nVidia Laptop GPUs Breaking

Inside "significant quantities" of systems apparently.

nVidia may be happily sitting on the “world’s fastest graphics card” throne with the GeForce GTX 280 but all isn’t well in paradise. According to a “Second Quarter Fiscal 2009 Business Update” published yesterday, nVidia is having some problems with its older notebook GPUs.

Specifically, according to CEO Jen-Hsun Huang:

“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.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, nVidia is being entirely unspecific as to what graphics chips systems configurations are affected by these problems. Huang did suggest that the problems arise from certain combinations of nVidia GPUs and other system components – again not specified – rather than being entirely the fault of the GPU.

Nonetheless, the company is setting aside “$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 system.”

More information is going to be made available in a further update in August, whereupon we hope to be told exactly what systems are experiencing these problems. For now though, try not to get too paranoid if you happen to have an nVidia graphics chip in your notebook.


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