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     Two strikes for NVIDIA
      Posted on 03/07/2008 at 10:26 by Marc
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    NVIDIA has just published new financial information on its second fiscal quarter which will end July 27th with notably two items of bad news for investors.

    The first is that the company estimates that revenue will be between 875 to 950 million dollars instead of the initially forecast 1.09 billion. Nvidia mentions three causes for this decrease: less than expected world demand, a delay in the launch of its latest MCPs as well as price readjustments in order to respond to rival products.

    The second piece of bad news is that NVIDIA will debit its accounts a cost of 150 to 200 million dollars in anticipation of warrantees, reparations, returns, replacements and other costs related to the failure of certain of its GPU and MCP chips found in PC laptops. Some configurations that integrate these chips are showing a higher than normal return rate.

    Without having found the exact main cause of breakdown, NVIDIA indicates its tests suggest a combination of the following factors: a problem with material used in the production of the chip, the manner in which the chip handles thermal dissipation, and how the user utilizes his machine.

    In other words, it would seem that these chips do not properly resist initially planned temperatures and even the thermal controls that are supposed to protect them from failure by activating ventilation beyond a certain value has proved to be insufficient.

    NVIDIA says that it has developed new drivers which will make fans run as soon as the machines starts up in order to reduce the temperature of chips and thus the risk of breakdown. They also indicate having exchanged the problematic material for a more robust one and are working with laptop manufacturers in order to modify their thermal control software so that the GPU is better cooled.

    Finally, NVIDIA mentions that it is in discussion with its manufacturer, TSMC, in order that it be entirely or partly reimbursed for its costs related to this production defect and that a claim will be filed with its insurer. They add that the high defect rate only affects mobile products but that it will continue tests and investigations into others.

    Some bad news then and all the more so that no specifics were given on the products affected. The consequences on consumers will therefore be double. On the one hand, those that own a machine based on an NVIDIA chip will fear having a defective component and for greater chances of breakdown. On the other hand, those who were planning on buying a laptop based on any NVIDIA solution may be hesitant.

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