We've heard that Nvidia’s notebook issue might not be primarily caused by Nvidia. This is something that we have to double check, but the rumors from various industry sources indicate that TSMC might be at least partially responsible for Nvidia’s notebook GPU failures.
In the chip industry, the foundry makes suggestions of what kind of materials that should be used for a clients chips and packaging, but this time around, experts from TSMC advised Nvidia to use the troublesome material combination that is found on many Geforce 7 and Geforce 8 mobile chips. As you know, some of these chips ended up with this throttling issue that everyone talks about.
Nvidia at its end failed to foresee the throttling problems with these chips due to a bad pick of packaging materials, and it literary took Nvidia years to learn that there is a massive problem with the packaging on these chips. Luckily, it looks as if the problem was fixed before the Geforce 9 mobile series came out.
Geforce 8 is, as far as we know, the most popular discrete series from Nvidia with HP and Dell as the biggest customers who are working to fix the throttling issue. Nvidia still sticks to the story that it’s unlikely that your notebook will actually have an issue, and you can only hope that they are right.
Nvidia is right about one thing, it is up to Dell and HP to communicate the issue rather than Nvidia, as Nvidia has special deals with HP and Dell that prevent Nvidia from doing one-sided actions and talking about its chips inside of someone’s notebook. Once they have sold the chip, they passed the responsibility onto the notebook manufacturer but, of course, they have to cover the warranty for as long as they agree with the notebook manufacturer.
It will be interesting to check TSMCs financial reports to see if the Taiwanese chip giant is actually contributing some cash to clean up the Nvidia mobile chip mess or if it will simply make some special pricing and conditions for Nvidia’s upcoming products. We suspect it has to be one of the two.