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Sony Offering Support for Faulty Nvidia GPUs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 31 comments

It's about time.

While HP, Dell and Apple have already admitted that its products are victims of the Nvidia GPU packaging issue, it took Sony a little longer to step up for its Vaio customers.

Earlier this month Sony finally issued an official statement (see here for image of statement) regarding its laptops that feature the faulty GPUs. It reads as follows:

In July 2008, Nvidia publicly acknowledged a failure associated with some of their graphics processors (GPU) due to a manufacturing defect in the graphics chip packaging. At that time Sony and Nvidia jointly investigated whether Vaio models equipped with this GPU were impacted by the issue. This investigation revealed that the issue had not occurred in such Vaio models.

However, after closely monitoring the situation, Sony has now determined that a very small percentage of computers with the Nvidia graphics chips may be affected.

These PCs may exhibit distorted video, random characters or a blank screen due to failure of the Nvidia graphics chips.

As part of our commitment to quality, for any customer who requires repair of their Vaio due to the Nvidia graphics processor issue, Sony will cover the cost of repair (parts and labor) at no charge during the first four years following the date of purchase of the models in question (see list below).

In case your model is shown in the list below, we invite you to contact Vaio support to arrange service for your Vaio.

  • VGN-FZ11x, VGN-FZ18x, VGN-FZ21x, VGN-FZ31x, VGN-FZ38x,
  • VGN-AR11x, VGN-AR21x, VGN-AR31x,
  • VGN-C1Zx, VGN-C2Zx,
  • VGC-LM1xx, VGC-LM2xx,
  • VGC-LT1xx, VGC-LT2xx.

Nvidia recently revealed that the faulty GPU cost its business $119.1 million in the last quarter. Were you affected by the Nvidia faulty GPU flaw? If so, and it was a Vaio, at least now you're covered!

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  • 1 Hide
    jay236 , August 12, 2009 3:26 AM
    4 years? I'm only getting a crappy 2 years coverage from Dell...however I guess there's nothing to be jealous about since manufacturers only replace it with another defective refurbished board.
  • 4 Hide
    rpmrush , August 12, 2009 5:36 AM
    Nvidia will be around. The green team is strong and innovative. What kind of attention does Nvidia graphics require? I'm running a 9600GTM 1GB in this laptop now. It runs cool and quiet. I'm running an Nvidia card in my desktop as well. Understandably, mobile graphics cards had heat issues. ATI had issues as well. They weren't near as popular in the mobile market. Power and heat efficieny are up and mobile technologies are finally maturing. ATI and Nvidia have decent offerings. Nvidia is stepping up to their mistake. It took a minute, but no biz is quick to throw themselves under the bus.
  • 2 Hide
    gcolefla , August 12, 2009 6:48 AM
    now all I need is for Asus to step up to the plate. I have a $1000 laptop with a faulty 8600 gt waiting to be fixed. They would not help me out at all.
  • 5 Hide
    matchboxmatt , August 12, 2009 6:48 AM
    This stuff reminds me of Sony's bad battery incident. Every other company that has to issue a recall is gonna have costumers that feel spurned from having a defective product.

    You can pay all the money in the world to fix your mistake, but you can't buy back the customer's trust. Just feels like they should take extra steps to prevent stuff like this from happening.
  • 1 Hide
    Zoonie , August 12, 2009 7:08 AM
    Finally! We VAIO owners have been screaming our lungs out for this one!
  • 0 Hide
    techguy378 , August 12, 2009 7:52 AM
    Nvidia thoroughly tested the specific model of GPU chips that were being used in the affected Sony laptops and found absolutely no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure what Sony is talking about since Nvidia knows these chips a lot better than Sony does.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 12, 2009 9:04 AM
    I think it's important to note that although HP put up their hand regarding the Nvidia problem some time ago, they only consented to fixing laptops that had the defective chip + an AMD processor. Everyone with a dodgy Nvidia chip + an Intel processor has been left out in the cold.

    Their own forums are teeming with upset users and dedicated sites such as HPLies.com have been set up to highlight HP's terrible customer support on the issue. I am one of the many thousands with an expensive paperwieght. Thanks HP.

