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Lawsuit Claims Nvidia Execs Concealed Serious Flaw 219

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the its-not-a-bug-if-you-say-its-on-purpose dept.
snydeq writes "A lawsuit filed in a California court on Tuesday alleges Nvidia concealed the existence of a serious defect in its graphics-chip line for at least eight months 'in a series of false and misleading statements made to the investing public.' The lawsuit contends that Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang and CFO Marvin Burkett knew as early as November 2007 about a flaw that exists in the packaging used with some of the company's graphics chips that caused them to fail at unusually high rates. Nvidia publicly acknowledged the flaw on July 2, when it announced plans to take a one-time charge of up to $200 million to cover warranty costs related to the problem. That announcement caused Nvidia's stock price to fall by 31 percent to $12.98 and reduced the company's market capitalization by $3 billion, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit seeks class-action status against Nvidia and unspecified damages."
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Lawsuit Claims Nvidia Execs Concealed Serious Flaw

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  • by RingDev (879105) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:03PM (#24947925) Homepage Journal

    I had an nVidia 8800GT card fail prematurely early this summer. I was pleased with its performance, other than the failure, so I picked up the newer version of the same card, from a different manufacturer. Unfortunately that was the middle of June :(

    So odds are high that this card is going to die early too. And of course I don't have receipts for either card at this point, but if there's a chance at recouping some of my investment, I'd sign up.

    -Rick

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:07PM (#24948013)

      You should definitely sign up. They will most likely be providing a $20 coupon to all people who purchased nVidia products between a specified date range. I've heard the lawyers might get a small piece of the settlement too - like 50%.

      • by mapsjanhere (1130359) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:25PM (#24948311)
        Sorry, this is the law suit for duped stock buyers, not duped product buyers. The duped product lawsuit is in room 12.
        Past the joke, if it makes it past the warranty period you have little regress as a customer. While it's illegal to say "we're doing great" while knowing your main product line is failing from a security law point of view, unless the failing parts are in a safety critical application (e. g. child car seats) there is no law mandating a recall/replacement/settlement for selling a crappy product.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by morgdx (688154)

        Okay, so I get a $20 coupon. The 8600GT in my MacBook Pro failed this week in a way which is strongly consistent with the other reports.

        The laptop is 3 months out of warranty so it's going to cost me around $1200 to get it fixed, when this appears to be a result of a manufacturing defect.

        You desktop jockeys might just be able to slot in a new card and write it down to experience, but laptops are affected too. It appears my options are limited to:

        • Hoping Apple's "legendary" customer service comes through and
        • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:47PM (#24948621)

          The laptop is 3 months out of warranty so it's going to cost me around $1200 to get it fixed,

          Apple has a flat-fee repair of like $300, fyi. Take it to a Genius Bar.

          • by sam_paris (919837) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:33PM (#24950305)
            That's not true in fact. I recently had my Macbook Pro repaired out of warranty and it pretty much all needed replacing (motherboard, fans, everything except hd and ram) and it cost me $1200 excluding tax.

            I asked the "Genius" about the flat fee thing and he said it didnt exist. Which surprised me because a year and a half ago I had a different Macbook Pro die and the flat fee applied in this case..

            So apparently it either

            a) Doesnt exist anymore
            b) There are obscure rules for when and where it applies
            c) Some "Genius's" are douchebags
        • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:09PM (#24948965)

          $1200?

          There is your price of "portability".

          As a former mechanic, it always pissed me off when auto manufacturers tried to force customers to dealerships for repairs by making the components so difficult to repair that even independent mechanics could not fix them.

          The dirty sekret is that the dealerships couldn't either. They simply resorted to part-swapping to confirm their half-assed diagnosis(manufacturer flow charts(Step 14: Replace with known good part), NOT actual testing).

          The end result was that the independents were made to look like bumbling idiots("Your gunna have to take it to the Dealer...") after actually trying to find the problem, while the Dealership makes the money just by throwing parts at the problem (at customer expense).

          I HIGHLY suspect that your a victim of that same process. One good reason to AUTOMATICALLY suspect your bill when there is more then one component replaced. If there was, more then likely, the first part didn't fix it, but the second did, and they want to get paid for the time it took to install the first part, so they simply tell you one part "took out" the other.

