Apple warns users about bad Nvidia graphics chips

In offering free repairs on impacted MacBook Pro laptops, Apple yesterday told users that the symptoms of faulty Nvidia graphics processors include "distorted video or no video."

Apple on Thursday contended that, contrary to promises by Nvidia Corp., MacBook Pro laptops may contain bad Nvidia graphics chips. Apple also offered users an extended warranty and free repairs on the affected PCs.

In a support document posted on its Web site, Apple claimed it had been assured by Nvidia in July of this year that MacBook Pros with Nvidia graphics processors would not be affected by the "higher than normal failure rate" that has plagued some of Nvidia's processors.

A number of other OEMs, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, have also pointed to possible problems with Nvidia's graphics chips.

"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," Apple officials said in its blog post Thursday. "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."

Apple's support document goes on to explain the symptoms to look for, including distorted or scrambled video on the screen, or no video at all. It advised owners of MacBook Pros with these symptoms to take their laptops to either an Apple Retail Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) for evaluation.

As previously reported in BetaNews, an unhappy Nvidia shareholder has meanwhile filed a class action suit against Nvidia in northern California, accusing the graphics company of violating Securities Exchange Act provisions by allegedly having knowledge of the flaw as early as November 2007 and keeping it from the public.

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