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Dell Releases BIOS Updates for Failing Nvidia GPUs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 6 comments

Round Rock (TX) - Dell is offering BIOS updates to mitigate the effects of faulty GPUs shipped by Nvidia. The BIOS upgrade will not "repair" the GPU, but Dell hopes that the update will alleviate problems caused by the chip in most usage scenarios and make the Nvidia GPUs more usable.

Dell has prepped the BIOS update for ten notebook PCs in the Inspiron, Latitude, Precision, Vostro and XPS series and if you have a product that is affected by a failing GPU, flashing your BIOS is certainly a good idea. The update delivers what Dell calls "enhanced thermal control," which basically consists of a capability to moderate the fan speed to mitigate GPU temperature fluctuations.

It is a quick fix that will not correct the entire problem, which is based on a weak die packaging material set. Dell said that the update won’t be problem solution especially for those who already experience issues such as multiple images, random characters on the screen lines on the screen and no video playback capability.

Customers should contact customer service, which Dell promised will work on a case-by-case basis to resolve the issue. Depending on your warranty, you may have to send in your notebook or you could be entitled to on-site support, if you own a XPS system. Repair will generally require the motherboard to be exchanged, Dell spokeswoman Anne Camden told TG Daily. She declined to comment on the number of systems affected and the average repair cost.

However, Nvidia recently noted that it expects total the GPU issue to cost the company about $200 million.

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  • 1 Hide
    Darkk , July 29, 2008 3:25 AM
    Think I will stick with AMD/ATI platforms for now.
  • 0 Hide
    tipmen , July 29, 2008 6:09 AM
    AMD/ATI has been lucky so far which I honestly don't mind. NVIDIA had the top for too long. I love the fact I can buy a 4850 for 150-140 depending on where you go. What also makes me happy is the price war they are having. I don't know if it’s good for the companies to do that. This must take a beating on their profit which equals lower quality and less research money. 
  • 0 Hide
    shachar2 , July 29, 2008 11:17 AM
    dell has a 3rd party that does it's bios updates, dell doesn't manage it directly.
    all this big talk simply means spinning the fan more, that's all that's the only thing they can do.

    they thought x temperature was okey but since the problem they're going to reduce it to x-y so that the fan will spin more
  • Display all 6 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    warezme , July 29, 2008 12:07 PM
    First off, having ATI/AMD is no guarantee your video chip will never die, no ones is. Second there is no way in hell I would install this lame bios because all it does is reduce the speed of the GPU to reduce thermals. If I wanted a slow a** video card I would have opted for the built in Intel. I didn't pay extra so Nvidia could cheap out on their fix to their problem. Replace the darn things and get it over with.
  • 2 Hide
    NITRO-X , July 29, 2008 5:17 PM
    How about Toms does an investigation into this matter?? It seems to me that nVidia is trying to make this massive problem go away when the truth is they are issuing these BIOS updates to try to limp the laptops by until they are OFF WARRANTY!
    What an absolute ripoff. nVidia is simply trying to get around liability.
  • 0 Hide
    invlem , July 30, 2008 6:24 PM
    This would explain a few things. We recently replaced a Precision notebook at work because it would start throwing artifacts onto the screen about 15 minutes after boot.

    Dell replaced the whole laptop as they apparently were out of replacement graphics cards for that model.