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Lawsuit Claims Nvidia Execs Concealed Serious Flaw

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the its-not-a-bug-if-you-say-its-on-purpose dept.

Hardware 219

snydeq writes "A lawsuit filed in a California court on Tuesday alleges Nvidia concealed the existence of a serious defect in its graphics-chip line for at least eight months 'in a series of false and misleading statements made to the investing public.' The lawsuit contends that Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang and CFO Marvin Burkett knew as early as November 2007 about a flaw that exists in the packaging used with some of the company's graphics chips that caused them to fail at unusually high rates. Nvidia publicly acknowledged the flaw on July 2, when it announced plans to take a one-time charge of up to $200 million to cover warranty costs related to the problem. That announcement caused Nvidia's stock price to fall by 31 percent to $12.98 and reduced the company's market capitalization by $3 billion, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit seeks class-action status against Nvidia and unspecified damages."

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Bill Frist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24947871)

P$0t

Cherche le M$. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | about 6 years ago | (#24948861)

A lawsuit against a company that's been Linux friendly and is an Intel competitor, coupled to an immediate stock price fall. See there, Vista's not a failure, Nvidia is. Want to bet on how long it takes to find out this lawsuit is some king of M$ proxy thing like SCO?

Again? (1)

Rayeth (1335201) | about 6 years ago | (#24947881)

Didn't this already happen? Or is this just Deja Vu all over again? I could have sworn I heard about this lawsuit several weeks ago.

Re:Again? (4, Insightful)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#24947981)

IANAL, but different parties can sue, I think.
Manufacturers of machines can sue for damages to reputation, warranty costs, etc.
Investors can sue for lost of investment, since it wasn't, in any way, a market force that caused the loss of value.
Those who got the chips in machines can sue for damages too, I bet.

Frankly, this whole fiasco just strengthened my love for ATI. Their newer binary blobs are amazing.

Re:Again? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948075)

"Frankly, this whole fiasco just strengthened my love for ATI. Their newer binary blobs are amazing."

Quick! Someone frame the above. I never thought I'd see the day when someone said something nice about ATI drivers.

Re:Again? (4, Informative)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#24948123)

You must be new, I've said that quite a few times.
Seriously, though, they're more stable now, and they get fairly frequent updates.

Re:Again? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948659)

Psh...AC isn't new. You must be new here!

Re:Again? (2, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 6 years ago | (#24948189)

"Their newer binary blobs are amazing."

So long as you don't want to run two X servers on two VTs.

Re:Again? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 6 years ago | (#24948887)

Didn't this already happen? Or is this just Deja Vu all over again? I could have sworn I heard about this lawsuit several weeks ago.

Sure, whatever. As if old news would ever get posted on Slashdot.

AC Claims Slashdot Editors Censured Frosty Posts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24947897)

more details to come

Curious to see where this one goes... (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | about 6 years ago | (#24947925)

I had an nVidia 8800GT card fail prematurely early this summer. I was pleased with its performance, other than the failure, so I picked up the newer version of the same card, from a different manufacturer. Unfortunately that was the middle of June :(

So odds are high that this card is going to die early too. And of course I don't have receipts for either card at this point, but if there's a chance at recouping some of my investment, I'd sign up.

-Rick

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948013)

You should definitely sign up. They will most likely be providing a $20 coupon to all people who purchased nVidia products between a specified date range. I've heard the lawyers might get a small piece of the settlement too - like 50%.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (5, Informative)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | about 6 years ago | (#24948311)

Sorry, this is the law suit for duped stock buyers, not duped product buyers. The duped product lawsuit is in room 12.
Past the joke, if it makes it past the warranty period you have little regress as a customer. While it's illegal to say "we're doing great" while knowing your main product line is failing from a security law point of view, unless the failing parts are in a safety critical application (e. g. child car seats) there is no law mandating a recall/replacement/settlement for selling a crappy product.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1)

jdcope (932508) | about 6 years ago | (#24949127)

if it makes it past the warranty period you have little regress as a customer

Thats why I buy cards by eVGA and register them promptly...lifetime warranty. Of course, my card is a 7600GT, so it probably doesnt qualify anyway.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (2, Interesting)

basscomm (122302) | about 6 years ago | (#24949419)

That sounds suspiciously like the reason I usually buy from XFX, and register promptly, except theirs is a Double Lifetime Warranty [xfxforce.com]

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (2, Interesting)

morgdx (688154) | about 6 years ago | (#24948391)

Okay, so I get a $20 coupon. The 8600GT in my MacBook Pro failed this week in a way which is strongly consistent with the other reports.

The laptop is 3 months out of warranty so it's going to cost me around $1200 to get it fixed, when this appears to be a result of a manufacturing defect.

You desktop jockeys might just be able to slot in a new card and write it down to experience, but laptops are affected too. It appears my options are limited to:

  • Hoping Apple's "legendary" customer service comes through and they agree to repay the cost of replacing the motherboard, graphics chip and all
  • Er.
  • Loss?

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948585)

In my case, HP didn't do anything except ask for more money than the laptop cost new... Don't buy HP laptops. I definitely won't anymore.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#24948621)

The laptop is 3 months out of warranty so it's going to cost me around $1200 to get it fixed,

Apple has a flat-fee repair of like $300, fyi. Take it to a Genius Bar.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1)

swinefc (91418) | about 6 years ago | (#24949483)

I too had a MacBook Pro fail with a Nvidia chip of death. It was out of warranty by a three months. I was worried about paying $1200, but thankfully, Apple's flat-fee repair came through. All in all, I'm happy with Apple's response. I do expect them to eventually provide a refund.

