Report: Apple’s new MacBook Pros’ Nvidia chips contain ‘bad bumps,’ Nvidia denies

“When the new Macbooks came out a few weeks ago, Nvidia stated that the chips they provided to Apple did not contain the proverbial ‘bad bumps.’ Unfortunately for them, an investigation lead by The Inquirer proves that not to be the case,” Charlie Demerjian reports for The Inquirer.

“Nvidia has been in the spotlight all summer for failing chips due to bad materials and thermal stress. The end result is that bumps, the tiny balls of solder that hold a chip to the green printed circuit board it sits on, crack, and the computer it is in dies,” Demerjian reports.

“Nvidia took a $200 million charge over the problem in July, but the firm refuses to support its customers by saying which parts are defective, and what computers they were sold in,” Demerjian reports.

“In a statement just before publication, Nvidia’s Mike Hara had the following comment on the situation. ‘The GeForce 9600 GPU in the MacBook Pro does not have bad bumps. The material set (combination of underfill and bump) that is being used is similar to the material set that has been shipped in 100s of millions of chipsets by the world’s largest semiconductor company,'” Demerjian reports.

Full article here.

28 Comments

  1. What happened to good old soldered pins?

    I have 2 perfectly fine G3 iBooks, and one G4 iBook, that are all dead thanks to this condition.

    Yes, I’ve tried the pressure/heatgun/blowtorch fix… with temporary success…. But shouldn’t have had to.

  2. Having just sent my MacBook Pro Santa Rosa back for nVidia repairs a month ago (thanks, Apple, for extending the warranty a year!), I was kinda’, sorta’ hoping this problem would go away in the next iteration of MBPs. (Really want a new 17″.)

    Apparently it HASN’T. Dang. What’s up with nVidia QA people?

  3. > an investigation lead by The Inquirer proves that not to be the case…

    An “investigation”? So there haven’t been any specific problems with MacBooks related to NVIDIA.

  4. from Wiki:

    bending, due to a difference in Coefficient of thermal expansion between PCB substrate & BGA (thermal stress), or flexing & vibration (mechanical stress) can cause the solder joints to fracture.

  5. DWJ, I’m not a computer engineer, just an electronics tech, but most devices nowadays are SMDs (surface mounted devices), which are the very low profile components that sit on the board, not stick through it. This opens up the other side of the board for use, rather than having to stick in yet another board. The circuits on either side of the board are connected by traces that run through the board — a drilled hole with metal in it joining the circuits on either side. So, yes, SMDs will give you more compact devices.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.