    At least Dell, Apple and Sony are fixing all laptops with the defective chip.
  • 1 Hide
    Zoonie , August 12, 2009 9:33 AM
    techguy378Nvidia thoroughly tested the specific model of GPU chips that were being used in the affected Sony laptops and found absolutely no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure what Sony is talking about since Nvidia knows these chips a lot better than Sony does.


    I seriously hope you're being sarcastic. That was Sony's excuse for not offering any support until now.
  • 0 Hide
    howardp6 , August 12, 2009 10:22 AM
    HP is only allowing two years, by the time my HP DV3000 had issues it was out of extended wanrantee, For the ones with motherboards that were defective, but showed no issues right away HP had a BIOs the boosted the fan speed at the expense of battery life, so the mother boards would last long enough to be out of the extended period. So much for the largest PC marketer. NVidia initially denied any responsibility.
  • 0 Hide
    andy_newton , August 12, 2009 12:34 PM
    What about Sony VAIO owners who had paid for any $$$ for nVidia related problems outside of warranty?

    Will Sony refund their money like what Apple has been doing? Dell & HP are definitely doing their best so that their customers get the world's worst service ever.

    -ND
  • -1 Hide
    nachowarrior , August 12, 2009 12:50 PM
    the word "support" needs to be replaced with the word "replacements"
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , August 12, 2009 1:00 PM
    sorry but after this whole bad deal id rather avoid nvidia for the next few years and stick with intel/ati video chips and steer clear of hp/compaq - you shall not see any $$$ from me

    nvidia has had more issues then there letting on about - iv seen far too many 8400, 8500 and 8600's come back through my shop fronts aswell as too many 9800GTX+'s to want to even concider buying one of there products

    in the past i have not been the biggest ATi fan but now the next choice in video card will more then likely be ATi - i dont want to find out my card will last only a short time and not be covered by a manufacturers fault

    nvidia - ill pass thankyou
  • 1 Hide
    nachowarrior , August 12, 2009 1:09 PM
    ta152hAnyone stupid enough to get something from Nvidia deserves what they get. They have nice features, and sometimes good performance, but they also have more problems than Intel solutions. Only for hobbyists, who don't mind the extra attention they need, do they make sense. For the general public, who play solitaire, and spades, Intel is just a better solution. Fewer problems, better support, and a much surer future. Nvidia will be belly-up soon, with AMD and Intel integrating more into their processors, and Nvidia not being allowed to make Nehalem/Lynnfield compatible chipsets. Discrete graphics will be all they can sell into, and that's a lot smaller a market than they can sell into today. I doubt they'll make it, but let's see if their obnoxious CEO is as clever as he says they are. You never know.


    actually if you were up to speed on ANYTHING the aforementioned companies are doing with gpu's it makes TONS of sense to get a decent gpu in ANY product you buy. here's a list of examples to help squish your ignorance.

    1)nvidia tegra and ion platforms - simply put great video accelleration, both high def and below, making mobile devices play the kind of content they wouldn't normally be able to play, also saving power while doing so.

    2)windows 7 & gpgpu capabilities - The massive parallelism that gpu's employ make for great little processors and now software engineers are employing gpu's in their bag of tricks to make most functions you do quicker. as this applies to the next gen of windows and current gens of ubuntu alone (it makes things look pretty AND run fast) something cpu's alone can't do.

    3)saves money, TONS OF IT - GPGPU applications are saving, quite literally, millions of dollars and precious TIME. Next time a woman in your life goes in for a breast exam ask about the details. Rather than rendering images of the breast (after squishing the crap out of it) on multi million dollar super computers utilizing only cpu's and taking upwards of 2-4 weeks to get the results back, they can now do so on a 5000 dollar multi-gpu "gaming" machine in around 45 minutes. THIS is where innovation in the public sector drives life saving innovation in the health industry.

    4)television - you think those decoders and displays would look so great if it wern't for discerning people that buy high end rendering & display devices? I think not. Some of the biggest industries left still in america (and the world) stem from what gpu's push in the tech sector, if not directly than indirectly. Raising our standards for what your hard earned cash can get you performance wise.

    In short, things like this apply to your every day life and conveniences that were once not there are there now. So next time you open your ignorant mouth and say that crap hole graphics solutions are a good thing, think twice and consider that it took some 1.7 million hours of rendering for movies that you enjoy such as cars and transformers. (those are just including the frames they did use). Granted nvidia did make a mistake wit some of their 8xxx series graphics solutions, but this is in direct correlation to ROHS standards and they are not the only company that had problems getting new types of solder to adhere to boards. Dell/asus had a huge headache with their manufacturing process when switching over and that news comes directly from an industry insider, or to me more precise the man that makes all of the communications between dell and asus and handles the accounts.

