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Dell issues BIOS update for NVIDIA hardware problem

by Scott Bicheno on 28 July 2008, 10:14


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First aid

Dell has released a number of BIOS updates for laptops running NVIDIA graphics on its blog: Direct2Dell. In the post it says that: “The issue is a weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with GPU temperature fluctuations. If your GPU fails, you may see intermittent symptoms during early stages of failure that include:

  • Multiple images
  • Random characters on the screen
  • Lines on the screen
  • No video”

The BIOS updates apply to the following laptops:

However, the offer of BIOS updates comes heavily nuanced and is clearly far from a comprehensive solution to the problem. The blog post says: “Each of these BIOS updates listed in the table below modifies the fan profile to help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations,” and then adds: “Note: if you are already experiencing video-related issues like the bullet points above, updating the BIOS will not correct them.” Great, thanks.

This is probably just Dell trying to do its bit and putting a sticking plaster over an NVIDIA hardware problem. The ultimate solution would be for Dell to recall these models, ship them to NVIDIA, and get them to sort it out properly.

Of course this would incur staggering expense for NVIDIA and thus is probably something it’s keen to avoid. If some widely circulating rumours are to be believed, some vendors are not only agitating for notebook GPU recalls by NVIDIA, but desktop ones too, in spite of the fact that NVIDIA has insisted desktop GPUs are unaffected.

We would like to hear from any readers who have the above Dell laptop models or indeed any other PCs running NVIDIA graphics that have experienced any of the above symptoms. Also we would like to know how useful you think this BIOS update might be for anyone experiencing these issues.

HEXUS Forums :: 16 Comments

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When was this BIOS released?
I don`t think this problem is as new as nVIDIA would like us to believe. Sat next to me is a laptop with a dead 6800go, If you read up on that card you`ll find that they generally don`t last much longer than one year. Again they seem to fail due to thermal problems (possibly affecting the graphics memory), symptons are obviously similar with corrupt displays, random lines & missing characters………..
The Dell blog post was published on Friday 25th July.
My Quadro fx2500 in my m90 laptop went last night outside of warranty. It's last time I'll be buying a laptop GPU from NVidia considering it would cost about £300 to replace.
Ive got a XPS M1330. Its about 3 months old now, and already had to have a Dell technician come out and replace the mobo and graphics card.

Interestingly the bios revision originally was version A08, and after it was fixed they put A07 on? So technically back-tracking, hmmm . . . .