Nvidia Corp. has reportedly updated chip packaging of its GeForce 8-series graphics cards in order to improve reliability and availability, according to documents seen by the media. Since graphics cards belong to the lineup of desktop solutions, Nvidia might have experienced abnormal failure rates, which will cause the company to take another charge that could be hundreds of millions big.
Apparently, Nvidia has changed packaging material for G86-303-A2, G86-103-A2 as well as G86-213-A2, which power low-end desktop GeForce 8400-series graphics cards. According to The Inquirer web-site, which claims that it has seen a product change notification by Nvidia, “Nvidia will transition from using Namics 8439-1 underfill material to Hitachi 3730 underfill material for the G86 desktop product” models only.
The reasons that Nvidia reportedly gives for change are claimed to be “to increase supply and enhance package robustness”.
Earlier this year Nvidia admitted that its GeForce graphics processing units (GPUs) and nForce chipsets (which the company calls MCPs, media and communication processors) designed for mobile computers could fail due to issues with high-lead packaging. The company took $196 million charge to help its partners to tackle the problem, however, it said that the issue only affected certain notebook configurations.
But since the company now also changes packaging of its desktop-class products, the problem may be considerably more widespread and may affect certain other GeForce 8 or 9 products as well. According to TG Daily web-site, code-named G84, and G92 GPUs could show failures as well, which would boost the number of candidates for replacement to 70 million. Even though not all of the chips will fail, the problem may be considerably more serious than Nvidia indicated.
Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.