          This is one of the reasons I am a FORMER mechanic. From a moral standpoint, I simply could not be a party to the deception that is all too prevalent in the business, and quit.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by db32 (862117)
            That isn't always the case with mechanics thankfully. We have a local repair shop here in town that our vehicles go to unless there is something absolutely preventing it. They have had the vehicle up on a lift and have said "hey, we see these other issues, if you want to have us replace them while we have it your labor costs will be the same since we already have it up, tools out, and its a minimal fuss part." (I can attest to the fact that the parts WERE indeed failing as I have a fair idea what I am do
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Anachragnome (1008495)

              Amen, brother.

              The problem that I had was that my ethics got in the way. Or, to be more precise, my job got in the way of my ethics. Fortunately, it was far easier to part with my job then my ethics. It meant taking a stand, one that may NOT have been in my best interests, financially speaking, but it was much easier to do when I looked at it another way. I simply asked myself "What example do you want to set for your children?".

              Funny thing about having kids. You have to start putting you money where your mo

          • by smoker2 (750216)
            I stopped being a mechanic when I got tired of the spanner slipping off a nut causing me to punch the chassis while I was freezing my balls off on my back under a car in the shitty yard.
            The money was shit too.
        • by dave562 (969951)
          I was in a similar position to you. I bought a MacBook Pro and about a week later started reading all of these articles here on /. about the nVidia chips failing. I noticed that my laptop was running extremely hot. Figuring that the chip is going to fail sooner than later, I went back to Best Buy and spent an extra couple hundred dollars for a three year, no questions asked replacement warranty. When the laptop does fail I'm just going to go get a new one.
    • by vonPoonBurGer (680105) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:14PM (#24948117)

      So odds are high that this card is going to die early too.

      Did you buy a card with a lifetime warranty? Both EVGA [evga.com] and XFX [xfxforce.com] offer lifetime warranties on 8800GTs. Personally, I won't buy RAM or video cards from a company that doesn't offer a lifetime warranty, as there are more than enough manufacturers for both products offering these warranties. My current 8800GT is an EVGA, and it's nice knowing they're on the hook for this flaw if it happens to strike me. The card manufacturer has probably spent millions on Nvidia silicon, so they have clout to extract some compensation from Nvidia, whereas I do not.

      • by RingDev (879105)

        Interesting, I think the 8600GT that died was an EVGA, I'll have to see if I still have it laying around.

        -Rick

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ACMENEWSLLC (940904)

        I had a Cisco 400 with a lifetime warranty. It died a while back. It was out of warranty. Apparently Lifetime for Cisco means 5 years.

        I hope my 8600M GT doesn't have to deal with it. It's in my MacBook Pro, so no easy card swap.

      • by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:44PM (#24949515)

        I had one from PNY. I called to have them make good on the lifetime warranty, and was told that "lifetime" meant the lifetime of that product line, and since they no longer make that card, it's no longer covered. I went back and read the fine print, and sure enough, that's exactly what the warranty said.

        I hope they enjoy whatever profits they made off of me on the sale of that one card, because I am now an ex-PNY-customer. I now typically buy EVGA.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          I bought a pen/flash drive from them. All of a sudden, it started acting up and wouldn't stay active (the pen part). Then, a few days later, their pocket clip fell apart causing the pen to fall out of my pocket and become severely scarred and the little plastic lens on the top got lost as did the clip part. Since the whole point of having flash in a pen was so that I could carry it around (and thus it was basically useless without the clip), I tried to get them to honor their warranty. They finally agre

      • by Machtyn (759119)
        I believe XFX even offers a double lifetime warranty. This is basically a weird way to say the lifetime warranty is transferrable one time to another party. (You, as an end-user purchaser, can sell your used card to someone else, they get the warranty, too.)
      • by Sandbags (964742)

        Ah sweet, that's what I've got, evga 8800GT :D

        I was my first nVidia purchase, been a loyal ATI fan for a long time. I would have gotten the 4870 from ATI instead, but I couldn't find one in stock and was in a rush to rebuild a machine after a power supply surged and cooked all my parts.

        Also bought a PS with not only a 5 year waranty this time, but also a connected component guarantee. The best AVR in the world can't help you if the PS blows out, and board manufacturers don't cover electrical damage (usual

    • by DM9290 (797337)

      And of course I don't have receipts for either card at this point, but if there's a chance at recouping some of my investment, I'd sign up.

