Nvidia faces down lawsuit from laptop owners

By Justin Mann on
Throughout 2008 there were numerous reports involving Nvidia and faulty graphics chips, primarily present among mobile GPUs. After arguing that its chip suppliers, laptop markers and even consumers were to blame, the company eventually admitted to the problem and said it would take a $196 million charge to cover the cost of replacing “significant quantities” of failing graphics processors. Some affected users have found this insufficient, though, and are filing a joint lawsuit against Nvidia accusing them of “violating consumer-protection laws.”

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status and want the graphics firm to pay “unspecified damages” as well as replace the faulty chips. Interestingly, those behind the lawsuit all had an HP, Dell, or Apple laptop, which means that they weren't completely left out in the cold when the failures broke out. All three vendors offered extended support to affected notebooks, and both HP and Dell released a firmware update designed to prevent graphics chips from overheating by increasing fan speeds.

Without mentioning why they didn’t exercise their right to return defective hardware at that time, the plaintiffs found those measures a “grossly inadequate remedy,” as it results in the degradation of battery life and system performance as well as increased noise. In addition, they claim the fix only ensures that the computer will fail after the OEM's warranty period expires, potentially leaving consumers with nothing but a defective computer.

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