According to Nvidia's Form 10-K filing for the fiscal year ended January 25, 2009, the graphics chip maker has spent $43.6 million to cover warranty and product replacement claims for GPUs suffering from a "weak die/packaging material set."
Nvidia had original set aside a one-time charge of $196 million when it was discovered some of its notebook graphics were failing at an "abnormal rate."
"The previous generation MCP and GPU products that are impacted were included in a number of notebook products that were shipped and sold in significant quantities," Nvidia said in the filing. "Certain notebook configurations of these MCP and GPU products are failing in the field at higher than normal rates. While we have not been able to determine a root cause for these failures, testing suggests a weak material set of die/package combination, system thermal management designs, and customer use patterns are contributing factors."
Given that only $43.6 million -- or 22 percent of the original amount -- has been spent so far, you can take this in one of two ways. Either the problem isn't as widespread as originally thought and the remaining $152.4 million will be more than enough to cover future claims, or there are a lot of mobile GPUs in the wild still to fail from the packaging defect.
In the past year and a half, solid state drives have come from nowhere to take their place as the Next Big Thing in storage, especially in notebooks. The MacBook Air and the Asus Eee PC and OLPC XO-1 (One Laptop Per Child) netbooks were among the first consumer notebooks to utilize solid state drives. While SSDs are still most popular in netbooks, they have begun appearing in more mainstream notebooks and even high-end desktops.
SSDs have much higher read speeds than traditional drives, and with no moving parts, they’re more durable. They’re not susceptible to magnetic interference or vibration, and they use less power and run much more quietly than standard magnetic hard drives. Best of all, they come in standard 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch formfactors with SATA connectors and emulate traditional drives, so they’re compatible with existing architecture. Unfortunately, they’re also orders of magnitude more expensive per megabyte, thus limiting widespread adoption, at least for now.
Although the fastest solid state drives use DRAM for storage (with a battery backup to preserve data), this White Paper will focus on flash-based SSDs—the variety most commonly found in consumer gear.
Just this past week MSI announced that they would begin shipping their CS120 Wind Nettop to the US, and introduced another new laptop, the VR430.
The CS120 Nettop will come complete with a 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor, GMA950 graphics, up to 2GB of RAM, a 160GB HDD, WiFi, a slot-loading DVD burner and enough ports to plug in all your goodies. Best of all, it’s all available for $319.99.
MSI’s latest introduction comes in the form of their 14.1-inch VR430 laptop. Underneath the hood of this bad boy you’ll find an AMD Turion X2 dual-core CPU, ATI Mobility Radeon HD3200 graphics processing, up to 4GB of RAM and it’ll all come to you on a 1,280 x 800 resolution screen. No word yet on pricing for this one, but we don’t suspect it’ll break the bank.
Motion's rugged new J3400 all-in-one tablet PC is being billed as "the ultimate computing tool" for anyone wo needs a "robust device" for both indoor and outdoor use. And it's hard to argue that claim, given that it comes equipped with two battery compartments for all-day battery life and a 12.1-inch widescreen outdoor display with Motion's View Anywhere technology.
"The J3400 was developed based on more than seven years of tablet PC experience, and feedback from customers across industries," said David Altounian, president and CEO, Motion Computing. "It is a mobile computing device with the capabilities our customers are demanding – a powerful processor with a compact rugged design that supports users who must be productive whether in the field or in the office."
From a hardware standpoint, the J3400 comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 (1.4GHz) or SU9300 (1.2GHz) Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) processor, up to 4GB of RAM, shock-mounted 80/120GB HDD or 74GB SSD, 2MP camera, GPS, multi-card reader, Wi-Fi, and various other goodies.
Helped in part by its rubberized coating, Motion says its J3400 comes IP52 and MIL-STD-810F rated and is tested for real-world, field-ready conditions.
When it comes to software, free trials have become the norm and not the exception. The same doesn't apply to computer hardware, or at least it didn't before now.