I don't know about Apple's "legendary" customer service, but I do know if this was a business account with Dell, it would have been fixed that day. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't offer similar services.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (4, Informative)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 6 years ago | (#24948965)

$1200?

There is your price of "portability".

As a former mechanic, it always pissed me off when auto manufacturers tried to force customers to dealerships for repairs by making the components so difficult to repair that even independent mechanics could not fix them.

The dirty sekret is that the dealerships couldn't either. They simply resorted to part-swapping to confirm their half-assed diagnosis(manufacturer flow charts(Step 14: Replace with known good part), NOT actual testing).

The end result was that the independents were made to look like bumbling idiots("Your gunna have to take it to the Dealer...") after actually trying to find the problem, while the Dealership makes the money just by throwing parts at the problem (at customer expense).

I HIGHLY suspect that your a victim of that same process. One good reason to AUTOMATICALLY suspect your bill when there is more then one component replaced. If there was, more then likely, the first part didn't fix it, but the second did, and they want to get paid for the time it took to install the first part, so they simply tell you one part "took out" the other.

This is one of the reasons I am a FORMER mechanic. From a moral standpoint, I simply could not be a party to the deception that is all too prevalent in the business, and quit.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949003)

Hopefully you learned a lesson about buying shitty overpriced computers.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (4, Interesting)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | about 6 years ago | (#24948117)

So odds are high that this card is going to die early too.

Did you buy a card with a lifetime warranty? Both EVGA [evga.com] and XFX [xfxforce.com] offer lifetime warranties on 8800GTs. Personally, I won't buy RAM or video cards from a company that doesn't offer a lifetime warranty, as there are more than enough manufacturers for both products offering these warranties. My current 8800GT is an EVGA, and it's nice knowing they're on the hook for this flaw if it happens to strike me. The card manufacturer has probably spent millions on Nvidia silicon, so they have clout to extract some compensation from Nvidia, whereas I do not.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 6 years ago | (#24948245)

Interesting, I think the 8600GT that died was an EVGA, I'll have to see if I still have it laying around.

-Rick

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948419)

Don't forget BFG [bfgtech.com] , they have lifetime warranty too.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1)

sherpajohn (113531) | about 6 years ago | (#24948933)

Only if you register your product online. I seem to have problems with that (just picked up two 8800GT OCX cards). The tol me to send the details in email, but they've not responded to that. Avoiding something? I hope not!

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (2, Informative)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | about 6 years ago | (#24949371)

I had a Cisco 400 with a lifetime warranty. It died a while back. It was out of warranty. Apparently Lifetime for Cisco means 5 years.

I hope my 8600M GT doesn't have to deal with it. It's in my MacBook Pro, so no easy card swap.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948167)

sign up

you'll probably end up getting a coupon for a free software widget that lets you adjust the contrast settings from the system tray

the lawyers, on the other hand, will be getting $70M

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1)

DM9290 (797337) | about 6 years ago | (#24948273)

And of course I don't have receipts for either card at this point, but if there's a chance at recouping some of my investment, I'd sign up.

Except you didn't invest in NVIDIA, you purchased a graphics card made by NVIDIA. This lawsuit is by shareholders.

Well in the future (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 years ago | (#24948629)

Buy from a good partner. One of the good things about nVidia is they seem to have some quality partners. eVGA and BFG seem to be the best I've seen. They both seem to offer lifetime warranty. They also offer a step up program for like 3 months. This means if you buy a card, and then a new model comes out, or you buy a lower end card and decide you need more power, you send back your old card, pay them the difference, and they'll give you the new one.

At any rate, buy from a good partner and failures shouldn't be a problem as if it does fail, they'll simply replace the card.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | about 6 years ago | (#24949021)

You don't have the receipts? I'd recommend ordering from somewhere online in the future like Newegg. I ordered a graphics card from them in 2002 and when it died in 2005 I was able to pull up the order and print/email the "receipt" from there.

Re:Curious to see where this one goes... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 6 years ago | (#24949231)

You know, within that time frame I also had an Nvidia 7600GT card fail too. Not being one to return things or bother with the hassle of contacting the manufacturer's service dept (since I generally am terrible about saving documentation like receipts), I just tossed it in the trash and bought an 8600GTS to replace it. Now, since this is the first I've heard of this, I'm worried about the longevity of that card as well :(.

So who sues the suer? (0)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#24947993)

If the lawsuit is successful, and Nvidia has to pay out damages, then Nvidias stock will drop even further. So who sues the suer for making Nvidia's stock drop the second time? Anyone? Beuller?

Re:So who sues the suer? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948019)

It doesn't work that way. The shareholders are punished for buying a stock in a company that doesn't open source its drivers.

Re:So who sues the suer? (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#24948097)

No, they're not 'punished' by that. They're being punished for investing in a company that lied about shit products.

Re:So who sues the suer? (2, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 6 years ago | (#24948429)

[stockholders are] being punished for investing in a company that lied about shit products.

Have you seen the markets the last couple weeks? There must some big crapload of companies out there who lie about shit products.


... oh wait.

Re:So who sues the suer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949059)

no that didn't happen, you are imaging it. The markets are fine, in fact better then ever.

