Five different lawsuits, from owners of Apple, Dell and HP laptops have combined their lawsuits against NVIDIA over defective GPUs that were shipped in possibly millions of computers.
In some cases, OEMs have modified the BIOS
in an attempt to keep the GPUs from overheating, but the change reduces battery life and performance.
NVIDIA admitted to issues earlier in July 2008, in and SEC filing, when it said it was taking a $150 - $200 million charge to cover (emphasis ours):
... anticipated customer warranty, repair, return, replacement and other consequential costs and expenses arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of our previous generation MCP and GPU products used in notebook systems. All newly manufactured products and all products currently shipping in volume have a different and more robust material set.
All three manufacturers have extended warranties for affected laptops, although as indicated above, HP and Dell both began with BIOS updates. The problematic GPUs could cause display corruption, or even fail completely.
What the plaintiffs want is for all the affected GPUs to be replaced in all of the laptops that were affected. As the text of the combined lawsuit (.PDF
Exacerbating matters, NVIDIA is trying to avoid a recall by having its OEM (“Original Equipment Manufacturer”) partners recommend consumers download and install a “BIOS update,” which turns on the computer’s fan more frequently or continuously. 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.
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. Finally, even after using this purported “update,” video and system performance is still degraded due to unacceptably high heat and part failures.
The plaintiffs are seeking class action status for the lawsuit, and and if the suit is successful, that NVIDIA replace the faulty chips and pay unspecified damages.