHS kills hardware, but what kills hardware the most is bad
      design. It is impossible to find a video card which doesn't head in text mode
      these days. Any crappy card for a server will now still have a big burning
      heatsink. That's really unacceptable. I want to be able to use text mode on
      servers and high-res 2D on a workstation without any fan nor big heatsink.

      CPU makers have understood this new trend, but GPU makers have not yet
      because their whole market is targetted at gamers. It's amusing to t

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      There is a correlation between crime rate and lead exposure [washingtonpost.com], a known neurological poison. I'd say a better inflammatory question to have asked, is "Did IT staff give themselves lead poisoning from handling IC boards made with lead solder all these years?" This might explain the BOFH reputation, the guy had lead poisoning. It would also explain why there are so many strange people in the IT industry, e.g. all the paranoid, conspiracy theorists and here on slashdot.
  • by techmuse (160085) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:38PM (#24427977)

    Are any desktop chips affected, or only laptop chips?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Are any desktop chips affected, or only laptop chips?

      According to TFA both desktop and laptop chips are affected.

  • Well, this is interesting timing.

    A month ago my MacBook Pro (17", GeForce 8600) died horribly while I was playing World of Warcraft. It threw a kernel panic every time I started it up, and while the screen worked, it was a mass of vertical lines.

    It looked exactly like the fourth picture in this gallery:
    http://gallery.mac.com/justinhart#100193 [mac.com]

    Apple replaced the motherboard, and I'm fine again, but I never did find out the root cause.

    Hmm...

    • My NV-based HP laptop does that too. The weird thing is, it does it whenever it tries to turn the LCD off for power-saving. The CRT that is attached powers down fine. I'm able to resurrect it by hitting CTRL-ALT-F1 to get to a virtual terminal, then ALT-F7 to get back to X.

    • It happened to a friend of mine, but turned out he spilled coffee on the keyboard and then forgot about it and then the next day tried to power it on and saw the same screen.

      Then again World of Warcraft is a pretty hardcore program, you might have burned something out on your motherboard in one of them Leeroy Jenkins type scenarios your clan got into a while back. I doubt the GeForce 8600 could handle a scenario like that without having to be replaced later. :)

  • Interesting, that I just returned my Lenovo laptop with a NVidia processor just 3 weeks ago since it crapped out.

    OK, the Inquirer's left menu's Review section [pic] is getting way out of hand.

  • To date, abnormal failure rates with systems other than certain notebook systems have not been seen.

    Another educated estimate says about half the parts are potentially affected

    So is it certain notebooks or half of all GPUs Nvidia shipped during a 16 month period? And where did the Enquirer get their "educated estimate?" They then use this "estimate" to assume a failure rate that goes in the divisor part of a rather nasty equation to come up with an outrageous recall estimate, even though there is no recall. Conclusion: Nvidia is going bankrupt. This is journalism?

  • HP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GeekSquadGuy (1336851) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:52PM (#24428111)
    The HP DV2000 DV6000 and DV9000 series laptops are all affected. The BIOS updates just make the fan spin more often, thats it. HP has extended the MFG warranties to 2 years from the date of purchase. At GeekSquad/Best Buy HP has been offering a LOT of replacements for these laptops authorized through HP, but the laptops have to be DOA and sent to service which takes about a week to two weeks. I've sent off atleast 15 HP laptops in the past 6 months for replacement/repair. I give HP some credit for atleast trying to fix the problem and/or replace the whole laptops themselves. I don't know what other MFG's are doing..
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jrumney (197329)
      Only certain product codes are included. I have a DV2175ea, which has a product code outside the range they are extending the warranty for. Its NVidia video chip overheated in March (outside the normal 1 year warranty period, but well within the extended 2 year one).
  • by aztektum (170569) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:05AM (#24428219)

    Sorry, I was distracted by the picture of the BREASTS on TFA page

    • by Matt_R (23461)
      You know... I didn't actually see them until you pointed them out :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ozbird (127571)
      Sorry, I was distracted by the picture of the BREASTS on TFA page

      Fake breasts - don't get too excited (particularly if you have Adblock Plus and Filterset.G installed, in which case you won't see anything.)
  • I have one of these chips in my laptop, and I would rather like it to fail now when the laptop is under warranty rather than later.