The republicans wouldn't lie to us, the economy is fine.

Non sequitur reasons. (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24948303)

It doesn't work that way. The shareholders are punished for buying a stock in a company that doesn't open source its drivers.

Oo! Oo! Let me add one: it's because Bush is still in office.

There! We got a post promoting F/OSS and bashing Bush!

That's a faulty assumption (1)

QZTR (1351145) | about 6 years ago | (#24948703)

There's no reason settling, or even losing a lawsuit will cause the stock price to drop.

Specifically, if the suit is seen as being a drain on company resources, then resolving it could easily cause prices to rise. This is especially true if the suit's outcome is more favorable for the company than expected, such as a settlement that is less than the expected judgement if the case went to trial.

Nvidia customer here (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 years ago | (#24948043)

which specific chips are effected?

according to this it seems to be laptop graphics http://mobile.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/01/0142219&tid=128 [slashdot.org]

what about AGP & PCIe Desktop graphics cards?

Re:Nvidia customer here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948233)

Apparently the 8xxx series have something like a 20-30% failure rate due to this issue.

Re:Nvidia customer here (1)

Spatial (1235392) | about 6 years ago | (#24948399)

No, it's the newer G92 and derivatives, used in the 8800GT and company. The 8800 series also contains the G80 (8800GTX) and its derivatives, which are not affected.

Re:Nvidia customer here (1)

TJamieson (218336) | about 6 years ago | (#24948283)

Anything running 8000-series, or even the 9600GT. It seems the cards that are "safe" are the supposed GeForce10 models, whatever they're calling them.

Re:Nvidia customer here (5, Informative)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | about 6 years ago | (#24948359)

which specific chips are effected?

No one knows for sure, and Nvidia isn't telling. The Inquirer says practically [theinquirer.net] all [theinquirer.net] of them, but their author has a history with Nvidia so there's quite a potential for bias there. The running theory is that the problem is due to thermal properties of a substrate material. This substrate material supposedly expands and contracts at a different rate than surrounding material in the chip package. Over time, this stresses the silicon or solder points, eventually causing a failure of the part. Laptop parts are definitely affected, you only need to look in notebook manufacturers forums and you'll see an incredible number of posts from owner of notebooks with, for example, 8600 GT mobile parts.

Desktop parts may also be affected, since they're all based on the same core silicon with (supposedly) the same substrate materials. It's possible that the problems aren't as apparent (at least not yet) due to the different thermal conditions you'd see in a tower chassis compared to a notebook. The very popular 8800GTs out there may start failing en masse in three months, six months, a year's time, or maybe never. Because Nvidia won't specifically say which parts are affected, whether it's all the parts or only certain manufacturing runs, etc., we have only speculation and rumor to go on.

Re:Nvidia customer here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948755)

"author has a history with Nvidia"

It's clear to say that Jen-Hsun Huang molested him as a child. ;-)

Not much else can explain his strongly biased news reports which amount to him /always/ bashing nvda.

Re:Nvidia customer here (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 years ago | (#24948789)

what i have specifically are two PCs, one with a GeForce 8400GS AGP 8x card and another with a GeForce 8400GS PCIe 16x card, (same chip basically)

Good, about time (2, Interesting)

gentimjs (930934) | about 6 years ago | (#24948053)

This kind of lawsuit is what's supposed to make "capitalism" work ... corrupt businesses being actually held accountable for shady dealings.

I hope it bankrupts them.

Re:Good, about time (2, Informative)

qoncept (599709) | about 6 years ago | (#24948105)

What doesn't make capitolism work is a bunch of people without jobs. The US economy is already falling apart, what you should be hoping for is for nvidia to clean up it's act, make better chips, sell lots of them and hire lots of employees.

Re:Good, about time (2, Insightful)

cybrthng (22291) | about 6 years ago | (#24948663)

So we can buy more shit?

That's the problem there buddy. We shouldn't be supporting lying companies selling sub par products.

Often time the retailers pay for this more than anyone else. Bad business is bad for everyone and its not up to consumers to support BAD BUSINESS nor should we feel like we have.

Lawyers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948701)

What doesn't make capitalism work is a bunch of people without jobs.

I bet lawyers are thriving, though.

Re:Good, about time (2, Insightful)

crabboy.com (771982) | about 6 years ago | (#24948733)

Capitolism is the misguided belief by people living in Washington, D.C. that they're smarter than everyone else in the country.

Well, not really (5, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | about 6 years ago | (#24948771)

1. A dirty little secret of all governments, the USA included, is that they _can't_ get rid of unemployment or inflation, and they're actually trying to keep both where they want them. There's this funny little hyperbolic-looking curve called the Phillips Curve [wikipedia.org] , which ties inflation to unemployment. If you even tried to push one to zero, the other rises sky-high.

So the best any government can do is to keep both at a point they can live with. Exactly what that point is, that's a matter of political debate and position, but everyone tries to do that. A mean most used is the interest rate. That's what the federal reserve does in the USA, but other countries have their own similar institutions.

(The corolary being that any politician which harps on unemployment and inflation as proof that his opponents are evil, or worse yet, promises to really solve either or both, is himself a liar and has no scruples telling you lies to gain power.)

So, yes, a bunch of people without jobs _are_ what makes the economy work. (A capitalist economy included.) Because without those, you'd get a hyperinflation comparable to interwar Germany. (Just as a comparison point, not saying that that's the same cause.) And conversely, if anyone actually managed to eliminate inflation, like some idiots demand, most of you would be out of job.

