Friday, October 10, 2008

Apple Admits NVIDIA GPU Problems in Some MacBook Pros

Earlier I wrote about video issues with MacBooks with NVIDIA GPUs. While NVIDIA hadn't indicated there were issues with its GPUs in Apple products, it was clear from the number of posts at Apple's support forums that there was a problem.

On Friday, Apple posted a tech support article about the problem, and promised that if you have experienced such a failure, "a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty."

NVIDIA admitted to issues earlier in July, when it said it was taking a $150 - $200 million charge to cover (emphasis mine):
... anticipated customer warranty, repair, return, replacement and other consequential costs and expenses arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of our previous generation MCP and GPU products used in notebook systems. All newly manufactured products and all products currently shipping in volume have a different and more robust material set.
At the time, in a post about the issue, Apple said that "NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected."

But Apple did its own investigation, and determined that some models may have been affected.
In July 2008, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within two years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty.

What to look for:
  • Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
  • No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on
Specific products affected:
  • MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors
    • MacBook Pro (17-Inch, 2.4GHz)
    • MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 2.4/2.2GHz)
    • MacBook Pro (Early 2008)
  • These computers were manufactured between approximately May 2007 and September 2008
Apple also said that if an owner had paid for repairs on such a GPU failure, it would refund the costs.



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