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NVIDIA: No problem with MacBook chips

Posted on Wednesday, December 10 2008 @ 00:19:01 CET by

Earlier today Charlie Demerjian published a sensational article at The Inquirer, claiming the new Apple MacBook Pro systems with GeForce 9600 graphics have "bad bumps". The reporter bought a new MacBook Pro and cut it into pieces to investigate the NVIDIA chips with an electron microscope. Demerjian claims the GeForce 9600 chips in the MacBook Pro have the older, defective high-lead bumps and says you should avoid the MacBook Pro. However, NVIDIA denied these allegations in a phone interview with CNET, claiming Demerjian's logic is flawed:
Nvidia vehemently disagreed with the allegations in a phone interview, calling them completely untrue. "His initial analysis of problems with some of the older chips was already flawed," said Michael Hara, vice president, investor relations and communications at Nvidia.

"(The Inquirer reporter) believes high-lead bumps are bad. That's his underlying theory. It's not true," Hara said.

He continued: "When you build a device, it's the material properties and everything in combination that leads to the robustness of the design. What we call the 'material set.' It's a combination of the underfill (a kind of a glue that helps hold the chip down) and the bump together that creates that stability in that connection," he said.

Hara talked about how the original problem announced by Nvidia on July 2 was rectified. "A more robust underfill would have taken the stress off the bumps and kept that (original problem) from happening. What we did was, we just simply went to a more robust underfill. Stopped using that (previous) underfill, kept using high-lead bumps, but we changed the underfill. And now we don't see the problem."

"Intel has shipped hundreds of millions of chipsets that use the same material-set combo. We're using virtually the same materials that Intel uses in its chipsets," Hara said.

Hara also said Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) ships "staggering" number of chips to many companies worldwide with high-lead bumps. TSMC is the world's largest contract chip manufacturer and makes chips for Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices, and many other companies.

Nvidia also issued this written statement: "The GeForce 9600 GPU in the MacBook Pro does not have bad bumps. The material set (combination of underfill and bump) that is being used is similar to the material set that has been shipped in 100's of millions of chipsets by the world's largest semiconductor company (Intel)."



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