Dell customers unhappy with BIOS band-aid for faulty NVIDIA GPUs

Dell customers unhappy with BIOS band-aid for faulty NVIDIA GPUs

Summary: Dell customers are unhappy with the BIOS patch released by Dell to counter the problem with faulty NVIDIA GPUs, and quite rightly so!

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Dell customers are unhappy with the BIOS patch released by Dell to counter the problem with faulty NVIDIA GPUs, and quite rightly so!

Here's just a small selection of comments left by Dell customers on the Direct2Dell blog:

"IMHO having the BIOS activate the fans sooner to compensate for a defective chipset is a band aid solution."

"Well, since this BIOS update won't mysteriously change the die packaging material, the only real thing you can do is to extent warranty or premium support to the amount of years you wanna use the computer, and still then live with the fact that your computer could die on you any time."

"So rather than replacing the faulty parts you are going to just turn up the fans, at the expense of battery life and noise.  I would rather just leave the bios as it is and get a proper fix if the problem occurs.  Even if the problem occurs out of warranty I think there is a strong case for Dell fixing it for free since there is an admitted manufacturing defect."

"With this solution, you try to push the issue outside the customers warranty-time.. but what's after that time? will you repair the notebooks for free?"

"nice to see that a hardware issue is fixed by software update.   how is a physical defect suppose to be fixed by software? time to step up to the plate dell and start offering a replacement device."

"I tend to agree with some of the other comments. A bios update to turn on cooling fans is not the appropriate response when I have spent approx. $2000 on an XPS that I now fear will have a shortened life span."

I think that customers are right to be worried. If there's a problem with the GPUs in a range of Dell notebooks then a BIOS update is little more than a band-aid and isn't going to fix the underlying problem. If I'd shelled out $1,000+ on a notebook and discovered that the GPU had a problem, with it where it could go dead at any time, I think it'd get pretty emotional about it.

Affected Dell notebooks are as follows:

  • Inspiron 1420
  • Latitude D630
  • Latitude D630c
  • Dell Precision M2300
  • Vostro Notebook 1310
  • Vostro Notebook 1400
  • Vostro Notebook 1510
  • Vostro Notebook 1710
  • XPS M1330
  • XPS M1530

Thoughts? Anyone here own an affected Dell notebook? What do you think of Dell's handling of this issue?

Topics: Dell, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Processors, Software

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Talkback

46 comments
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  • What is HP offering to do?

    I understand they have several models affected.
    bjbrock
    • excellent question

      My recommendation to readers of the TalkBack threads for this article: skip everything past this point. There's a lot of whining and name-calling going on.

      Congratulations to "bjbrock" for asking the important question. Since HP has this problem, what are THEY doing to address it? If HP is doing the right thing, it creates pressure on Dell to do the same. If HP is likewise going to bail and turn on the fans sooner, it gives Dell cover.
      GDF
    • They are offering to repair them...

      All registered users were sent notices, but if your notebook is in the group affected they will repair it at no charge to the customer:

      http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10000910-64.html?tag=rtcol;relblogs

      And Dell wonders why HP's doing better on the consumer lines.
      dunn@...
    • HP: We're extending the warranty

      As per this HP link:

      http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&product=1842189&lang=en&docname=c01087277#c01087277_identify

      HP is extending the limited warranty by 24 months for symptoms related to the Nvidia GPU problem, for systems that have the affected chipset.

      They have also published an updated BIOS that, like Dell's BIOS release, changes the fan profile to hopefully keep the system from failing due to heat buildup.

