Five laptop users sue Nvidia over chip failures

Failing Nvidia GPUs and chipsets made many headlines last year, and they also affected a number of laptop users—Nvidia says very few, others talk of more. As ComputerWorld reports, five of those users have filed a joint lawsuit against Nvidia, accusing the company of "violating consumer-protection laws."

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for their suit, and they want Nvidia to pay "unspecified damages" as well as replace the faulty chips. If the plaintiffs get their way, anyone affected by the failures (in the U.S., at least) could request damages and replacement hardware without suing Nvidia individually.

Interestingly, the plaintiffs have HP, Dell, and Apple laptops, so they weren’t quite left out in the cold when the failures broke out. All three PC vendors provided extended support to affected notebooks, and both HP and Dell released firmware that kicked up fan speeds to prevent overheating. However, the plaintiffs found those measures insufficient.

According to ComputerWorld, the complaint says raising fan speeds is a "grossly inadequate ‘remedy,’ as it results in additional manifest defects, including, without limitation, further degraded battery life, system performance and increased noise." Also, the measure "only ensures that the [systems] will fail after the OEM’s express warranty period expires, potentially leaving consumers with a defective computer and no immediate recourse."

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    • Konstantine
    • 11 years ago

    I think buying a nvidia chipset or GPU equipped laptop is more dangerous than having sex without a condom these days.

      • Wintermane
      • 11 years ago

      Grr DONT give me a straight line like that dangit!!!

      • toyota
      • 11 years ago

      the only thing that is truly dangerous is you with a keyboard and internet connection. Im sure your ATI card will fail one day from the load of jizz you deposit on it daily.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      laptops having babies! The cycle never ends!

    • Ryu Connor
    • 11 years ago

    I have a mobile 8600M that is one of the first run chips. The laptop has seen more 100% usage than many laptops see in their entire lifetime. Conservatively I estimate about 1400 hours of 100% use thus far in it’s life. I’ve already worn out one battery.

    I find it unlikely that I represent some extreme end of the failure bellcurve; that I am immune to this allegedly product wide problem by sheer luck given the level of wear I have abused the product with. If this is a product wide problem I also find it improbable that I received a production chip that is somehow different than the rest of the line.

    I think the disclosure of this problem has created a perception that is far detached from the true scope of the problem. Now every chip that dies that would have been within the normal product failure variance is chalked up to this product problem. Every bad motherboard design, cooling design, and laptop chasis design that causes an otherwise healthy chip to die is instead wrongly blamed on a bad NVIDIA product and obfuscates the real issue; that some other aspect of the laptop is actually at fault. It wouldn’t surprise me if some people blame this problem when a part of their laptop other than the video dies. If it is a dead laptop and has an NVIDIA chip, it must be NVIDIA’s fault I’m sure is how the faulty logic is flowing.

    NVIDIA would not have continued to produce the chips with the flaw once identified and these large companies do not keep massive stocks of inventory (inventory is generally rated in weeks). Any replacement of the chips that truely were flawed and died would have long since been replaced with a corrected product.

    This story continues to be a tempest in a teapot. In terms of scope of impact and damage that truely hurt the wallet of people – instead of just making them see a boogey man where none exists – this doesn’t even rank close to the bad Chinese capacitor situation of years past.

      • AKing
      • 11 years ago

      There are always differences between individual chips and some fare better than others. Good for you that your works so well, but an unproportionate number of consumers are experiencing the same type of problems due to defects that Nvidia themselves admit exist. But despite this do not want to replace the chipsets.

      • Silus
      • 11 years ago

      But of course you are not. The spinners and “Charlie” followers just insist on making the issue bigger than it really is. Pay no attention to them.

      • SuperSpy
      • 11 years ago

      What model laptop is it? I have a HP Dv9500 that saw use similar to what you are describing (although it’s probably not as old) and I ended up having to replace the motherboard because the 8600M died. These days I try to do more to help keep the laptop cool, such as elevate the back off the surface of the desk when I’m at home.

      I just fear it may be a once every 2 years sort of deal. =/

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      It’s worth mentioning that Nvidia had to have done something wrong to have had this problem occur in the first place. Perhaps the roots of this problem aren’t just limited to a “range of chips,” but an inherently flawed design philosophy?

      And, I’m sorry, they’ve been slowly rebuilding their brand reputation lately with good products like Ion and Tegra – but they’ve earned a lot of their bad press. They completely ruined the Windows Vista launch for their customers and it took them the better part of a year to deliver the first set of Vista drivers that weren’t outright contemptible, then they deliver no small number of laptop graphics cards that overheat, and then they have the audacity to pull that chip “re-branding” crap.

      I’m sorry – they’ve lost a lot of customers due to their own, piss-poor practices. To Nvidia’s credit, they haven’t made scores of negative headlines pertaining to their own products anytime recently, so evidently they’ve been buttoning down and doing their work properly. Good for them. Now keep it up.

