Dell patches laptops to avoid Nvidia chip failures

— 6:00 AM on July 28, 2008

Almost a month ago, Nvidia owned up to problems surrounding its mobile chipsets and graphics processors. In the firm's own words, "Certain notebook configurations with GPUs and MCPs manufactured with a certain die/packaging material set are failing in the field at higher than normal rates."

Nvidia maintains the failures only affect a tiny number of mobile chips, but Dell has opted to err on the side of caution by releasing firmware updates for several of its notebooks. Dell says the updates tweak fan-controller profiles to "help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations"—in other words, fans will probably spin faster in order to keep potentially failure-prone Nvidia chips cooler. Of course, firmware updates probably won't do much for notebooks that already exhibit failure symptoms (like garbled images or a lack thereof).

The firmware patches are available for Inspiron 1420, Latitude D630, Latitude D630c, Precision M2300, Vostro 1310, Vostro 1400, Vostro 1510, Vostro 1710, XPS M1330, and XPS M1530 systems. You'll find download links right on Dell's blog page.

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