Hardly late breaking news regarding the defective Nvidia mobile chips in MacBook Pros. Nvidia originally assured Apple that its Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT based MacBook Pros had narrowly averted the defect – Apple now counters back saying it was actually not so lucky.
"In July 2008, Nvidia publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, Nvidia assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the Nvidia graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within two years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty."
Units that are potentially affected are 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro notebooks containing Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT GPUs built within a rather large time-frame window, between May 2007 and September 2008. Apple has advised that customers should look for “distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen” or “no video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on.” Although these issues could also be caused due to other issues that are non-related, Apple is instructing those who believe they are affected by the actual issue to take their notebooks to Apple stores or authorized service providers. Apple has also stated that they will reimburse those customers that have already paid for repairs related to this specific issue.
As HotHardware had reported back in August, it was becoming quite apparent from the flood of comments on Apple’s own user forums that MacBook Pros were in fact suffering from the same problems as notebooks from other manufacturers using Nvidia mobile GPUs. It is not known at this time if the same issue for Apple was more difficult to deal with, or if Apple just spent more time with due diligence.
Nvidia had publicly admitted back on July 2nd of this year that “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.”. As a result of this the company had announced that it would “take a one-time charge from US150 million to US$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 version of its previous generation GPU and MCP products used in notebook systems.”
For the record, on October 14th (Next Tuesday), Apple will be holding a media event titled “ The spotlight turns to notebooks .” Apple is expected to announce new notebook models. Rumors and speculation point to less expensive notebook models (sub $800 range) and new MacBook Pros with more advanced GPUs either from ATI or Nvidia that are capable of running modern 3D games. ATI or Nvidia? Guess we will just have to wait and see.