    • wkstar
    • 11 years ago
    • Wintermane
    • 11 years ago

    Its more a failure of the laptop makers to provide enough cooling to the chip realy. They had to know the chip ran hot and no its not the chip makers job to make the laptop cooling system.

      • AKing
      • 11 years ago

      Well I as a consumer do not care which one in that chain carries the responsibility. But I do not think you are correct, Nvidia sells the chipsets to the laptop manufacturers under certain specifications, including cooling requirements. So they can be deceived, too. So the root of the cause seems to be Nvidia here.

    • Joerdgs
    • 11 years ago

    What a coincidence. A Dell technician is coming tomorrow to fix my laptop (Dell Latitude D830 with Nvidia Quadro NVS 140M card) again. I had the motherboard replaced last year when the previous graphics card burned down.

    The new replacement is because my current graphics card is idling at over 80 degrees, increasing to 100 instantly after firing up a game, which makes the laptop cut my GPU clocks in half. Sure hope this is fixed after tomorrow.

      • AKing
      • 11 years ago

      Be prepared to get a BIOS “fix” implemented running your fans at maximum speed constantly, instead (not that your computer will likely seize being prone to damage).

      By the way the lawsuit can be accessed here §[<http://images.appleinsider.com/nvidia-090512.pdf<]§ Excerpt: "Plaintiff Todd Feinstein (

    • PRIME1
    • 11 years ago

    Seems the ATI Apple products are epic failing
    §[<http://www.dailytech.com/Owners+of+ATI+Radeonequipped+iMacs+Reporting+Graphics+Problems/article14901c.htm<]§ Instant Karma

      • AKing
      • 11 years ago

      Maybe an industry issue then. These Nvidia chipsets did not freeze though, they did not start at all or stopped working in use, outputting nothing to the screen.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 11 years ago

        No, ati chips are made differently.
        This is a mac specific problem, highly likely to be software/drivers.

        “a fix is in the works, possibly arriving along with the looming Mac OS X 10.5.7 update.”

        This issue was a diversion to the topic at hand.
        see §[<http://www.techreport.com/ja.zz?id=403437<]§

          • cal_guy
          • 11 years ago

          It appears to be a Mac EFI specific issue not a problem with the GPU.

          §[<http://support.apple.com/downloads/_iMac_EFI_Firmware_Update_1_4<]§

            • AKing
            • 11 years ago

            Ok, I can rule out drawing such a broad conclusion about the industry then. Freezing does sound more software/driver related though, indeed.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            Blame the bean counters. ‘We can save $.05 by using cheaper and less effective cooling?! Do it!’

            • AKing
            • 11 years ago

            I agree about this problem in general. But I do not find it so relevant here, in fact I do not care how much they save and how as long as the product works according to specifications provided and its functionality and specs are declared correctly – you get what you pay for that way. These chipsets do not work according to promised specifications though, and thus it is misinformation, deliberate or not. That is the issue.

          • PRIME1
          • 11 years ago

          lol

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      An EFI update that doesn’t play with clock speeds fixed that.

      • waffle911
      • 11 years ago

      Looks like you mean the iMacs, which are decidedly not laptops. All recent MacBooks have been using Nvidia chips.

      • asdsa
      • 11 years ago

      The headings was about nvidia failures but I guess you nsist for off topic retaliation. Only Meadows is missing from the party.

      • Silus
      • 11 years ago

      It was great fun reading the comments of that…I mean fanboys are fanboys, but the “reds” in those comments are beyond fanboys…

      I’ve also seen some in these boards. I’m referring to those outraged at the suggestion that NVIDIA wasn’t the only one to blame, in regards to their chip failures, but also TSMC that actually manufactures their GPUS and is responsible for the actual packaging of the GPU. Obviously, now that this is AMD the suggestion that it isn’t AMD’s fault, but rather TSMC’s or the board builders, makes a whole lot of sense for these people…

      Hilarious!

    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    5 users in how many laptop sales? 1 million? 10 million?

      • AKing
      • 11 years ago

      How many do you think have the incentive and time to take on Nvidia about it? Most people, like me, just leave it be because it just takes too much energy and time to get it clear.

    • AKing
    • 11 years ago

    I have one of those laptops and have to say that as much as I understand that it is economical resourcewise for enterprises to have opportunities to repair products with faults, and that anything else would be inpractical since faults do happen sometimes. This one chipset was ridiculous and the end result, was basicly a computer not working as per the specifikations one bought it for. Not to talk about all the time in service (three periods for me plus “smaller” failures i never sent it in for! (all graphics related by the way, the last two the exact same problem which they said was a known problem, this was after they had realized this and thus implemented the so called “fix” (making it sound like a vacuum cleaner)), sufficient to say it really tested my patience.

    I would not complain if they won the lawsuit.

    Since the so call “fix”. The laptop monitor has stopped working as it starts flickering and then turns itself of when run at a high level of brightness. An yes, it does get ridiculously hot, also. If this is successfull which I hope, even though im generally understanding of being resourcefull and repairing things, I will be amongst the first to contact HP about my laptop sitting here. It has been a pain with failures of kinds since I bought it. I understand it is not HP’s fault for the chipset failures so it is Nvidia’s responsibility.