      Except you didn't invest in NVIDIA, you purchased a graphics card made by NVIDIA. This lawsuit is by shareholders.

    • Buy from a good partner. One of the good things about nVidia is they seem to have some quality partners. eVGA and BFG seem to be the best I've seen. They both seem to offer lifetime warranty. They also offer a step up program for like 3 months. This means if you buy a card, and then a new model comes out, or you buy a lower end card and decide you need more power, you send back your old card, pay them the difference, and they'll give you the new one.

      At any rate, buy from a good partner and failures shouldn'

      • Of course, if EVGA and BFG end up eating the cost of all these failures due to their lifetime warranty policies, it could very well be that we see the end of those policies, or even the end of the companies themselves.

        • They likely don't. While they probably eat the cost if it is something way on the outside, you know like a 5 year old card, if it is fairly modern they probably charge nVidia for it. That's normal procedure for this sort of thing.

    • You don't have the receipts? I'd recommend ordering from somewhere online in the future like Newegg. I ordered a graphics card from them in 2002 and when it died in 2005 I was able to pull up the order and print/email the "receipt" from there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sandbags (964742)

        Yea, New Egg is nice for that. My outlook archive is a nice backup too, plus I typically keep the packing slip and I generally register the item (not allways).

        I've been burned a few times by not having documentation to prove a part was under waranty when it failed. Not going to hapopen again!

        I'm currently loving BestBuy for their extended waranties as well... In the last 6 years I've exchanged 4 printers, a laptop, a $600 stereo reveiver, a 32" LCD TV, 2 UPS units, and an iPod. All of these items have b

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      You know, within that time frame I also had an Nvidia 7600GT card fail too. Not being one to return things or bother with the hassle of contacting the manufacturer's service dept (since I generally am terrible about saving documentation like receipts), I just tossed it in the trash and bought an 8600GTS to replace it. Now, since this is the first I've heard of this, I'm worried about the longevity of that card as well :(.

    • Except that the failing chips ARE IN LAPTOPS [slashdot.org]... and don't have anything to do with the desktop parts as far as I know. I've had two 8800 GTSs for over a year and they've been working just fine. So has my friend's 8800 GTS that he's had for about as long.
      • by RingDev (879105)

        The same chip is used in both the on board laptop and PCI cards. Laptops have just been more likely to fail due to their nature of having crap for ventilation and low air volume.

        -Rick

  • which specific chips are effected?

    according to this it seems to be laptop graphics http://mobile.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/01/0142219&tid=128 [slashdot.org]

    what about AGP & PCIe Desktop graphics cards?
    • by TJamieson (218336)

      Anything running 8000-series, or even the 9600GT. It seems the cards that are "safe" are the supposed GeForce10 models, whatever they're calling them.

    • by vonPoonBurGer (680105) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:27PM (#24948359)

      which specific chips are effected?

      No one knows for sure, and Nvidia isn't telling. The Inquirer says practically [theinquirer.net] all [theinquirer.net] of them, but their author has a history with Nvidia so there's quite a potential for bias there. The running theory is that the problem is due to thermal properties of a substrate material. This substrate material supposedly expands and contracts at a different rate than surrounding material in the chip package. Over time, this stresses the silicon or solder points, eventually causing a failure of the part. Laptop parts are definitely affected, you only need to look in notebook manufacturers forums and you'll see an incredible number of posts from owner of notebooks with, for example, 8600 GT mobile parts.

      Desktop parts may also be affected, since they're all based on the same core silicon with (supposedly) the same substrate materials. It's possible that the problems aren't as apparent (at least not yet) due to the different thermal conditions you'd see in a tower chassis compared to a notebook. The very popular 8800GTs out there may start failing en masse in three months, six months, a year's time, or maybe never. Because Nvidia won't specifically say which parts are affected, whether it's all the parts or only certain manufacturing runs, etc., we have only speculation and rumor to go on.

      • by Blimey85 (609949)
        If you never shut off the machine would you be safe from this? If it's a problem with some things expanding quicker than others when things heat up, it seems that leaving the machine on all the time, thereby keeping everything at relatively the same temp, would help to mitigate any effect this might have on the parts. I have ATI cards in both of my machines so I'm not worried about this either way but my desktop machine is on 24/7 unless the power goes out which is very ra^@$%$%@$#@

        NO CARRIER
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      what i have specifically are two PCs, one with a GeForce 8400GS AGP 8x card and another with a GeForce 8400GS PCIe 16x card, (same chip basically)
  • Good, about time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gentimjs (930934)
    This kind of lawsuit is what's supposed to make "capitalism" work ... corrupt businesses being actually held accountable for shady dealings.

