In July of last year, Nvidia admitted in an SEC filing that some notebook chips were failing at “higher than normal rates.” According to the filing, Nvidia said it would incur a $150 to $200 million charge for the quarter, with the money covering warranty, repair and return and replacement.
A stock-bloodbath such as this is never good news for a company, however, vice president Ujesh Desai said at this year's Computex that, despite the effect on Nvidia’s reputation, computer builders are still choosing the company’s graphics cores and are actually increasing their usage this year. According to Electronista, Desai said that trying to fix the problem quickly helped preserve much of that business. "None of the OEMs held that against us or anything," Desai is cited as saying. "I think we stepped up and we did a good job with how we handled that."
That said, just because OEMs have all but forgotten, that doesn’t mean Nvidia’s problems are over. In May of this year, news got out that five people were suing Nvidia. The group feels that the measures undertaken by Nvidia are not enough and are seeking full replacement of the faulty chips along with unspecified damages.
Rather than recall faulty notebooks, manufacturers of laptops affected have gone through certain steps to help cover the problem. HP and Dell extended warranties and released new BIOS software that increased the fan speed to better cool the GPU – hopefully warding off any defects from showing up. Apple promised owners of the GeForce 8600M GT-equipped that it would repair for free any faulty GPUs within two years of purchase date, regardless of Apple Care coverage.
"This is a grossly inadequate 'remedy,' as it results in additional manifest defects, including, without limitation, further degraded battery life, system performance and increased noise in the Class Computers," the plaintiffs said in a legal filing.
"Worse, this 'remedy' fails to solve the actual problem. Instead, this measure only ensures that the Class Computers will fail after the OEM's express warranty period expires, potentially leaving consumers with a defective computer and no immediate recourse," the lawsuit continues. "Finally, even after this purported 'update,' video and system performance is still degraded due to unacceptably high heat and part failures.
We’ll keep you posted on how the suit turns out but it seems Nvidia thinks that it has done its part for the consumer, while its customers think differently. Do you think Nvidia’s effort to remedy the situation fell short? Let us know in the comments below.
Probably just a small sample, but it's good that NVIDIA is recovery rather instantaneous on this mishap.
"Yes, we know your notebook will fail, and we know why. But no, we wont fix it, we'll just make sure your warranty is up before it does fail. Sorry." Thanks Nvidia! (I've only had one 8600 equiped notebook fail on me, but one is enough.)
Through normal use and wear and tear, I have accumulated about $800 worth of repairs all paid for by HP/bestbuy all due to the 3 year accidental/protection plan I got on it (was $350 on a $2100 notebook). Now the same plan (which still has a year on it) is also helping me sell the laptop to someone else. Easily paid itself off. I only had a go 7600 (so G73 I believe) and was safe from this, but had it been a problem, I would have been mad all of about 10 minutes, then packed it up and dropped off at BestBuy and forgot about it. Peace of mind can be VERY worth the cost of a protection plan.