A while ago we wrote that nVidia was experiencing some problems with its last generation of mobile GPUs, namely the 8xxx-series. While nVidia wouldn't detail at the time what systems were affected, Dell may have answered that question for us by offering up a set of fixes for systems that may experience failure brought on by graphics chips overheating.
Dell says that:
"The issue is a weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with GPU temperature fluctuations. If your GPU fails, you may see intermittent symptoms during early stages of failure that include:
* Multiple images
* Random characters on the screen
* Lines on the screen
* No video
Dell recommends that you flash your system BIOS. Each of these BIOS updates listed ... modifies the fan profile to help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations. Note: if you are already experiencing video-related issues like the bullet points above, updating the BIOS will not correct them."
The systems which could suffer from the problems detailed above are as follows:
If you have one of these notebooks with an nVidia graphics chip, then you should seriously consider clicking link above and download the latest BIOS for that machine. While it might not guarantee your graphics card won't die, it should at least reduce the likelihood significantly.
It seems fairly likely by now that any system likely to fail will probably already have done so, but for the worried having a way of decreasing the chance of needing a new system will doubtless be welcome. We can but hope that either nVidia will come up with an across the board fix or other manufacturers wil do as Dell has and fix things themselves.