    I hope it bankrupts them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by qoncept (599709)
      What doesn't make capitolism work is a bunch of people without jobs. The US economy is already falling apart, what you should be hoping for is for nvidia to clean up it's act, make better chips, sell lots of them and hire lots of employees.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cybrthng (22291)

        So we can buy more shit?

        That's the problem there buddy. We shouldn't be supporting lying companies selling sub par products.

        Often time the retailers pay for this more than anyone else. Bad business is bad for everyone and its not up to consumers to support BAD BUSINESS nor should we feel like we have.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by crabboy.com (771982)
        Capitolism is the misguided belief by people living in Washington, D.C. that they're smarter than everyone else in the country.
      • Well, not really (Score:5, Informative)

        by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:56PM (#24948771) Journal

        1. A dirty little secret of all governments, the USA included, is that they _can't_ get rid of unemployment or inflation, and they're actually trying to keep both where they want them. There's this funny little hyperbolic-looking curve called the Phillips Curve [wikipedia.org], which ties inflation to unemployment. If you even tried to push one to zero, the other rises sky-high.

        So the best any government can do is to keep both at a point they can live with. Exactly what that point is, that's a matter of political debate and position, but everyone tries to do that. A mean most used is the interest rate. That's what the federal reserve does in the USA, but other countries have their own similar institutions.

        (The corolary being that any politician which harps on unemployment and inflation as proof that his opponents are evil, or worse yet, promises to really solve either or both, is himself a liar and has no scruples telling you lies to gain power.)

        So, yes, a bunch of people without jobs _are_ what makes the economy work. (A capitalist economy included.) Because without those, you'd get a hyperinflation comparable to interwar Germany. (Just as a comparison point, not saying that that's the same cause.) And conversely, if anyone actually managed to eliminate inflation, like some idiots demand, most of you would be out of job.

        2. Well, actually, the reluctance to make people change jobs was arguably one of the (several) reasons the Soviet economy colapsed. They were very reluctant to kick people out of a job, since the whole theory was that everyone should be given a job in communism. So if they made a hammer manufacturing company, and 20 years later there would be more of a need for wrenches, they'd still keep a bunch of people there making hammers, just so they don't kick them out and tell them to find another job. It's not the only factor, of course, but worth thinking about.

        Or seen at another level, they wanted to eliminate both the unemployment _and_ inflation (via price controls) which had the same devastating results as when it had been attempted before. If both can't take their natural positions on that curve, something else has to give. In their case, productivity went down instead, and corruption went out of hand. Which effectively is another way to get inflation, only in a much more destructive way.

        3. The whole thing about capitalism and the free market is that it's an optimization algorithm. It's really a genetic algorithm, based on semi-uninformed trial and error. The "genes" (processes, ideas, products) which are closer to optimal survive and are copied by others, and the process repeats, moving it all closer to the optimum. The genes which lost, and the companies which bet on them, die. Sometimes spectacularly, leaving a bunch of people temporarily unemployed.

        That's how it's supposed to work. Bit wasteful, no doubt, and stressful for those who end up looking for a new job. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame (who, I might add, is actually trained as an economist, so he might understand these things) claimed in a blog post that it's "harnessing the power of stupidity" and that at any given moment, 80% of society's resources are pushed off a cliff by idiots. But somehow it seems to work better than anything else we've tried. Trying to prevent that optimization cycle from happening, deviates from optimum very quickly, and produces even worse results.

        It _is_ what makes capitalism work.

        • And why would anyone mod you up for what is common knowledge?

          With 0% unemployment, there's no one to hire when new jobs open up or current employees need replacing.

          Nothing secret about it, just a little common sense.

          • by Moraelin (679338)

            Well, it's not "secret" in that you can't find out about it. Obviously you can, quite easily.

