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NVIDIA SEC filing unveils more info about notebook GPU problems

Posted on Thursday, August 21 2008 @ 15:21:02 CEST by


NVIDIA filed a 10-Q quarterly report today to give an update on the company's financial position. Most of the stuff inside this document is pretty boring but you might be interested in this snip regarding the problems with NVIDIA's notebook GPUs.

NVIDIA claims they have not been able to determine a root cause for these higher than normal failure rates but their tests suggest it's related to a weak material set of die/package combination, system thermal management designs, and customer use patterns. NVIDIA assures investors that all of their products that are currently shipping in volume have a different material set that should be more robust. The company promises to fully support their customers in the repair and replacement of impacted MCP and GPU products that fail and says they're engaged in discussions with their supply chain regarding reimbursement of some or all of the costs they have incurred relating to the weak material set.
Our products are complex and may contain defects or experience failures due to any number of issues in design, fabrication, packaging, materials and/or use within a system. If any of our products or technologies contains a defect, compatibility issue or other error, we may have to invest additional research and development efforts to find and correct the issue. Such efforts could divert our management’s and engineers’ attention from the development of new products and technologies and could increase our operating costs and reduce our gross margin. In addition, an error or defect in new products or releases or related software drivers after commencement of commercial shipments could result in failure to achieve market acceptance or loss of design wins. Also, we may be required to reimburse customers, including for customers’ costs to repair or replace the products in the field, which could cause our revenue to decline. A product recall or a significant number of product returns could be expensive, damage our reputation and could result in the shifting of business to our competitors. Costs associated with correcting defects, errors, bugs or other issues could be significant and could materially harm our financial results.

During our fiscal quarter ended July 27, 2008, we recorded a $196.0 million charge against cost of revenue to cover anticipated customer warranty, repair, return, replacement and other associated costs arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of our previous generation MCP and GPU products used in notebook systems. All of our newly manufactured products and all of our products that are currently shipping in volume have a different material set that we believe is more robust.

The previous generation MCP and GPU products that are impacted were included in a number of notebook products that were shipped and sold in significant quantities. Certain notebook configurations of these MCP and GPU products are failing in the field at higher than normal rates. While we have not been able to determine a root cause for these failures, testing suggests a weak material set of die/package combination, system thermal management designs, and customer use patterns are contributing factors. We have worked with our customers to develop and have made available for download a software driver to cause the system fan to begin operation at the powering up of the system and reduce the thermal stress on these chips. We have also recommended to our customers that they consider changing the thermal management of the MCP and GPU products in their notebook system designs. We intend to fully support our customers in their repair and replacement of these impacted MCP and GPU products that fail, and their other efforts to mitigate the consequences of these failures.

We continue to engage in discussions with our supply chain regarding reimbursement to us for some or all of the costs we have incurred and may incur in the future relating to the weak material set. We also continue to seek to access our insurance coverage. However, there can be no assurance that we will recover any such reimbursement. We continue to not see any abnormal failure rates in any systems using NVIDIA products other than certain notebook configurations. However, we are continuing to test and otherwise investigate other products. There can be no assurance that we will not discover defects in other MCP or GPU products.



 



 

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