      Kudos to HP for expliciting offering to extend the warranty period to address the problem. They will no doubt be negotiating with Nvidia for compensation.
      GDF
      • HP: Please cover all defective NVIDIA GPUs

        Don't praise HP just yet...their extended warranty only covers AMD based notebooks. I had an HP dv9260us notebook go bad on November 16, 2008 with a scrambled screen. It was an Intel core 2 duo with the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 GPU. The notebook was purchased on April 5, 2007 with a standard HP one year warranty. Within a short time, I would get periodic error messages with the video (OS is Vista Ultimate 64-bit) that the driver experienced an error but recovered. Thought it was a software issue with Vista? Then on November 16, 2008, after the notebook had been on for a half-hour, the screen became scrambled and useless. Rebooted and the screen was normal for a while and became scrambled again. I took it to a local computer repair center; they said it was a bad video card and the motherboard would have to be replaced at a cost of $795. Needless to say, at that price, I decided to buy a new notebook, a Dell Studio 17 with an ATI video card that is on order. Until last week I thought I was the only one affected by this problem. Don't understand why HP is only extending the warranty for AMD CPU notebooks with the NVIDIA GPU; they should take care of anyone with these defective NVIDIA GPUs. The defect has forced me to replace the notebook purchased at a cost of $1929 that was only 18 months old! HP will not fix Intel based notebooks with defective NVIDIA GPUs; they will charge you $400+ if the warranty has expired. That is just inexcusible since the NVIDIA GPU had a design flaw that all the NVIDIA GPUs will fail. I hope HP wakes up to these problems and does the right thing. At this point I don't expect buying any more HP products in the future. There are class action lawsuits out there but who knows how long they will take to reach a decision against HP and then will the resolution be what we want; that is get the defective notebooks fixed or replaced? don't want a $100 HP coupon toward the purchase of another HP notebook!!!
        petval333
  • Forget NVIDIA and go with ATI

    Ever since I started installing ATI chip video cards, it has been pure bliss! I no longer have to put up with the crappy NVIDIA hardware or drivers. AMD seems to update their drivers monthly and I never had a bad experience.
    cnfrisch
    • Not a viable solution at all

      For most people, this is simply not possible without swapping out the entire motherboard. Dell should replace the defective parts, and charge the cost directly to nVIDIA. I happen to prefer nVIDIA graphics cards, because I use Linux at home. The nVIDIA drivers provide some features that are not yet available on ATI chipsets. I suspect this will change under AMD's management, though...
      barence773
      • Should be able to put in a video card

        and it overides the board based chips, so no motherboard change should be needed, but I agree that is not the best way to go about as aren't you paying for a working system?

        Having to buy more hardware to "fix" what you just bought shouldn't have to be [i]the[/i] best option to correct the problem.
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
        • One Phrase

          I have one phrase for you:

          The affected systems are laptops.
          Stoutner
  • RE: Dell customers unhappy with BIOS band-aid for faulty NVIDIA GPUs

    problem i see most people want something for nothing, dell did not manufacture the product, NVIDIA did, dell is fixing what they can, it amazes me how many people just want to blame Dell for something they have no control on, and the problem is not just with DELL, although the author did not mention that
    Monosdeja
    • You're clueless

      Who cares from whom Dell purchased the bloody hardware? As a customer, I'm not interested in all that. I simply and rightly want my shop to deliver a good end product to me.
      pjotr123
      • clueless???

        NOT, i do realize dell does have responsibilities, when the problem doesnt only affect DELL systems but others also, the problem is not with DELL, sorry but life is not handed to you on a silver platter, problem happen, DELL is one of the best in fixing those issue when they can, ya need to grow up, i'm sure there are things in you life you can not fix, change etc but ya gonna blame someone else and explect them to give you something for nothing on a silver platter.
        Monosdeja
        • Where to start...

          Well the problem is Dells and nVidia's and since Dell's sells systems with these defective parts in them, they are responsible to deal with fixing their systems and then going back to Dells vendor and recouping the costs.

          http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/services/dell_hardware_servc.pdf
          Here is an excerpt from Dells warranty this indicates they are responsible for defective materials.


          " under this Agreement are repair services that are necessary because of any existing defect or a defect
          occurs in materials or workmanship in the System"


          Limits of Support Services. THIS AGREEMENT IS OF LIMITED DURATION AND COVERAGE. This Agreement
          extends only to uses for which the System was designed. Except as stated below, the services Dell agrees to
          provide under this Agreement are repair services that are necessary because of any existing defect or a defect
          occurs in materials or workmanship in the System or in any System component covered by this Agreement.
          Preventive maintenance is not included. Installation, de-installation, or relocation services and operating supplies
          are not included. Repairs necessitated by software problems, or as a result of alteration, adjustment, or repair by
          anyone other than Dell (or its representatives) are not included. Dell is not liable for any failure or delay in
          performance due to any cause beyond Dell?s control.
          How this is having things handed to you on Silver platter is beyond me.
          mrlinux
        • clueless??