    Can anyone come with a good solution?

    I would like it not to be obvious abuse.

    Exactly what kind of activity exercises/heats this chip a lot?

    • Well you might try this idea [slashdot.org]. Apparently roasting marshmallows doesn't void an HP warranty.

      YMMV.
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      3D benchmarking. But that will only heat it to max normal temp, which you are probably already getting to while playing any kind of 3d game. And if you aren't playing games with it, you'll probably not heat it up enough to die sooner than average in the first place.

      I do not think nvidia cards store that they have been overclocked anywhere in the hardware - and it's more unlikely that such would be stored in a laptop version. Thus, if you wiped the hard drive afterwards (assuming the morons at the company
  • Right after I buy a Lenovo IdeaPad where one of the "selling points" was it's nVidia discrete graphics.

  • I have an HP dv9571eo with an nVidia geforce 8400 in it, but the list I've seen with affected HP laptops (can't find the link now) doesn't include the dv9500 series.

  • by citking (551907) <jayNO@SPAMcitking.net> on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:32AM (#24428423) Homepage
    The link to the HP "Service Enhancement" (gotta love marketing) saved my butt. I had a DV2000 laptop do exactly this, just a week or so after reading this [consumerist.com] article on The Consumerist.

    I called HP and, after convincing the tech support guy that removing Vista and installing XP on the laptop did NOT cause the problem, sent it off for repairs in the middle of June. I was given a 2 week time period for it to be finished.

    After a week and a half they sent me an e-mail saying that parts were on order and it might be another week. So July 8th was the new date.

    After the 9th I called HP again and again was told parts were still on order. I was given a new date of July 22nd! I e-mailed HP's CEO [hp.com] and was contacted a few days later. HP said that they had been authorized to replace this series of laptop and asked me to fax in the specs from the broken one, which I did. About 2 weeks later a laptop was shipped to my old address (after having given HP the new one on 3 occasions: when I first called tech support, when I e-mailed the CEO, and when the case manager contacted me).

    The laptop arrived and so far the only thing that doesn't work is DVD burning. Sure, it gets about 92% done, then dies. I've given up though and decided to just not buy HP products anymore.

    To those who are having the problems mentioned for HP I strongly suggest sending an e-mail to Mark Hurd, the CEO. He doesn't write back personally obviously but someone contacted me just a day or two later.

    It's just too bad HP has come to this (whether it's nVidia's fault or not is open to debate) but after an issue arises it is up to the manufacturer to take responsibility for their products. Man, I remember the days of HP meaning quality, the 2, 3, 4, and 5 series of laser printers were slow, sure, but they were steel and lasted forever. Now they sell these plastic pieces of crap that die after a year and, when contacted, all HP will do is give you $50 off of a new one. Wow, did Carly destroy HP or what?

    • by dave562 (969951)
      HP's Proliant server hardware and corporate workstations are still decent pieces of hardware. I wouldn't go anywhere near their consumer line of anything though. I agree with you about their laser printers. The color laserjets are some of the biggest pieces of crap on the market. We just replaced the Laserjet 4plus in my office because my whiny co-worker wanted to print in color. That thing had over a million pages through it and it was still going, albeit slowly.
    • by afidel (530433)
      The 4000 series are pretty damn good printers. Ours need serviced WAY less than our Xerox multifunction devices.
  • by cyclocommuter (762131) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:34AM (#24428445)

    ... I would "stress test" the hell out of it more so if the manufacturer will be replacing it with an Intel or ATI GPU...

    Sure this might be borderline immoral but aren't the laptop manufacturers in conjunction with nVidia acting in bad faith by not replacing the defective laptops with non defective ones? BIOS updates to run the fans all the time is not the real solution.

