There’s something seriously wrong with Nvidia’s 8M series chipset. Officially, Nvidia says they tend to have them overheat, leading to a “higher-than-normal” failure rate. The solutions so far have tended to be driver-centric, with Nvidia recommending people update their laptop drivers with varieties from the manufacturer that will kick in the fan sooner… and drain your battery life. Obviously, though, this solution’s not going to fly, and Nvidia’s worried enough that they recently announced that to fix the problem, they were going to need to take a $150m-$200m hit on their earnings for the quarter. Stock prices tumbled at the announcement.
But it may be way, way worse than that. According to The Inquirer, its not just the laptop 8M series that’s having problems. It’s every card with a G84 or G86 chipset. “Period. No exceptions.” But Nividia’s being reticent about exactly how widespread the problem actually is:
[M]ultiple analysts also told us that NV specifically told them that this problem is confined only to HP. I wonder why Dell is having failures in huge numbers for their XPS lines and replacing them with ATI parts? Why is Asus having similar problems? Go check the message boards, any notebooks that came with G84s and G86s have boards filled with dead machine problems. Most of these, especially on the NV forums are being quashed and removed by admins, so act quickly and take screenshots of your posts.
Basically, NV seems to have told each analyst a highly personalised version of the story, and stonewalls everyone else who asks. Why? The magnitude of the problem is huge. If Dell and HP hold their feet to the fire, anyone want to bet that $200 million won’t cover it?
And its not just Vista laptops that are being affected, either: it appears that every single MacBook Pro for the last year is also affected. Granted, this is all coming from The Inquirer, which tends to be bombastic. But if even if this is all only half-true, Nvidia’s got a serious problem on its hands… one that is likely to cost a lot more than $200m to put right.
All Nvidia G84 and G86s are bad [The Inquirer]