HP issues fixes, updates warranty for Nvidia chip issues

— 6:00 AM on July 30, 2008

Just like Dell, HP has decided to issue a BIOS fix for laptops that feature potentially faulty Nvidia chips. HP has also gone a step further, covering affected notebooks with a "limited warranty service enhancement" that's valid for two years from the start of the regular warranty coverage period.

The official HP information page lists 24 notebooks in the HP Pavilion dv2000/dv6000/dv9000 and Compaq Presario V3000/V6000 series. Folks experiencing the tell-tale symptoms of GPU failure may get their laptops serviced for free under the warranty "enhancement." Symptoms include a lack of video output, a non-booting system, and also seemingly unrelated issues like a dead Wi-Fi adapter and a wonky battery charge light.

HP says owners of the above notebooks who haven't run into show-stopping issues should update their BIOSes to ward off future problems. As with Dell systems, the new HP BIOSes tweak fan control algorithms in order to keep GPUs running cooler. (HP says this algorithm "turns the fan on at low volume while your notebook PC is operational.") You'll find BIOS update instructions on the information page.

CNet News learned some additional details from an HP spokesman. The rep explained, "We initiated a customer program to address this issue in November 2007, and have notified registered customers who have notebook PC models that are included in this HP program. . . . HP became aware of this issue when we began performing an investigation based on field performance data." That means Nvidia may have learned about the issue long before first discussing it publicly earlier this month.

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