2. Well, actually, the reluctance to make people change jobs was arguably one of the (several) reasons the Soviet economy colapsed. They were very reluctant to kick people out of a job, since the whole theory was that everyone should be given a job in communism. So if they made a hammer manufacturing company, and 20 years later there would be more of a need for wrenches, they'd still keep a bunch of people there making hammers, just so they don't kick them out and tell them to find another job. It's not the only factor, of course, but worth thinking about.

Or seen at another level, they wanted to eliminate both the unemployment _and_ inflation (via price controls) which had the same devastating results as when it had been attempted before. If both can't take their natural positions on that curve, something else has to give. In their case, productivity went down instead, and corruption went out of hand. Which effectively is another way to get inflation, only in a much more destructive way.

3. The whole thing about capitalism and the free market is that it's an optimization algorithm. It's really a genetic algorithm, based on semi-uninformed trial and error. The "genes" (processes, ideas, products) which are closer to optimal survive and are copied by others, and the process repeats, moving it all closer to the optimum. The genes which lost, and the companies which bet on them, die. Sometimes spectacularly, leaving a bunch of people temporarily unemployed.

That's how it's supposed to work. Bit wasteful, no doubt, and stressful for those who end up looking for a new job. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame (who, I might add, is actually trained as an economist, so he might understand these things) claimed in a blog post that it's "harnessing the power of stupidity" and that at any given moment, 80% of society's resources are pushed off a cliff by idiots. But somehow it seems to work better than anything else we've tried. Trying to prevent that optimization cycle from happening, deviates from optimum very quickly, and produces even worse results.

It _is_ what makes capitalism work.

Sure, but why do you think this is a secret? (2, Insightful)

QZTR (1351145) | about 6 years ago | (#24949081)

And why would anyone mod you up for what is common knowledge?

With 0% unemployment, there's no one to hire when new jobs open up or current employees need replacing.

Nothing secret about it, just a little common sense.

Re:Sure, but why do you think this is a secret? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | about 6 years ago | (#24949133)

Well, it's not "secret" in that you can't find out about it. Obviously you can, quite easily.

I mean, "secret", as in, no politician will tell you about it. I've yet to even hear about any campaign along the lines of, "ok, we'll create more jobs, but you'll pay them for them out of your savings, which will depreciate quite a bit faster." Nor, "ok, this inflation sucks, we'll must fix it! Oh, by the way, a bunch of you will lose your job for that." ;)

Re:Well, not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949435)

You wrote: "The corolary being that any politician which harps on unemployment and inflation as proof that his opponents are evil, or worse yet, promises to really solve either or both, is himself a liar and has no scruples telling you lies to gain power."

This places "politician", "liar", and "no scruples" in the same sentence.

You sir are being redundant!

Re:Good, about time (1)

gentimjs (930934) | about 6 years ago | (#24948863)

No, I hope for a non-corrupt business to rise up and displace the corrupt one.

Im not afraid to let a crappy business fail.

Re:Good, about time (1)

StevisF (218566) | about 6 years ago | (#24949155)

Investors cannot make appropriate decisions regarding their investments if they're being deceived. There are laws on the disclosure of such information and if the law was being broken, then the appropriate actions should be taken.

If Nvidia continued to sell a product they knew to be flawed, then they should be punished according to any applicable consumer laws. Their reputation will likely be harmed now which could very well be more damaging.

The US economy is falling apart due to poor regulation. People were lying and breaking the law at all levels making short-term gains in the mortgage market and now everyone will pay the price of their selfishness. Capitalism would let dying companies die or be swallowed up by better companies.

Re:Good, about time (1)

lowlymarine (1172723) | about 6 years ago | (#24948343)

Well, the problem with your theory is that the other thing that's supposed to make capitalism work is competition. Without nVidia, what's going to put the coals to AMD/ATi's proverbial behind? Intel? VIA? Don't make me squirt my water out of my nose.

(I should note that I mean in the graphics card market. I'm very aware that Intel is actually a little ahead of AMD in the processor market right now. But if you honestly believe Larrabee will be a serious threat to the HD 4870 or the GTX 280, I have this bridge you might be interested in...)

Re:Good, about time (2, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | about 6 years ago | (#24948407)

Without nVidia, what's going to put the coals to AMD/ATi's proverbial behind?

Customer demand for better service. If AMD/ATI doesn't provide it, then you have a huge demand that's unfulfilled. That provides a large incentive for a new or existing company to fill that demand. If they need money to make it happen, banks will see the demand and be willing to offer loans. If there is no demand, then what's the issue? If you think there should be a demand for better, then you should convince customers of that.

Re:Good, about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948787)

Customer demand for better service. If AMD/ATI doesn't provide it, then you have a huge demand that's unfulfilled. That provides a large incentive for a new or existing company to fill that demand. If they need money to make it happen, banks will see the demand and be willing to offer loans. If there is no demand, then what's the issue? If you think there should be a demand for better, then you should convince customers of that.

The only difficulty is that the bar for creating a new premium graphics card company is now so high both in terms of cost and setup time that it won't happen. We're not in the days of 640x480 anymore and it might take tens of billions and 5-10 years of time to even get noticed. Way too risky for any bank to offer a loan. Basically Nvidia and AMD/ATI have us as hostage and they can do whatever they want to do.

