Apple Officially Admits to Faulty NVIDIA GPUs

Following NVIDIA’s July 2008 announcement that a number of their GPUs were experiencing higher failure rates than should be normally expected, Apple today finally released an official support article acknowledging the problem. The article claims that NVIDIA told Apple graphics cards in Macintosh computers were not affected by the problem, which is supposedly related to improper packaging. The reason for the lag time between NVIDIA’s and Apple’s announcements concerning the faulty GPUs is an internal investigation by Cupertino itself which eventually found that MacBook Pro NVIDIA cards were indeed affected.

The GeForce 8600M GT, specifically, is named in the article as having problems, which were used in MBP’s manufactured between May of 2007 and September of 2008. Symptoms include distorted video or no display at all on either the built-in or connected external displays. Anyone affected is directed to take their machine to an Apple Store or authorized service provider to receive a repair free of charge. Those who’ve already paid out of pocket for a fix are also eligible for reimbursement. The offer is valid for two years from the original date of purchase.

Though Apple claims that not all MBP’s made between those dates are necessarily affected, it seems unlikely that consumers who haven’t yet experienced problems will find this terribly reassuring. The two year time limit will have many wary, as well. Still, Apple should be given credit for admitting the full, potential extent of the problem and offering the free remedy for affected customers, both past and current. They’re clearly in damage control mode, and will likely succeed in shunting most of the blame onto Nvidia, who caused the problem in the first place and then apparently lied about it. A steep increase in failures following the two-year mark could come back to bite Apple, but those using MBP’s seem to have a higher laptop turnover rate so they might even dodge that bullet.

If you’ve had or are having problems, share your symptoms below so that others will know what to look for.