EVGA has launched a Loaner Program in which participants can "test out the latest and greatest technology offered for two weeks right in your home." Once you sign up, EVGA says it will randomly select participants, who will then have two weeks to test and review the item(s) before shipping it all off to the next person selected by EVGA. There's no fee to join, however participants are responsible for shipping via UPS to the next tester.
Right now EVGA is offering two programs, one consisting of a Samsung 22-inch 120Hz LCD monitor and Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision glasses, and the other includes an EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified motherboard.
VIA has so far failed to make an impression with its diminutive Nano processor. But the netbook market is far too alluring for it to give up. VIA has launched a new chipset called the VIA VX855 MSP, which can decode full 1080p video, in a bid to stand out from the competition.
Besides its ability to decode 1080p video the VIA VX855 MSP boasts an impressive TDP of 2.3 Watts. The chipset also supports up to eight HD audio channels with a 192 kHz sampling rate. It has all the features of a contemporary chipset’s North and South bridges wedged into a 27mm x 27mm single chip package, which according to VIA occupies 46% less space compared to “competing twin-chip core logic implementations.”
And, of course, it supports Windows 7 among other major operating systems. Finally, there is support for the VIA Nano, C7 and Eden processors at FSB speeds ranging between 400 and 800 MHz. Nvidia has confirmed that its Ion 2 platform will support VIA’s Nano processor. So VX855 will meet its true nemesis by the end of 2009 when the Ion 2 platform debuts.
Fusion-io, also known as the company that Steve Wozniak just joined as Chief Scientist, has just revealed the world’s fastest SSD – touting a mind-boggling 1.5GB sustained read and 1.4GB sustained write speeds.
The blazing fast drive will come in four sizes, 160GB, 320GB, 640GB and 1.28TB. Three of these versions will be available in April, while you’ll have to wait until the second half of this year to get the 1.28TB flavor.
Chances are good that these cards will be absurdly expensive (reportedly in the tens of thousands of dollars), so chances are good that folks like you and I won’t be plugging these into our machines anytime soon.
At a glance, it'd be easy to mistake Patriot's newest Warp SSD for a Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drive. That's because like the VelociRaptor, Patriot plans to include a bracket with the Warp drive that converts the 2.5-inch drive into a 3.5-inch form factor.
Keep in mind that Western Digital's IcePAK was designed to help keep its 10K RPM hard drive cool. Patriot's bracket, which Fudzilla says is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, will undoubtedly lend additional cooling prowess to the Warp SSD, but SSDs don't typically get hot in the first place.
As for the drive itself, the third-gen SSD checks in at 256GB and boasts increasingly common read and write speeds of 240MB/s and 160MB/s, respectively.
No word yet on availability or price, however according to Fudzilla, Patriot plans to give the bracket away for free with the Warp SSD.
While some touchscreens seem to react when you hover your finger near it, Mitsubishi has turned this concept into something tangible with their latest tech – 3D motion tracking.
This 3D motion tracking is done with no extra cameras or sensors, and with an extremely high level of precision. So high, that it can measure your finger distance in increments of .08mm, up to a distance of 20mm, and does this action quickly enough that it can correctly guess the approach speed. It’s reported that this will most likely find its home in mobile devices, adding an extra level of interaction.
No word yet on when this will become available on a consumer level, but it has been mentioned that they’ll first use it in their own products (duh).
Microsoft probably isn't the first company to come to mind when you think of cooling products, but the mega-software maker is looking to change that with the announcement of its new Notebook Cooling Base.
The notebook stand sports a slim design measuring just 1.16-inches thick and comes with a cable management clip to store the cable when not in use. The cooler is USB powered and includes a built-in fan for active cooling duties. Microsoft says the base is "contoured to rest on the both desks and users' laps, providing a comfortable typing angle."
The Notebook Cooling Base will be available starting in July in both white and black, with an MSRP of $30.