Re:Good, about time (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | about 6 years ago | (#24949171)

"Basically Nvidia and AMD/ATI have us as hostage"

Not "basically". Not at all. You're not being forced to buy anything. Unless you believe people have a right from birth to high-end video cards, then it is nothing like that. If the existing choices truly are bad, or too expensive, people will stop buying them, and not only will game manufacturers be pissed off, but the video card manufacturers will lose their business. Do game manufacturers then just disappear? Or do you suddenly have these large companies wanting a high-end video card that meets the peoples' demands? Do you still believe the money and equipment to make it happen would not be possible?

Failures? What are you talking about? (1)

Lord MuffloN (1310101) | about 6 years ago | (#24948087)

Right, so last October I bought a FL90, anyone who knows what it is probably knows it have a 8600M GT card in it, supposedly one of the cards that fail, but now, almost a year after, with the laptop never ever even been shutdown for longer then 6h, seldom rebooted and it still works flawlessly, and always have done, I've had no issues at all, but since it's the thermal packing on the cards that fail according to what I've understood, perhaps the fact that I never turn the laptop off have helped my card survive?

Re:Failures? What are you talking about? (1)

Zebadias (861722) | about 6 years ago | (#24948207)

Thermal cycles can be more damaging than just long term use. The stress is built up in changes and hot spots. If you laptop has always been on the heat should be nice and even.

Now nVidia is in trouble. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24948193)

nVidia is facing a lot of competition now. AMD/ATI has come out with a lot of really good cards The 38xx, 48xx, and the new low end 46xx have all been really good cards and forced nVidia to drop their prices.
Crossfire now seems to work better than SLI and Intel is supporting Crossfire in some of it's chip sets.
Now they have what seems to be the nVidia version of the red ring of death.
I hope that they get things going again. I am a pretty happy nVidia customer. I have a motherboard with an nVidia chipset that works great and my wife and I use nVidia graphics cards. But my next graphics card will probably be an ATI as will be the next motherboard I buy.
That being said I do wish nVidia well. I am sure they can get their act back together.

Re:Now nVidia is in trouble. (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | about 6 years ago | (#24948313)

ATI has always had really good cards. Unfortunately they've also always had really poor drivers. Thats been the problem all along. If you look at benchmarks you can still find very inconsistent results. (Yes even with their newest uber cards).

Re:Now nVidia is in trouble. (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24948361)

Actually their latest drivers are pretty dang good. Plus nVidia had a bunch of driver issues as well not long ago.

Re:Now nVidia is in trouble. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949309)

not long ago?

I have to keep my drivers downgraded on my 7600gs or the tv out doesn't work and the dual-view is jacked up.

The newest driver also screws up trying to remote desktop for some reason. :|

Re:Now nVidia is in trouble. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949399)

Had?

One of the best reasons to use Vista is because the video drivers were moved into user-space, so that when the nVidia drivers crash yet again, Vista can just close and restart them and you won't lose work to a bluescreen.

nv4_disp.dll is the bane of any modern nVidia gamer, as just about any game crash will occur somewhere in its hellish depths.

That's ignoring nForce. If you're thinking of trying to set up a RAID using an nForce chipset, DON'T. You'll lose your data.

I've had two consistent problems with Windows: the nForce ethernet drivers crapping out, and the nVidia video drivers crapping out.

So, yeah, had? Try HAVE.

Re:Now nVidia is in trouble. (1)

Alyred (667815) | about 6 years ago | (#24948873)

Yeah, it's unfortunate that their drivers still suck and have to be re-packaged by a hobbyist (Omega drivers, anyone?)

Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (2, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | about 6 years ago | (#24948219)

These stories keep on referencing the packaging being at fault...

Now I'm no electrical engineer but when you take a working chip and put it in a machine it seems a little odd to blame the packaging it came out of for higher than normal failure rates if it works initially.

Maybe "packaging" refers to the way the actual chips are placed into the material around them? Although it seems like a very odd way of wording it as to me packaging implies something that is discarded.

If someone could explain in non-layman's terms what exactly the problem was I would much appreciate it.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (2, Informative)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | about 6 years ago | (#24948421)

the inquirer http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/09/01/why-nvidia-chips-defective [theinquirer.net] had a good summary series on what's bad.
In short, it's the connection of the chip to the board. You have minute metal connections providing current and data transport from the physical chip to the rest of the computer. The choice of material for these connection was poor, and so was the choice of glue holding the chip and the substrate together (and ideally protecting the metal connects from undue stress).
The main indicator for a serious flaw was the drastic changes NVIDIA made to their chip mounting design after the flaw was admitted - it was the kind of changes you normally don't do in the middle of a production run, and if you only do them after very careful testing.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 years ago | (#24948441)

Nope, it seems that the cardboard box they were shipped in contain a high level of a rare Iridium isotope that causes molecular decay of the technology in the Nvidia chip. Nvidia runs on Logic diamonds and logic diamonds exposed to Iridium 237 causes rapid decay and failure.

If they would have had the packaging done in the USA instead of china things would have been ok.

NOTE: there is no danger to the consumer, the paint on the outside of the boxes has high amounts of lead in it, shielding you from the Iridium 237 radiation.

Cyrnfr hfr tbbtyr arkg gvzr gb trg na nafjre guvf fvzcyr dhrfgvba

Thanks!

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 6 years ago | (#24949181)

You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. No offense.

