Windows Vista users' ongoing frustrations with graphics-card maker Nvidia have boiled over.
A new Web site, NvidiaClassAction.info, created by IT consultant Dan Goldman, is gauging whether there is sufficient user interest to launch a class-action suit against Nvidia over the vendor's allegedly spotty Windows Vista support.
The NvidiaClasACtion home page explains the site's purpose:
"This website gathers information to determine the viability for a class action lawsuit against nVidia (and some of its manufacturing partners) for problems involving 'Vista Ready Certified' products on the Microsoft Vista operating system.
"We at www.nVidiaclassaction.info believe that nVidia and its manufacturing partners defrauded us. Therefore, we are proactively gathering information from victims around the world who have suffered similar harms, and who we believe have also been defrauded.
"This information will provide a law firm in New York City (which must – at this point – remain anonymous) evidence to determine viability for a class action lawsuit."
Goldman said he purchased an 8800 series Nvidia graphics card that was labeled as "Designed for Windows Vista" before Microsoft launched Vista on January 30. Once Vista was released to consumers, Nvidia made available the necessary drivers for the cards. But the drivers have been plagued with bugs, Goldman said. Based on support forum threads on Nvidia's site, thousands of users have had trouble with the cards/drivers, Goldman said.
"(F)or more than a month, nvidia has tried to hush the problem and has not provided any solution or information regarding the problem. this, of course, meant that people could not figure out if the problem was with drivers or with their system configuration or even hardware malfunctions. this, in turn, lead to people returning various hardware components and getting replacements, just to find out that it did not solve the problem. it also lead to people spending dozens of hours on system configuration changes, hardware reassembly, windows tweaking, bios tweaking, forum reading and so on. all of it without finding solutions."
In the online forum of the Web site is a posting that is attributed to Nvidia PR representative Calisa Cole that asks the Web site creators to "terminate this misleading operation against the Nvidia corporation." However, when I contacted Cole by e-mail about the posting, Cole replied: "I did NOT submit that listing. It was some kind of hack using my name. It's really sad that someone would do it because it undermines the credibility of blogs."
I asked her for an official statement on the Nvidia class-action suit site and Cole did not respond by the time I published this blog entry.
Back to the matter at hand. How bad is the Vista-Nvidia problem? I asked a few Vista power users for their takes. Here are a few:
* Michael Reyes, HardwareGeeks.com: "I am the unhappy owner of an NVIDIA 8800 GTX 768 MB card that I paid nearly 800 dollars for. I can't even play Texas Hold-em on it. For me the biggest disapointment in Vista hasn't come from Microsoft but from NVIDIA. It sucks that a 20 dollar card can play games fine in Windows, but you spend a litle more for a much better gaming experience and you end up with one that's worse."
* Andre Da Costa, Teching It Easy: Problems with Nvidia and Vista have "been going on for too long. It's like they have not been ready since day one with this product, and the aim was just beat AMD to market which has backfired on them. The last time they (Nvidia) released a good driver up date was 84.xx. Ever since then it has a been a living nightmare for users with this product on Vista. (T)his is a product that's critical to the user experience on Vista and if your product is degrading that, it looks bad on Microsoft's part."
* John Obeto, AbsoluteVista: "Nvidia, as well as other GPU manufacturers were partnered with Microsoft on Vista from the beginning. Supposedly! For Nvidia to not have drivers ready as of the RTM (release to manufacturing) release of Vista back in November of 2006, which, incidentally, AMD's ATI division did, is not only a shame, but shows a lack of respect for customers by Nvidia. They then added insult to injury by unlawfully, in my opinion, claiming that the released drivers were 'Built for Vista.' Compounding it all is their (Nvidia's) claim that the problem 'is not their fault, but a Windows Vista problem.' I believe that the executive at Nvidia has not been watching the news or heard of the resultant effects of a lack of customer service on the fortunes of Sony and Dell."
Any other Vista/Nvidia users care to weigh in?