Hewlett-Packard said on Tuesday (opens in new tab) that it has identified a high rate of motherboard failures in its popular Pavilion line of desktop PCs built in June and July 2010. The company said these system boards have a "slightly higher than expected failure rate" although a specific problem wasn't addressed.
According to the announcement, the affected machines include Pavilion Elite HPE-4xx, Pavilion P66xx and Pavilion Slimline S5660f desktops. "[These] computers may experience no video at start up and stop responding," said HP in its email to desktop owners.
The affected machines won't be recalled, but rather HP will extend their warranty for another twelve months. Customers who already have an expired warranty will have one year to report the problem. Either way, HP will replace the motherboard free of charge, and will even pay for round-trip shipping.
According to HP's support document, symptoms of motherboard failure include: (1) computer powers on with no video, no beeps; (2) computer locks up at the POST screen or reboots; (3) computer constantly reboots. Affected users are encouraged to check the model name and product number, check the serial number, and then contact HP's customer service. Only 20 models are listed as potential returns.
"A small percentage of systems in the serial number range have experienced or may experience one or more of the symptoms," HP said. "After HP repairs your computer, you will continue to be covered by the HP Limited Warranty Service Enhancement program for 24 months after the start of your original standard limited warranty, or 90 days after receiving your free repair, whichever is later."
Only U.S. and Canadian customers are eligible for the warranty extension and possible free motherboard exchange. For more information about the problem, head here (opens in new tab).
And how long did it take for HP to notice a "slightly higher than expected failure rate"?
It's not just those - the Intel DV2000/6000/9000 series and some of the newer DV6/7, etc. models also had issues. The thermal sensor didn't operate properly so the threshold temperatures for faster fan operation never registered. The board components couldn't handle the extra heat, so the board would literally cook.
Not only that, but I've personally seen DOZENS of AMD Vision laptops in my computer repair shop with the same problems (no POST motherboard fault) as the NVIDIA chipset boards.
The problem is HP. Either they just have bad engineers working for them (unless they contract them out too) or else they aren't paying their OEM's enough money to make quality parts.