Bad Nvidia chips may now be failing in desktops


— 6:00 AM on October 13, 2008

Soon after Nvidia owned up to abnormal mobile chip failures, some sites started spreading rumors that the failures weren't just confined to notebook parts. Nvidia stuck to its story, but as The Inquirer points out, HP has now let slip evidence that Nvidia's desktop chipsets could indeed be going kaput.

You can find all the dirt in this page, entitled "HP Pavilion Slimline Desktop PCs - HP Limited Warranty Service Enhancement." Without mentioning anything about Nvidia, the page says 38 HP Pavilion Slimline desktop models "may not boot or may not display video" because of a motherboard problem. Customers with affected systems can get free mobo replacements up to two years after their purchases or until December 31, 2009, depending on which date comes first.

If that sounds familiar, it's because HP set up a similar warranty extension for notebooks with bad Nvidia chips. And as far as we can tell, all of the potentially faulty HP desktops have motherboards with Nvidia GeForce 6150 LE integrated graphics. This particular problem could have some other cause, of course, but both the timing and description certainly give credence to the rumors.

Journalists and Asian moles aren't the only ones spreading these rumors, by the way. Neil McLellan, AMD's director of packaging and interconnect technologies, told us in a conference call earlier this month that Nvidia's desktop parts have the same manufacturing weaknesses that lead to failures in notebook systems. Desktops that are often switched on and off may meet the same fate, he predicted.

   
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