Nvidia started shielding their Logic diamonds (TM) against the Iridium exposure more than 9 months ago (why they won't just drop the contract with their cardboard supplier is anybody's guess - I think there's some behind-the-scenes stuff there).

However, the shielding causes the boards to overheat when in use. If the end-users would actually RTFM, they would clearly see that they are supposed to scrape off the top 0.01" on all ICs after discarding of the cardboard and before mounting their cards to remove the anti-rad coating. You can hardly blame Nvidia for their users being too lazy to follow basic directions.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949417)

Jesus christ, a slashdotter who can't recognise rot13? Pathetic.

Cyrnfr hfr tbbtyr arkg gvzr gb trg na nafjre guvf fvzcyr dhrfgvba = Please use google next time to get an answer this simple question

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 6 years ago | (#24948443)

the packaging is what the silicon wafer is embedded in to make it a chip. It's the packaging that interfaces the gpu with the board.
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_circuit_packaging [wikipedia.org]

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (4, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | about 6 years ago | (#24948453)

An actual microchip is absolutely miniscule. The ceramic(or plastic, or meta) that holds it and contains the pins that get soldered to the board is called packaging.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (2, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | about 6 years ago | (#24948483)

Chip packaging refers to the part around the silicon. In your stereotypical chip, it's the gray 'body' that the pins emerge from.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (1)

shadow_slicer (607649) | about 6 years ago | (#24948485)

Each chip is actually just a really thin slice of silicon with extra impurities added in important places. This small slice of silicon is quite fragile and doesn't really have an interface that you can easily connect to. So they put this slice in a "package" which is usually plastic or ceramic but occasionally metal. Then they use very thin gold wires to connect points on the silicon slice to pins that come out of the package. Then the package is sealed. The package exists to protect the fragile silicon slice from the environment and aid in conducting heat away from the chip. Nvidia has admitted that there was a problem with their packaging process that reduced the efficiency of heat transfer.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (1)

Ioldanach (88584) | about 6 years ago | (#24948489)

The slice of silicon wafer that makes up the guts are the 'chip'. The black piece you can see with the wires sticking out of it, and with the wires inside that connect to the actual chip is the packaging.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (1)

zzsmirkzz (974536) | about 6 years ago | (#24948491)

Well, packaging when used in a chip manufacturing context, means taking the actual "chip" and putting it in its "package". The "package" is the protective shell around the chip that you actually see and has the pins that connect the chip to the board. The "chip" on the other hand, is a tiny little square/rectangle, that is put into the package, and then wired to the external pins.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 6 years ago | (#24948521)

For a while now, chip packaging has referred to the material around the chip. Also the packaging can be used as a name for the board interface to the chip as the pin assembly is considered part of the package. One current Intel desktop chip packaging for Core 2 Duo is LGA775 [wikipedia.org] or Socket T. Package is sometimes overlooked as a factor of chips but it is important. For the MacBook Air, Apple worked with Intel to shrink the package 60% to fit into the very small motherboard.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948573)

Although it seems like a very odd way of wording it as to me packaging implies something that is discarded.

It's not odd wording at all. It's your definition that's wrong. Check out the dictionary. #3a A preassembled unit.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948813)

Yuo're right, you're no electrical engineer. I am, however. The packaging refers to what holds the silicon; the package is the chip with the (generally) epoxy case and pins.

Re:Seriously, what is the issue with Nvidia chips? (3, Funny)

kesuki (321456) | about 6 years ago | (#24949269)

"If someone could explain in non-layman's terms what exactly the problem was I would much appreciate it."

nobody else caught your request for 'non-layman's terms' so here goes:

