Defective NVIDIA Chips Spell Sour Apples

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said that in July, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. However, according to Apple, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. But that was not the end of the story, Apple said on its Web site.

"After an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected," the company said.

Apple has told customers that the affected computers were made between approximately May 2007 and September 2008. The specific models that may be affected are: MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors; MacBook Pro (17-Inch, 2.4GHz);MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.4/2.2GHz);and MacBook Pro (early 2008).

Problems that have cropped up include distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen and no video on the computer screen or external display even though the computer is on.

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Apple has told owners that it will repair MacBook Pros free of charge if the NVIDIA graphics processor in the notebooks fails within two years of the original date of purchase even if the MacBook Pro is out of warranty.

The company is also issuing refunds to customers who have already paid for repairs related to the problems. Owners should bring the damaged computer to an Apple retail store (the company advised making a "reservation" beforehand) or an Apple authorized service provider for evaluation.