Report: some Diamond Radeon HD 3800s are failing

— 10:44 AM on September 24, 2008

Nvidia may not be the only company with GPUs failing at abnormal rates. TG Daily reports that AMD partner Diamond Multimedia shipped 15,000-20,000 Radeon HD 3800 graphics cards suffering from "design/manufacturing defects" between January and July.

The affected cards reportedly include all Radeon HD 3850s with 512MB of memory sold in that time frame, along with a "substantial number" of Radeon HD 3870 512MB and Radeon HD 3870 X2 offerings. TG Daily claims the 3850s have "quality issues with poor soldering and integrated memory problems," while the 3870s suffer from a bad resistor value that can "result in computers not starting up and system crashes."

The issues came to light in Alienware systems, where over 10% of Radeon HD 3870 X2s, over 2% of 3870s, and nearly 8% of 3850s failed. As the story goes, Alienware ended up returning 2,600 graphics cards and cutting business ties with Diamond because of the problems. Interestingly, Diamond didn't actually manufacture the boards—it instead purchased them from ITC, a company that also sells its own cards under the GeCube brand. However, problems may not have struck graphics cards without Diamond stickers just yet.

TG Daily quotes CEO Bruce Zaman as saying his firm indeed encountered an isolated problem with "one vendor" that used inadequate power supplies. Diamond asserted in a separate statement, "We do not have any extraordinary customer call reports for HD 3850, 3870 512 MB boards." TG Daily says its investigation backs those claims, since Alienware was supposedly using sub-par 750W power supplies in affected systems, and the flaws "apparently affect very few users." Folks who are encountering problems should have no trouble getting their cards replaced, the site adds.

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