Chip Scale Packaging (CSP) Technology
The information presented in this chapter has been collected from a number of sources describing CSP
activities, both nationally at IVF and reported elsewhere in the literature. The most important of the former
being the Chip Scale Packaging Task Force, an international multi-client programme carried out between
1996 and 1997 and a project work carried out by two students at Chalmers University of Technology..
D1. Introduction to CSP Technology
D1.1
Definition of CSP
Originally, CSP was the acronym for Chip Size Packaging but very few packages are of true chip size.
Therefore, the acronym is today usually used for Chip Scale Packaging. According to IPC's standard J-STD-
012, "Implementation of Flip Chip and Chip Scale Technology", a CSP shall have an area of
no more than 1.2X the area of the original die size and is direct surface mountable [D1].
D1.2
Description of various types of CSPs
In contrast to most other package types, the name of the package type, "Chip Scale Packaging", contains no
information about how the package is constructed, except for that it shall have approximately the same size
as the chip. Therefore, CSPs include component types with probably more dissimilar characteristics than
any two other IC package types clearly manifesting the inaccuracy to look at CSPs as a homogenous group.
Some packages look like miniaturised BGAs which names like miniBGA and BGA indicate. Others have
leads which give them properties similar to conventional leaded packages such as PLCCs. For this reason,
CSPs are often classified based on their structure. At least four major categories have been proposed [D2].
These are: flex circuit interposer, rigid substrate interposer, custom lead frame, and wafer-level assembly.
Examples of packages of these categories are given in Figure D1.
Chip
Sealing Resin
Lead Frame
Wire Bond
Tape
Protective
Layer
Custom Lead Frame
Package by Fujitsu
Rigid Substrate Interposer
Package by Matsushita
Chip
Sealing Resin
Land pad
Ceramic Substrate
Via
Stud Bump
Flex Circuit Interposer
Package by Tessera
Chip
Ring
Lead
Flex Tape
Bump Array
Elastomer
Wafer-Level Assembly
Package by ChipScale
Metal Cap
Epoxy
Metal Lead
Metal Plated Silicon Post
Silicon Circuit
Figure D1. Main CSP Categories
D1.3
Driving Forces for using CSPs
The main driving forces for using CSPs are:
  Improvement in performance
  Size and weight reduction
  Easier assembly process (compared to bare die attach)
  Lower overall production costs.
Of these, reduction of size and weight are probably the most important factors for initial adoption of CSP
technology. Consequently, consumer products like camcorders, mobile phones, and laptops are among the
products that have been first to utilise CSPs.
D1.4
Advantages and disadvantages using CSPs
Chip Scale Packaging combines the best of flip chip assembly and surface mount technology. It gives
almost the size and performance benefits as bare die chip assembly, at the same time as it offer the
advantages of a encapsulated package. CSPs can be standardised, tested, surface mounted, and reworked.
So far most CSPs have been produced for applications with rather low number of I/Os but many types of
CSPs can be produced with large number of interconnections. However, before CSPs with large number of
I/Os will find widespread use, techniques for producing reliable low-cost high-density printed boards must be
developed.
The advantages and disadvantages of CSPs depend on what one compare with, standard surface mount or
bare die assembly. Due to the large spread of characteristics for various CSPs, it also depend on the type of
CSP.
Advantages toward standard surface mount technology
  Reduced package footprint
  Thin profile
  Reduced weight
  Better electrical performance
  Area array distribution of connections (for most CSPs)
Advantages toward bare die assembly
  Encapsulated package
  Testable
  Mountable with conventional assembly line
  Die shrinkable without changing footprint
  Some CSPs do not require underfill when mounted on organic substrates
Disadvantages toward standard surface mount technology
  Immature technology and poor infrastructure
  Limited availability
  Inspection of the solder joints is impossible without costly x-ray equipment
  Limited reliability data available
  Packages with high I/O counts require expensive high-density boards
  Rework more difficult
  Many CSPs require underfill when mounted on organic substrates
  Potential high cost
Disadvantages toward bare die assembly
  Somewhat inferior electrical and thermal properties
Page 3
D1.5
Standards and Common Practice
The Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronics Circuits (IPC) has released a standard dealing
with CSP, J-STD-012 "Implementation of Flip Chip and Chip Scale Technology" [D1]. This
standard contains technology overview and information on design considerations, material properties and
processes, mounting and interconnection structures, assembly processes, requirements for reliability, and
standardisation.
Although one of the advantages of CSPs compared to bare die assembling is the possibility to standardise,
pitch and attachment site dimensions are still not standardised. Pitch and attachment site dimensions for
grid array packages proposed by the Electronics Industry Association of Japan (EIAJ) is presented in Table
D1.
Table D1. Proposed pitch and attachment site dimensions for grid array packages by the EIAJ.
Pitch
(mm)
Attachment
site diameter
(mm)
0.4
0.25
0.5
0.30
0.65
0.40
0.8
0.50
1.0
Tessera in USA has proposed 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.00, and 1.25 mm as standard pitches and 0.10, 0.15, 0.20,
0.25, 0.30, and 0.35 mm as standard attachment site diameters for grid array packages.
For leaded packages, J-STD-012 prescribes that JEDEC's publication JEP-95 should be followed which
recommend the following pitches: 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.63, and 0.65 mm.
New standards that need to be developed are defined in J-STD-012. These standards, include the following:
  Std No. 102: Mechanical outline Standard for Flip Chip or Chip Scale Configurations
  Std No. 103: Performance Standard for Flip Chip/Chip Scale Bumps
  Std No. 104: Test Methods for Flip Chip or Chip Scale Performance
  Std No. 105: Flip Chip/Chip Scale Carrier Tray Standard
  Std No. 106: Bare Dice as Flip Chip or Chip Scale Configuration Management Standard
  Std No. 107: Design Standard for Flip Chip and Chip Scale Mounting Structures
  Std No. 111: Design Standard for Flip Chip/Chip Scale Assembly Configuration
  Std No. 112: Standard for Flip Chip/Chip Scale Assembly Performance Requirements
  Std No. 113: Test Methods for Qualification and Evaluation of Flip Chip/Chip Scale Assemblies
  Std No. 114: Standard for Flip Chip/Chip Scale Assembly Rework and Repair Techniques
  Std No. 115: Flip Chip/Chip Scale Assembly Reliability Standard
  Std No. 120: Qualification and Performance Standard for Flux used in Flip Chip Assembly
Some of these are now available as proposals (see Section D4.3)
D1.6
Price
Only a few CSPs are in production today and then in low volume production. Therefore, it is difficult to get
information of what the price will be for various CSPs. Furthermore, the large variations in construction of
the various package types will also affect the production costs for the various packages. Many company
forecast that the cost initially will be 10 to 50 % higher than conventional packages and that cost parity will
be reached when they are produced in high volumes.

RNC Responds (0, Offtopic)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 6 years ago | (#24948255)

"Won't anyone think of the corporations?"

Wait till court... (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24948275)

Let's see, a securities case or class action lawsuit where the plaintiffs claim that the defendant deliberately did something evil.

Ho hum?

This is news?