          The problem IS Dell's. We paid Dell for the computer, not Nvidia. If there are problems with any component in the Dell computer, Dell has full responsibility to fix it whether that means fix it themselves or work with their suppliers to fix it. If you buy a Chevrolet car and the windshield is defective would you expect to have to go to the company that made the glass to get it replaced (Hint: the glass isn't made by Chevy)? No! You'd go back to your Chevy dealer's and expect them to fix it. And they would. No one here wants to be handed anything on a silver platter. We just want a useable, defect-free computer that we paid for.
          toml_12953
          • Well said!

            Posted by toml_12953

            "If you buy a Chevrolet car and the windshield is defective would you expect to have to go to the company that made the glass to get it replaced (Hint: the glass isn't made by Chevy)? No! You'd go back to your Chevy dealer's and expect them to fix it."

            May I add that if Chevy's response was, "Run the AC more to prevent windshield failure", customer response would be less than ideal> :0)
            Night Breed
          • Clueless?

            "Dell is not liable for any failure or delay in
            performance due to any cause beyond Dell?s control."

            My Chevy doesn't contain a paragraph with this kind of language, so naturally, I expect them to fix ANY defective part. So, I agree that based on this language, the NVidia chip is not technically Dell's responsibility. However, that said, I think Dell should do exactly what HP is willing to do. It is just good customer relations to take care of a customer's problem. That how you get customers to come back to you. If Dell chooses to continue in their present mode, they will pay for it down the road with lost revenue due to a major sales slump. Fair is fair!

            Recovering Windows addict.
            cheesyone
    • Accountability

      It is not a matter of the customer wanting something for nothing. Quite the contrary, the customer paid quite a lot of something, and should get at least what they paid for.

      As far as the logic of how Dell shouldn't be held responsible because nVidia made the problematic part, that doesn't hold water. When a car has a defective part, Ford, Honda, etc. don't tell you, "It's not our problem; take it up with the OEM!" And they definitely don't tell you, "Yeah, we know that the fan belt has a flaw, but if you stick enough electrical tape on it, it'll hold on a while longer." They (usually) will replace the defective part.

      It's about accountability and customer service. Dell sold a product. When they accepted nVidia as an OEM provider as part of their product, they became responsible for that part. If they weren't willing to support it, they wouldn't (or shouldn't) have bought parts from them and made it part of their product, because, the bottom line is, whomever made it, what Dell sells isn't nVidia parts or Intel parts or TI parts or whatever, but a Dell laptop or desktop, a Dell product. Therefore, just like that car, washer, or any other appliance sold as a complete product, the ball is in the maker of that completed product's court.

      In this case, that's Dell.
      Whyaylooh
      • Accountability

        Dell has done what they can. If it breaks DELL will fix it, not all system (100%) are affected by the issue. So a recall of every laptop desktop to replace the video card is not an option.
        Once again dell will fix the issue if it breaks.
        The author states as if it is only Dell's that are affected which is not true.
        Monosdeja
        • so you like purchasing defective products

          I'm not going to purchase a TV that shuts it self off when ever it wants. This is what a warranty is for. Dell messed up and they need to fix their blunder. Quality Control screwed up big time and all they give you is a BIOS fix
          RIAAsucks
    • Sorry but Dell has to answer for the package

      Just like everyone else who has used the chips really. If you package up a bad CPU, GPU, ram, whatever, it is YOUR responsibility to fix the problem. If that means replacing the motherboards in ALL the affected products then so be it.

      Dell has a responsibility to it's customers and nvidia has a responsibility to Dell. Dell should fix it's customer's problems first THEN hit nvidia up for repair costs.
      SamCPP