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Sony Corp. this month nearly secretly admitted that faulty Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) are inside the company’s Vaio notebooks and are causing problems to owners. The company said it would repair the systems affected by the problems of Nvidia’s chips four years after the date of purchase regardless of the warranty status.

“In July 2008, Nvidia publicly acknowledged a failure associated with some of their graphics processors (GPU) due to a manufacturing defect in the graphics chip packaging. At that time Sony and Nvidia jointly investigated whether Vaio models equipped with this GPU were impacted by the issue. This investigation revealed that the issue had not occurred in such Vaio models. However, after closely monitoring the situation, Sony has now determined that a very small percentage of computers with the Nvidia graphics chips may be affected,” a statement by Sony only available to owners of Vaio laptops and republished by SemiAccurate web-site reads.

Sony admitted that numerous Vaio notebooks may exhibit distorted video, random characters or a blank screen due to failure of the Nvidia graphics chips. Similar effects are described by other makers of notebooks with faulty Nvidia GPUs inside.

It is rather surprising that Sony only admitted the issue about thirteen months after Nvidia itself confirmed that some of its graphics chips and core-logic sets for mobile computers are defective because of the improper high-lead packaging technology and high temperatures inside notebooks. So far numerous notebook vendors, including Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others publicly indicated issues with Nvidia products.

Even though Nvidia itself has always claimed that a very small amount of laptop graphics processors and chipsets were affected by the “bump crack” issue, so far the company spent $315.1 million on repairs of its chips and notebooks on their base.

Nvidia officially admitted that its GeForce 8400M and 8600M were affected by the issues with non-eutectic packaging, however, there is information that certain nForce chipsets as well as GeForce 8800/9800-series solutions were also affected.

"As part of our commitment to quality, for any customer who requires repair of their Vaio due to the Nvidia graphics processor issue, Sony will cover the cost of repair (parts and labour) at no charge during the first four years following the date of purchase of the models in question,” said Sony.

The list of potentially affected Sony Vaio systems includes the following families and models:

  • 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.

Tags: Sony, Nvidia, Geforce, Nforce, Failures, G86, G84, G92, G92b

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