It appears that Nvidia’s notebook chips aren’t the only ones that could be defective, if an Inquirer report is to be believed.
According to sources, the entire line of G84 and G86 chips all suffer from the same defect, regardless of desktop or notebook application. The chip generation utilizes the same Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), which supposedly has an issue with an “unnamed substrate or bumping material, and it is heat related.”
As expected, Nvidia is staying mum on the topic, but analysts are spilling various details. One story is that HP was the recipient for the majority of the defective chips – only limited to a specific batch. Further explanation reveals that it was isolated to an end-of-life batch that used a different bonding/substrate process.
The story with HP didn’t fly with the Inq, as it believes that no changes in process were made throughout the chip’s cycle, leading to suspicions that the defect is widespread. Furthermore, Dell responded quickly to failure reports by quickly issuing a BIOS update that pumped up the cooling for the vulnerable chip parts, which clearly shows that the problem ventured beyond just HP. Now HP has also a new BIOS to run the fan at all times at the expense of battery life.
While evidence may point to only notebook chips being afflicted, one theory is that notebook chips go though more stress than their desktop counterparts. Notebooks are power cycled more often, and by extension the GPUs go through more heat cycles – quickly exposing the defect. GPUs in notebooks may also be harder to cool, with less space for elaborate heatsinks and fans.
Unfortunately for owners of Nvidia G84 and G86 hardware, this could just be the tip of a very troubled iceberg.