Diamond Multimedia, a well-known supplier of graphics cards in the USA, has reportedly supplied several thousands of potentially faulty graphics cards to its customers, spurring another scandal related to failures of add-in graphics accelerators.
Between January and July, 2008, Diamond Multimedia has shipped 15 – 20 thousands potentially defective ATI Radeon HD 3850, 3870 and 3870 X2 graphics cards to both retail and system integrators, according to a news-story by TG Daily web-site. Apparently, the Radeon HD 3850 graphics cards have issues with soldering, whereas the Radeon HD 3870 featured a resistor with a wrong value.
Both issues may result in instabilities, system crashes, abnormal system behaviour or eventual complete malfunction of the product. Given that all defects found by end-users mean losses for retailers or system integrators, Alienware decided to cease its relations with Diamond Multimedia after it discovered over 10% failure rate in case of ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 as well as 8% and 2% failure rates of models 3850 and 3870, respectively. In total, Alienware reportedly returned 2.6 thousand graphics cards back to Diamond.
Based on brief investigation by Diamond, graphics cards were not defective, but were somewhat incompatible with certain underrated power supply units (PSUs) Alienware used. It is uncertain whether the particular boards that were claimed to be faulty worked fine with other power supplies, or whether the whole batch of products that Diamond supplied to Alienware did not work correctly with those PSUs.
“After investigating our customer service logs, we did uncover an isolated issue with one OEM manufacturer relating to a power supply being used. The issue was identified and corrected. We do not have any extraordinary customer call reports for HD 3850, 3870 512 MB boards,” an official statement by Diamond reads.
Diamond Multimedia, just like a lot of other graphics cards suppliers, does not have its own manufacturing capacities and orders its products from companies like InfoTek Corp. or Sapphire Technologies. It appears, that Diamond’s design of graphics cards was slightly different compared to reference, though, it is unclear whether design-related decisions were made by the supplier, or one of the manufacturers.
Diamond Multimedia said that it would replace graphics cards that do not work correctly.