            I mean, "secret", as in, no politician will tell you about it. I've yet to even hear about any campaign along the lines of, "ok, we'll create more jobs, but you'll pay them for them out of your savings, which will depreciate quite a bit faster." Nor, "ok, this inflation sucks, we'll must fix it! Oh, by the way, a bunch of you will lose your job for that." ;)

        • 1. A dirty little secret of all governments, the USA included, is that they _can't_ get rid of unemployment or inflation, and they're actually trying to keep both where they want them. There's this funny little hyperbolic-looking curve called the Phillips Curve [wikipedia.org], which ties inflation to unemployment. If you even tried to push one to zero, the other rises sky-high.

          That page says "In the 1970s, many countries experienced high levels of both inflation and unemployment also known as stagflation. Theories based on the Phillips curve suggested that this could not happen, and ... The idea that there was a simple, predictable, and persistent relationship between inflation and unemployment was abandoned by most if not all macroeconomists.".

          And conversely, if anyone actually managed to eliminate inflation, like some idiots demand, most of you would be out of job.

          It used to be rather difficult to produce inflation, back before we switched to a fiat money system. I don't believe that most people wer

          • It used to be rather difficult to produce inflation, back before we switched to a fiat money system. I don't believe that most people were jobless back then.

            Really? I thought the very fact that gold kept being mined out of the ground, caused a steady inflation. Except it was uncontrollable and unpredictable.

            Then you had stuff like the discovery of gold and silver mines by the Spanish in America, caused some uncontrollable bursts and fits of hyper-inflation in Spain. Paradoxically, that gold and silver influ

        • 3. The whole thing about capitalism and the free market is that it's an optimization algorithm. It's really a genetic algorithm, based on semi-uninformed trial and error. The "genes" (processes, ideas, products) which are closer to optimal survive and are copied by others, and the process repeats, moving it all closer to the optimum. The genes which lost, and the companies which bet on them, die. Sometimes spectacularly, leaving a bunch of people temporarily unemployed.

          All social sciences are just applied ecology.

      • by StevisF (218566)

        Investors cannot make appropriate decisions regarding their investments if they're being deceived. There are laws on the disclosure of such information and if the law was being broken, then the appropriate actions should be taken.

        If Nvidia continued to sell a product they knew to be flawed, then they should be punished according to any applicable consumer laws. Their reputation will likely be harmed now which could very well be more damaging.

        The US economy is falling apart due to poor regulation. People

      • by Danse (1026)

        What doesn't make capitolism work is a bunch of people without jobs. The US economy is already falling apart, what you should be hoping for is for nvidia to clean up it's act, make better chips, sell lots of them and hire lots of employees.

        True, that would help. The problem here is the management at nVidia. The ones responsible for the cover-up need to be tossed out on their asses without their golden parachutes. Then maybe the shareholders could have faith in the new management to move forward and get the company back on track.

  • nVidia is facing a lot of competition now. AMD/ATI has come out with a lot of really good cards The 38xx, 48xx, and the new low end 46xx have all been really good cards and forced nVidia to drop their prices.
    Crossfire now seems to work better than SLI and Intel is supporting Crossfire in some of it's chip sets.
    Now they have what seems to be the nVidia version of the red ring of death.
    I hope that they get things going again. I am a pretty happy nVidia customer. I have a motherboard with an nVidia chipset tha

  • by Manip (656104) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:20PM (#24948219)

    These stories keep on referencing the packaging being at fault...

    Now I'm no electrical engineer but when you take a working chip and put it in a machine it seems a little odd to blame the packaging it came out of for higher than normal failure rates if it works initially.

    Maybe "packaging" refers to the way the actual chips are placed into the material around them? Although it seems like a very odd way of wording it as to me packaging implies something that is discarded.

    If someone could explain in non-layman's terms what exactly the problem was I would much appreciate it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mapsjanhere (1130359)
      the inquirer http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/09/01/why-nvidia-chips-defective [theinquirer.net] had a good summary series on what's bad.
      In short, it's the connection of the chip to the board. You have minute metal connections providing current and data transport from the physical chip to the rest of the computer. The choice of material for these connection was poor, and so was the choice of glue holding the chip and the substrate together (and ideally protecting the metal connects from undue stress).
      The
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:33PM (#24948441) Homepage

      Nope, it seems that the cardboard box they were shipped in contain a high level of a rare Iridium isotope that causes molecular decay of the technology in the Nvidia chip. Nvidia runs on Logic diamonds and logic diamonds exposed to Iridium 237 causes rapid decay and failure.

