According to the an article in the INQUIRER, it is very possible that all chips with the G84 and G86 architecture are faulty. The problem is said to be excessive heat cycling and when NVIDIA was questioned, they blamed their suppliers for the issue. Although NVIDIA is claiming that only a few chips that went to HP were affected, the INQUIRER points out that all the chips use the same ASIC across the board, which has not changed in the architecture’s lifetime. They also point out that Dell and ASUS are having the same issues.
The article then goes on to theorize why we have not seen more complaints. They say that failures of these type usually follow a bell curve distributed over the time domain and we are only on the initial up-slope. This is probably due to the different use patterns of the users. For example, people with laptops are turning their computers on and off more than desktop users, thus facilitating the heat cycling’s effect. They suggest the quick fix as more fanning, but eventually NVIDIA will have to do something about this.
This forum post from 2005 has us at a loss for words. Please educate your loved ones. Only you can prevent senseless hardware mutilation.
The Open Graphics Project has started accepting preorders for their OGD1, a graphics card with a completely open source design. This initial release is billed as a high-end FPGA prototyping kit specifically designed to test computer graphics architectures. The card has two DVI connectors, S-Video, 256MB RAM, and a 64bit PCI-X connector. The core of the system is a Xilinx Spartan-3 XC3S4000 FPGA. A nonvolatile Lattice XP10 FPGA is used to bootstrap the Xilinx at power up. Here’s the layout of the specific components.
An open design like this could prove very beneficial to the free software community. The open hardware makes driver development much easier; binary drivers from traditional graphics manufacturers have been very hard to work with in the past. The OGD1 could also be used with CPU architectures that wouldn’t be unsupported by normal graphics cards. An FPGA based design means that CPU intensive processes like video decoding could be offloaded to the video card without needing a dedicated chip. There is still a lot of work to be done and at $1500 we’re pretty sure most of you won’t be buying the first generation. It’s still exciting to see traditional PC hardware getting reinvented and opened up. Check out the OGD1’s FAQ for more info.