Sony: Some Vaio notebooks have failing Nvidia chips

— 12:49 PM on August 11, 2009

The saga of failing Nvidia chips isn't quite over. Last week, Nvidia said it wrote off $119 million in its last fiscal quarter because of the problem. Now, as SemiAccurate points out, a new knowledge base entry on Sony's European support site suggests some Vaio notebooks may still be affected.

Dated August 4, the article says Sony and Nvidia carried out a joint investigation last year, but the two firms failed to find Vaio PCs suffering from the packaging issue that caused chipset and GPU failures in other notebooks. However, the article adds, "after closely monitoring the situation, Sony has now determined that a very small percentage of VAIO computers with the NVIDIA graphics chips may be affected."

As with affected machines from other vendors, symptoms include video distortion and blank screens. Sony says Vaio laptops with the following model numbers may be affected:

  • VGN-FZ11x, VGN-FZ18x, VGN-FZ21x, VGN-FZ31x, VGN-FZ38x
  • VGN-AR11x, VGN-AR21x, VGN-AR31x
  • VGN-C1Zx, VGN-C2Zx
  • VGC-LM1xx, VGC-LM2xx
  • VGC-LT1xx, VGC-LT2xx

Luckily for affected customers, Sony promises to "cover the cost of repair (parts and labor) at no charge during the first four years following the date of purchase of the models in question."

To see the knowledge base article for yourself, hit Sony's Vaio support site, select an affected model under the "Log-in option 2" header, then search for "Nvidia" in the top-right field. For some reason, Sony doesn't seem to allow external links to knowledge base entries.

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