TG Daily claims between 15,000 and 20,000 ATI Radeon HD 3800 series graphics cards from Diamond Multimedia may have design/manufacturing defects. These cards were sold between January and July of this year to system builders and the retail market.
The cards were manufactured by ITC, and according to TG Daily they were never evaluated and qualified by AMD. The site believes the errors were most likely caused due to manufacturing problems at ITC.
According to our industry source, Diamond Multimedia has been aware of the problem, but decided to keep the “faulty” cards in the channel. We were told that all HD 3850 512 MB cards shipped between January and July are defective as well as a substantial number of HD 3870 512 MB cards and X2 models. All cards lack power management features; the 3850s were identified to have quality issues with poor soldering and integrated memory problems while the 3870s were delivered with a wrong resistor value, which can result in computers not starting up and system crashes.
The whole issue was amplified through a complaint by Alienware, which, according to sources, returned all graphics cards it had purchased from Diamond Multimedia. The system builder found failure rates of more than 10% with X2 cards, more than 2% with 3870 models and almost 8% for 3850 versions. Especially problematic were artifacts in common games as well as system crashes.
For Alienware, the issue was serious enough to scrap its business relationship with Diamond and replace it with another supplier. In total, Alienware returned more than 2600 graphics cards. In a previous instance, Alienware had found 100% of a supply of Diamond Multimedia graphics cards to be defective.