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Faulty graphics processor found in MacBook Pros

Apple offers free repairs to those affected

Apple has confirmed that a number of MacBook Pro laptops manufactured last month may contain faulty Nvidia graphics processors.

Apple joins a number of PC manufacturers including Dell and Hewlett Packard that have previously reported using the bad chips in their systems.

Nvidia said that any replacement costs Apple incurs will be covered by the $196m fund it announced in July. "In a way, this is all old news to us," said Derek Perez, an Nvidia spokesman.

Apple said contrary to what it had been told by Nvidia several months ago, some MacBook Pro laptops equipped with Nvidia's GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be among the machines using flawed chips. Apple cited an internal investigation as the source of its information.

"We've been diligent in our analysis with Apple, as with all our OEM partners," said Perez. "Our analysis is that failure in a MacBook Pro is remote, but Apple is going to decide its warranty or replacement procedures based on their own quality guidelines."

Nvidia first publicly reported a problem with an older generation of its graphics processor in "significant quantities" of laptop PCs, in July. At the time, the company said it would take a $150m to $200m charge against revenue to cover anticipated repair and replacement costs.

More than a month later, Nvidia booked a $196m £114m) charge against its fiscal second-quarter results.

"At that same time, Nvidia assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected," Apple said. "However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers... may be affected."

Hewlett-Packard has confirmed that the bad Nvidia chips were used in 24 different HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario notebook models, while Dell has identified 15 models in its Precision, Latitude, Inspiron, Vostro and XPS lines. Both HP and Dell have issued BIOS updates designed to boost fan speed. The Nvidia chips fail at higher-than-normal rates because of overheating; the increased fan speed is intended to ward off failure of the graphics processor.

NEXT PAGE: Free repair for those affected

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Computerworld


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