Nvidia warns of high failure rates

July 7, 2008 | 09:01

Tags: #failure #filing #gpu #heat #laptop #notebook #profits #sec #warranty #weak

Companies: #nvidia

Graphics card manufacturer Nvidia has warned investors to expect rough times ahead due to high failure rates of “previous generation” devices.

Betanews has quoted a filing made by Nvidia to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in which the company warns that it will take a “$150 million to $200 million charge against cost of revenue to cover anticipated customer warranty, repair, return, replacement and other consequential costs and expenses arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of our previous generation MCP and GPU products used in notebook systems.

Although the identity of the affected products is not given in the filing, the company goes on to state that the chips were “included in a number of notebook products that were shipped and sold in significant quantities,” and that “certain notebook configurations of these MCP and GPU products are failing in the field at higher than normal rates.

With the root cause of the failure still unknown, the company is suggesting that the failures may be due to the excess heat: the current plan, pending a possible recall, is to issue a software patch which will keep the fan permanently on in order to reduce the sky-high failure rates. Not an ideal solution, really – especially as many laptops, typically those with high-end discrete graphics, tend to sound like jet-engines once the fan kicks in.

Nvidia finishes its filing by assuring vendors that the issue caused by a weak material set is not causing “any abnormal failure rates in any systems using NVIDIA products other than certain notebook configurations,” but ominously ends with the statement “there can be no assurance that we will not discover defects in other MCP or GPU products.

Are there any bit-tech readers with a Nvidia-powered notebook that's been misbehaving recently? Perhaps you're feeling a little smug about choosing ATI? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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