    • There's not a lot f choice. If I understand this right, *every* chip of the design has the problem, so short of an entirely different notebook, the only option is stopgap or replace and wait for it to fail again. And even if they do send out a new system, all the models/varients that aren't effected would be downgrades. You also have to factor in the chance of failure:

      With the exception of the XPS M1330 (early runs of which have issues with piss poor connections coming loose), none of the models that hav

  • by sectionboy (930605) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:35AM (#24428451)
    Its price is the lowest since 1990 ($4.2 today); Just fired its CEO; Very favorable reviews for upcoming ATI4xxx GPU; Troubles for NV; What do ya thinking?
  • I just recently (within the last two weeks) bought a Macbook Pro. I noticed that the damn thing is running so hot that I can't touch it after a little while. I bought one of those silly Targus USB cooling platforms to rest it on and that thing doesn't make much difference. The laptop is nice. The OS is stable. It runs WoW at 150+fps. Having read this article I'm thinking about taking it back and waiting another six months for them to build a unit that doesn't have such insane heat problems. Seriously
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday August 01, 2008 @01:10AM (#24428679) Homepage

    The USAF had a reliability program that ran from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s which did quite a bit to make electronics more reliable in the field. About 1% of the USAF's "black boxes" were marked with stickers that said something like "USAF Reliability Program Unit - If unit breaks, replace entire unit and send broken unit to ... for analysis".

    When broken units came into the analysis shop, a considerable effort was made to find out exactly which component had failed and how it had failed. This went way beyond normal repair. When a bad part was located, the part was opened up and examined with an electron microscope or X-rayed, as appropriate, to see exactly what had gone wrong.

    The USAF would frequently publish pictures from this program in Aviation Week. You'd see pictures of bad lead joints inside an IC package, too-long internal leads that had failed under high G loads, and bad on-chip etching. Manufacturers of bad parts were named. Inspectors were sent to plants to figure out what had gone wrong with the manufacturing process. The problem got fixed or the supplier stopped getting military contracts.

    This worked well when the military bought most electronic components. By the 1980s, consumer electronics were using electronics at least as sophisticated as the military, and the military had to start using "commercial, off the shelf" components. Today, the USAF has trouble getting any special attention from parts suppliers.

    Auto manufacturers still do things like this. Because they have to pay for recalls, they need to find out why things break and fix the production process, even if it's at a supplier.

  • by Rufus211 (221883) <(rufus-slashdot) (at) (hackish.org)> on Friday August 01, 2008 @02:42AM (#24429189) Homepage

    There is a problem with the chips, there is no doubt about that. However take anything Charlie says about it with a huge truckload of salt. There was a bit of bad blood between Nvidia and Charlie years ago (something like 4 or 5 now), and ever since they've refused to talk to anyone from the Inquirer and Charlie specifically.

    It seems these days that all [theinquirer.net] Charlie [theinquirer.net] does [theinquirer.net] is [theinquirer.net] write [theinquirer.net] long [theinquirer.net] article [theinquirer.net] bashing [theinquirer.net] Nvidia [theinquirer.net]. That is unless he's writing an article that's so over the top that his editor has to pull it [theinquirer.net] (yes, believe it or not, there actually is an editor in charge of all those pieces).

    Go read dell or HP forums and EE times. Read The Inq only if you want some amusement to see how amazingly slanted of a story can be produced.

    • by DeanFox (729620) * <.spam.myname. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday August 01, 2008 @07:09AM (#24430445)

      It seems these days that all Charlie does is write long article bashing Nvidia. That is unless he's writing an article that's so over the top that his editor has to pull it (yes, believe it or not, there actually is an editor in charge of all those pieces).

      "The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it." - George Bernard Shaw

      The question you raise I'll restate as: Is what Charlie saying wrong? I prefer Nvidia to ATI because of their Linux drivers. But drivers alone a complete system does not make. Real is real and the truth is truth.

      -[d]-

  • GPU-Z and What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday August 01, 2008 @12:56PM (#24436079)
    Okay, time to download GPU-Z and look for what? How are the bad chips specifically identified by a user whose computer manufacturer is still stonewalling? Do it say Nvidia G84 or G86, or just LOOK OUT?

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