      If they would have had the packaging done in the USA instead of china things would have been ok.

      NOTE: there is no danger to the consumer, the paint on the outside of the boxes has high amounts of lead in it, shielding you from the Iridium 237 radiation.

      Cyrnfr hfr tbbtyr arkg gvzr gb trg na nafjre guvf fvzcyr dhrfgvba

      Thanks!

      • by gnick (1211984)

        You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. No offense.

        Nvidia started shielding their Logic diamonds (TM) against the Iridium exposure more than 9 months ago (why they won't just drop the contract with their cardboard supplier is anybody's guess - I think there's some behind-the-scenes stuff there).

        However, the shielding causes the boards to overheat when in use. If the end-users would actually RTFM, they would clearly see that they are supposed to scrape off the top 0.01" on all ICs after disca

      • by smoker2 (750216)

        Cyrnfr hfr tbbtyr arkg gvzr gb trg na nafjre guvf fvzcyr dhrfgvba

        Thanks!

        You speak Welsh !

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      the packaging is what the silicon wafer is embedded in to make it a chip. It's the packaging that interfaces the gpu with the board.
      see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_circuit_packaging [wikipedia.org]

    • by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:34PM (#24948453) Homepage Journal

      An actual microchip is absolutely miniscule. The ceramic(or plastic, or meta) that holds it and contains the pins that get soldered to the board is called packaging.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spatial (1235392)
      Chip packaging refers to the part around the silicon. In your stereotypical chip, it's the gray 'body' that the pins emerge from.
    • Each chip is actually just a really thin slice of silicon with extra impurities added in important places. This small slice of silicon is quite fragile and doesn't really have an interface that you can easily connect to. So they put this slice in a "package" which is usually plastic or ceramic but occasionally metal. Then they use very thin gold wires to connect points on the silicon slice to pins that come out of the package. Then the package is sealed. The package exists to protect the fragile silicon sli
    • by Ioldanach (88584)
      The slice of silicon wafer that makes up the guts are the 'chip'. The black piece you can see with the wires sticking out of it, and with the wires inside that connect to the actual chip is the packaging.
    • For a while now, chip packaging has referred to the material around the chip. Also the packaging can be used as a name for the board interface to the chip as the pin assembly is considered part of the package. One current Intel desktop chip packaging for Core 2 Duo is LGA775 [wikipedia.org] or Socket T. Package is sometimes overlooked as a factor of chips but it is important. For the MacBook Air, Apple worked with Intel to shrink the package 60% to fit into the very small motherboard.
    • by kesuki (321456) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:29PM (#24949269) Journal

      "If someone could explain in non-layman's terms what exactly the problem was I would much appreciate it."

      nobody else caught your request for 'non-layman's terms' so here goes:

