Dell Issues NVIDIA GPU Update To Laptop Owners

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News Posted: Sun, Jul 27 2008 1:12 AM

In a business update call earlier this month, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang went on record detailing the impact of certain NVIDIA notebook GPU failures that have been reported and the one time charge the company would have to take against the cost of revenue for Q2 of this year.  The blank check was estimated at the time to be in the range of $100 - $150 million for coverage of anticipated warranty, repair and replacement costs of failed product with major notebook manufacturers.  As a result, as we reported, NVIDIA's stock tumbled hard on Wall Street to the extent that some analysts were calling it a buy opportunity. 

Further, NVIDIA's Huang noted on the call, "This has been a challenging experience for us. However, the lessons we've learned will help us build far more robust products in the future, and become a more valuable system design partner to our customers. As for the present, we have switched production to a more robust die/package material set and are working proactively with our OEM partners to develop system management software that will provide better thermal management to the GPU".

Fast forward to this past Friday and at least Dell appears to be taking initiative on the matter, assembling specific calls to actions for their customers in an effort to offer proactive support.  Dell Chief Blogger, Lionel Menchaca noted the problems observed on certain Dell machines were, as follow:



  •  Multiple images

  • Random characters on the screen

  • Lines on the screen

  • No video
Menchaca goes on to note that Dell is offering a BIOS update that will modify the system's "fan profile" thus mitigating potential for GPU failures in the future.  Menchaca also pointed out however that these BIOS updates would not resolve GPU anomalies that were already being observed.  Here's a quick list of the available BIOS updates from Dell:

 
Source:  Dell


So in short, you have the option of updating your BIOS, which will likely turn up your fan speed and potentially make your notebook slightly louder, in hopes that you don't have issues down the road. Otherwise, you can have your system repaired or replaced by Dell if you're still in warranty and are seeing anomalies.  We'd suggest being aggressive about getting that notebook serviced by the factory if you're still in warranty, rather than hoping that down the road, you don't have issues, which of course always happens at least two days beyond warranty coverage.  All of this just means that the pain will continue to flow back down hill towards the good folks at NVIDIA as well.  Buy low, sell high.  Isn't that what they say?  




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kid007 replied on Mon, Jul 28 2008 6:32 AM
when would they learn? this is not the first time nvidia has mess up like this... and they are still doing it, ATI got their issue fixed finally and they made a awesome mid side card (3450) w/out any issue...

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nECrO1967 replied on Mon, Jul 28 2008 1:02 PM
Not to mention shorter battery life with that fan running 24/7.

Every affected GPU should be replaced weather or not it is still in warranty. Period. They sold a defective product and should be held responsible for replacing defective parts. Period.

NVidia and Dell are both spinning this like mad at their customers expense. Shame on them. There is credible evidence that EVERY chip in those families is affected. NOT just the laptop variants. I smell litigation......

I used to carry a hammer in my computer tool kit. Just for fixing the packard Bells though.......

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kid007 replied on Mon, Jul 28 2008 9:46 PM
Dell has not been very reliable "cough" not even with their xps system...

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vhall replied on Fri, Aug 1 2008 3:06 PM

 Looks like those models effected are the ones with Nvidia graphics built into the motherboard.No Inspiron 1520,1720,or Vostro

1500,1700 with the video daughtercard.Many (including me) wondered about cooling issues when these were released.Only one fan

to cool 2 processors just doesn't make sense.Hopfully Nvidia will step up and fix those effected machines.If not There will be a lot unhappy

owners when these laptops start dying out of warrenty.

 

 

 

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timada replied on Mon, Nov 3 2008 7:39 AM

I brought one of the vostro laptops recently and started to see all the problems mentioned. Very happy to see there is always an update to fix this. Dell are always efficient and helpful in my experience.

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