    In this case, ignorance is not bliss. ignorance is your headache when your cpu performance and battery life drops because you chose a graphics chip that can't perform up to standards.
  • -1 Hide
    leon2006 , August 12, 2009 2:00 PM
    i returned my affected notebook after i learned about the nvidia gpu problem. I got a new one that is not affected...
  • 0 Hide
    avatar_raq , August 12, 2009 3:42 PM
    matchboxmattThis stuff reminds me of Sony's bad battery incident. Every other company that has to issue a recall is gonna have costumers that feel spurned from having a defective product.You can pay all the money in the world to fix your mistake, but you can't buy back the customer's trust. Just feels like they should take extra steps to prevent stuff like this from happening.

    It's impossible to prevent such things 100%..On the contrary, I feel more confident when buying from a manufacturer that admits his rare mistakes and fix them for the customers
  • 0 Hide
    t3chb0y , August 12, 2009 5:42 PM
    @ jay 236

    At least they're still repairing...HP isn't repairing laptops anymore for the most part unless one takes it up to the CEO. Pretty sad really.
  • 0 Hide
    techguy378 , August 12, 2009 6:38 PM
    ZoonieI seriously hope you're being sarcastic. That was Sony's excuse for not offering any support until now.


    This wasn't some cost cutting measure from Sony to screw customers over. Sony had Nvidia preemptively test the affected models of the GPU chips in question and Nvidia found no problems. It wasn't until very recently that Sony started getting customer complaints about this issue so they decided to reinvestigate the issue.
  • 0 Hide
    dawn323 , August 12, 2009 7:46 PM
    i boycotted nvidia products for this very failure. look, i spent $1400 on a Dell XPS that is now a paper weight because Jen-Hsung Huang wants to save a buck.

    for all of you who have been affected by this: do you NOT realize how badly nvidia has f***ed us over? they will NOT fix the problem, simply replace the chip with ANOTHER faulty chip that will simply fail again. this process will continue until your warranty expires and you are left with essentially having paid the OEM money to not get any working product in return.

    this is an absolute consumer outrage. if you've been affected by this problem i suggest you boycott all nvidia products. don't believe the pretty face nvidia and the OEMs try to put on the issue. they aren't fixing the problem and they likely never will.
  • -2 Hide
    nachowarrior , August 12, 2009 8:31 PM
    dawn323i boycotted nvidia products for this very failure. look, i spent $1400 on a Dell XPS that is now a paper weight because Jen-Hsung Huang wants to save a buck. for all of you who have been affected by this: do you NOT realize how badly nvidia has f***ed us over? they will NOT fix the problem, simply replace the chip with ANOTHER faulty chip that will simply fail again. this process will continue until your warranty expires and you are left with essentially having paid the OEM money to not get any working product in return. this is an absolute consumer outrage. if you've been affected by this problem i suggest you boycott all nvidia products. don't believe the pretty face nvidia and the OEMs try to put on the issue. they aren't fixing the problem and they likely never will.


    As it may be certain companies fixing (or not fixing) the problem, your assumption that it was done to save money is incorrect. the problem is new materials that are being worked with in the industry now. ati, via, and intel could very well have had the same problem, and likely did. it's just that when you bottle up a hot gpu in a system with almost no airflow comes the problem. If your system has good airflow and if you would have updated the firmware you'd likely still have a nicely working laptop. and yes Dell did release a firmware fix, they were the first of the 'major manufacturers' to do so. On the other hand, you also have third party tweak tools that would have fixed the problem as well. Don't get me wrong, i'm not saying it's not a bad thing here, but it only arose due to lack of cooling, and nvidia really has nothing to do with that unless you bought an nvidia branded card, not a 3rd party manufactured card. There are pleanty of systems that have the affected GPU's in them, that are working just fine because the air flow is properly adjusted. But you don't hear about those because people won't state their opinions in unison unless to complain. The short of what i'm getting at... the mfg's of particular cards had underwhelming cooling solutions, hence why it's mostly affecting laptops. If you don't believe me then go ahead and do the research.
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