    Actually when I think about it I feel a bit vindicated when I see others with the same issues. When its such an obviously general problem it is not an ordinary individual problem which can be repaired, it is an ongoing product defect which renders the product something that it was not sold as being. In other words, yes they did violate laws in that way, as you are not allowed to sell something based on promises and marketing that it does not fulfill, that is known here in Sweden at least judicially as deceit. It is simply about fairness and justice and I understand that generally most enterprises do everything in their hands service wise to fix things as good as possible, but this is not the usual kind of problem.

    Might sound like “wining” or what have you, and most people owning these products probably just do not have the endurance nor reason to go through this despite their product not working. But for say a student like me it is not a small amount of money (over 1200 EUROs). Therefor I applaud the ones who took it upon themselves to try clear this out. I would probably not have had the incentive to do what they did for this situation.

    Does anyone know how I can contact these people so that I can at least offer my support to them? I will try to get ahold of them so I can share my experiences (worse ever with electronics as far as reliability and functionality, at times I literally held my thumbs the computer would start properly when turning it on), and extend my support to actively help them.

    I really have little hope and not even so much care about what the outcome might mean. But it would be good to see the fair thing being ruled at least. If nothing else so as a proper precedent about what a producer or distributor can repair, and how to act when the product has defects making it practically irreparable as per it’s original specifikations.

    // Long time user of Nvidia products, by the way. And I cannot believe they go to such lengths to avoid having to do the fair thing here. I will hesitate buying Nvidia products again, not because of the defect in and of itself, which had they replaced it I would have understood that such issues happen and taken it for what it is, but because they precisely go to such lengths to avoid having to do what is fair, just and right. It is shameful.

    Nvidia are also under charge for having kept this defect from public knowledge for several months despite being aware of the issues. Months that could have been decisive in my case. How irresponsible.

      • kilkennycat
      • 11 years ago

      l[

        • Silus
        • 11 years ago

        Actually they set aside nearly 200 million, but in one of their reports, they mentioned that that one time charge was actually “just” 140 or 150 million.

        • AKing
        • 11 years ago

        I am not the only one affected by this, here is another example:

        I have a faulty dv2214us with a nVidia chip. Currently is has had 3 bad motherboard replacements. It is now currently broken…again. I have to call HP up and talk to their customer service. I enjoyed the laptop, but getting out of hand.

        Yes it is a heat issue it seems. I would let it cool down and it would boot, but then promptly freeze with a sheered image on the screen. I try to reboot and ..nothing just lights on the keyboard come on.

        …I wonder if HP will replace the motherboard a 4th time. 4th time the charm?

        And another one

        I have a toshiba x205 sli1 with the 8600m gt in it and I’ve had to send it off to get “repaired” twice when it was still under warranty; although I don’t get how it was repaired when you just switch a faulty card out for another faulty card…
        About a week ago it broke again, same problem, the warranty expired last December.
        I called toshiba and they pretty much told me “LOL NOT UNDER WARRANTY $$$.”
        Needless to say my experience with this laptop and toshiba tech support has been quite unpleasant, any additional information about this would be welcomed.

        Their offical policy is to replace it with the same faulty chipset.

        Also look up §[<http://www.hplies.com<]§

    • 5150
    • 11 years ago

    God I hope they win. NVIDIA lost a customer for life with this crap.

    • Konstantine
    • 11 years ago

    I see the beginning of the end of N-vidia.

      • wibeasley
      • 11 years ago

      I see the continuation of an Inquirer rant.

      • HighTech4US
      • 11 years ago

      a whole 5 people (who do not even have a current video problem, just maybe in the future they might) are suing.

      the end of nVidia is at hand, get real!!!

      Between you and Charlie you really need to open a window and let the glue fumes out.

        • armistitiu
        • 11 years ago

        Only 5 people with the problem sued. I’m guessing there are a lot more of them with this issue. If there were only 5 people with this problem it would have been more profitable to just give them a full refund or replace their chips but the numbers are higher than that.
        It’s not the end of NV …let’s call them tough times

          • Lans
          • 11 years ago

          Agreed, this is probably not the end of Nvidia.

          Maybe more people will come out when their laptops fail after warranty and they have no recourse? That is when they start digging up threads like this and find they have been suckered by Nvidia, Dell, HP, et al?

          Never seize to amazes me how long Nvidia and partners is going to keep this up…

            • waffle911
            • 11 years ago

            “(It) Never *[

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Man. When it rains, it pours at Nvidia.

      • TheEmrys
      • 11 years ago

      I guess some problems will help keep their quality control up. I guess. Yeah, I’m hunting for a silver-lining. Tough times for them right now.

      • Fighterpilot
      • 11 years ago

      Wonder how many TR guys rushed to post that same comment lol
      Poor Primey…paybacks a bitch aint it heh.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 11 years ago

      These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
      You can go about your business.
      Move along.

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