      Chip Scale Packaging (CSP) Technology
      The information presented in this chapter has been collected from a number of sources describing CSP
      activities, both nationally at IVF and reported elsewhere in the literature. The most important of the former
      being the Chip Scale Packaging Task Force, an international multi-client programme carried out between
      1996 and 1997 and a project work carried out by two students at Chalmers University of Technology..
      D1. Introduction to CSP Technology
      D1.1
      Definition of CSP
      Originally, CSP was the acronym for Chip Size Packaging but very few packages are of true chip size.
      Therefore, the acronym is today usually used for Chip Scale Packaging. According to IPC's standard J-STD-
      012, "Implementation of Flip Chip and Chip Scale Technology", a CSP shall have an area of
      no more than 1.2X the area of the original die size and is direct surface mountable [D1].
      D1.2
      Description of various types of CSPs
      In contrast to most other package types, the name of the package type, "Chip Scale Packaging", contains no
      information about how the package is constructed, except for that it shall have approximately the same size
      as the chip. Therefore, CSPs include component types with probably more dissimilar characteristics than
      any two other IC package types clearly manifesting the inaccuracy to look at CSPs as a homogenous group.
      Some packages look like miniaturised BGAs which names like miniBGA and BGA indicate. Others have
      leads which give them properties similar to conventional leaded packages such as PLCCs. For this reason,
      CSPs are often classified based on their structure. At least four major categories have been proposed [D2].
      These are: flex circuit interposer, rigid substrate interposer, custom lead frame, and wafer-level assembly.
      Examples of packages of these categories are given in Figure D1.
      Chip
      Sealing Resin
      Lead Frame
      Wire Bond
      Tape
      Protective
      Layer
      Custom Lead Frame
      Package by Fujitsu
      Rigid Substrate Interposer
      Package by Matsushita
      Chip
      Sealing Resin
      Land pad
      Ceramic Substrate
      Via
      Stud Bump
      Flex Circuit Interposer
      Package by Tessera
      Chip
      Ring
      Lead
      Flex Tape
      Bump Array
      Elastomer
      Wafer-Level Assembly
      Package by ChipScale
      Metal Cap
      Epoxy
      Metal Lead
      Metal Plated Silicon Post
      Silicon Circuit
      Figure D1. Main CSP Categories
      D1.3
      Driving Forces for using CSPs
      The main driving forces for using CSPs are:
      Improvement in performance
      Size and weight reduction
      Easier assembly process (compared to bare die attach)
      Lower overall production costs.
      Of these, reduction of size and weight are probably the most important factors for initial adoption of CSP
      technology. Consequently, consumer products like camcorders, mobile phones, and laptops are among the
      products that have been first to utilise CSPs.
      D1.4
      Advantages and disadvantages using CSPs
      Chip Scale Packaging combines the best of flip chip assembly and surface mount technology. It gives
      almost the size and performance benefits as bare die chip assembly, at the same time as it offer the
      advantages of a encapsulated package. CSPs can be standardised, tested, surface mounted, and reworked.
      So far most CSPs have been produced for applications with rather low number of I/Os but many types of
      CSPs can be produced with large number of interconnections. However, before CSPs with large number of
      I/Os will find widespread use, techniques for producing reliable low-cost high-density printed boards must be
      developed.
      The advantages and disadvantages of CSPs depend on what one compare with, standard surface mount or
      bare die assembly. Due to the large spread of characteristics for various CSPs, it also depend on the type of

    • Now I'm no electrical engineer but

      No, you certainly are not. Packaging is all the stuff around the silicon. It's not the wrapping paper and the big red bow on the gifts under the christmas tree.

      Seriously, your statement is a bit like saying "I'm no computer programmer but java is a coffee bean so it makes no sense to run java on a computer!"

  • If nVidia is spending $200 million to cover these faulty items under the warranty, then why file a law suit? If your card is out of warranty, then nVidia has no legal obligation to fix it. That's what a warranty means. It might be frusrating, but if they warrant the item for 1 year and it fails in 3 years then I don't see why they are liable.

    Of course, I have one of these bad chips in my MacBook Pro, so hopefully it will fail within the 2 and a half years I have left and they will fix it. If not, I'll b

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nedlohs (1335013)

      It has absolutely nothing to do with people who bought the video cards. It's all about the people who bought the stock when nvidia was claiming things were good when they new they weren't - they don't get a warranty/refund...

  • This seems to be another marginal use of the class action by attorneys looking for an easy payday while the rest of us all get cheques for $0.33 and graphics card prices go up by a couple of dollars to compensate (aka the lawyer tax). It is not as if ALL your data is going to be lost if your graphics card suddenly fails and unless you live out in the boondocks there is probably somewhere not too far away where you can get a replacement the same day. Unless nVidia refuses to replace fried cards or reimburse
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tinkerghost (944862)

      This seems to be another marginal use of the class action by attorneys looking for an easy payday while the rest of us all get cheques for $0.33 and graphics card prices go up by a couple of dollars to compensate (aka the lawyer tax).

      The class is stockholders not consumers. Unless you hold/held stock in Nvidia in the timerange, you won't see anything.

      • Well, I must confess that I am entirely ignorant of securities disclosure law requirements. Perhaps someone among us who knows a bit more can comment on how likely the investors are to get anything out of this? It was my understanding that investing, particularly in stocks, always entails risk in various forms, including incomplete public information. Did the board specifically make misleading statements at the shareholder meeting, for example, when they had insider knowledge of the flaws (i.e. what did the
  • Today is not a good day to own Nvidia stock - or apparently many of their graphic cards.

    A big lawsuit, and ATI's new 46xx series being launched, which at the $68-$79 price range competes very effectively with Nvidia's (now former) $150 price range cards. Yeah Nvidia can and has cut prices to be competitive, and bye bye profits since you are, at best, now selling those cards at cost.

    Sux to be you today.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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