9 out of 10 of these cases just quietly die after an initial round of discovery proves that the plaintiffs, indeed, have no case.

So... (1)

Serician (1296775) | about 6 years ago | (#24948339)

What are the chances that anyone is actually going to get a new card out of this? If the lawsuit gives out replacement cards, then NVIDIA goes bankrupt replacing them all. And if the result is cash, how many pissed off NVIDIA card-owners will switch to ATI instead? And then NVIDIA goes bankrupt. Either way, if you own stocks, get out now. And if you work for NVIDIA? Brush off your resumé...

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948689)

It's a shareholder lawsuit. They aren't suing for cards.

cat has my tongue (1)

vaedur (1357815) | about 6 years ago | (#24948403)

I have a broker 8800gs on my desk and a working 3870HD that rocks in my machine.

The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948413)

This would have never happened if people would just shut the fuck up and quit bitching about things like lead solder. RHoS compliant solder is what causes the failure of these cards that really isn't NVIDIA's fault, it is all the people who bitch about this and force everone to do this RHoS compliance shit.

Lead solder works better and it is more stable at higher temperature, the shit they have to use now is more prone failure at higher temperatures which GPUs tend to produce a lot of.

If we should be suing anyone it is the fucking people that bitch about lead and even other chemicals that naturally exist in nature.

Is nVidia covering these under the warranty? (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 6 years ago | (#24948433)

If nVidia is spending $200 million to cover these faulty items under the warranty, then why file a law suit? If your card is out of warranty, then nVidia has no legal obligation to fix it. That's what a warranty means. It might be frusrating, but if they warrant the item for 1 year and it fails in 3 years then I don't see why they are liable.

Of course, I have one of these bad chips in my MacBook Pro, so hopefully it will fail within the 2 and a half years I have left and they will fix it. If not, I'll be crying too - but probably not suing.

Re:Is nVidia covering these under the warranty? (2, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 6 years ago | (#24948935)

It has absolutely nothing to do with people who bought the video cards. It's all about the people who bought the stock when nvidia was claiming things were good when they new they weren't - they don't get a warranty/refund...

Are Class Action Damages Warranted? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 6 years ago | (#24948651)

This seems to be another marginal use of the class action by attorneys looking for an easy payday while the rest of us all get cheques for $0.33 and graphics card prices go up by a couple of dollars to compensate (aka the lawyer tax). It is not as if ALL your data is going to be lost if your graphics card suddenly fails and unless you live out in the boondocks there is probably somewhere not too far away where you can get a replacement the same day. Unless nVidia refuses to replace fried cards or reimburse customers I really do not see the need for a class action lawsuit. Besides, are businessmen (who might want to sue for loss of business) likely to be using GeForce 8800 graphics cards in their workstations? Probably not. It is more likely that this is another example of the Lawyers Full Employment Act (with apologies to Mr. Beckerman and other honest attorneys) than a genuine issue of consumer redress.

Re:Are Class Action Damages Warranted? (2, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | about 6 years ago | (#24949025)

This seems to be another marginal use of the class action by attorneys looking for an easy payday while the rest of us all get cheques for $0.33 and graphics card prices go up by a couple of dollars to compensate (aka the lawyer tax).

The class is stockholders not consumers. Unless you hold/held stock in Nvidia in the timerange, you won't see anything.

Re:Are Class Action Damages Warranted? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 6 years ago | (#24949295)

Well, I must confess that I am entirely ignorant of securities disclosure law requirements. Perhaps someone among us who knows a bit more can comment on how likely the investors are to get anything out of this? It was my understanding that investing, particularly in stocks, always entails risk in various forms, including incomplete public information. Did the board specifically make misleading statements at the shareholder meeting, for example, when they had insider knowledge of the flaws (i.e. what did they know and when did they know it)?

Saddening.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24948949)

From the onset of the GeForce series, I had always held Nvidia with high regard. Their cards were frequently the defacto industry standard in terms of availability, and I was always excited when a new detonator pack was released, improving performance and features. Yes, over the years they've had their headbutting with the OS community when it came to drivers and functionality, but as of the past year, improvements were being made.

Unfortunately, this news about Exec's, if indeed true, saddens me deeply. I always looked forward to Nvidia's press releases and seeing what new tech. they could come up with. Keeping the bleeding edge battle with ATI is something that the industry needed and something that ONLY good things would come out of, for consumers.

But here we are, in another 'scandal' where the exec's 'gut' the company, and its reputation as an industry leader. Like pretty much every other industry, the graphics chipset corner has fallen prey. It is not the engineering, marketing, or position that mucks things up, but the PHB's at the top.

I was naive to think that something so large as this would ever hit one of my favorite hardware vendors. But I guess the norm for C.O.'s and Board Exec's has finally infiltrated one of the last companies I had true appreciation for.

Ultimately, this will leave me with a big hole as to who I can really trust for my graphics powerhouse. ATI, though slowly coming around, is still thoroughly dragging its feet with Open Source. Nvidia? How can I really trust them now. Truth is, I can't. And THAT, is the biggest hit a company takes, when it comes to its consumers.

you sfail it? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949061)

Prima donna5 to community. The

What models does this affect? (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 6 years ago | (#24949121)

Is there a list of affected models buried in there somewhere?

Does this have anything to do with the RROD ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24949407)

Doesnt NVIDIA supply the graphics chips that were part of the problem for microsoft?

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