Friday, November 07, 2008

Hewlett-Packard & Nvidia: Partners in Crime

In October of 2007, I purchased a beautiful new HP Pavilion Laptop DV9535nr with Nvidia Geforce graphics card from my local Best Buy. After all was said and done, the purchase totaled over $2,400.
I began to notice that the laptop would get very, very hot (like cook an egg hot) whenever I used it for more than an hour or so. (bad sign #1) In early June of this year, the laptop began to shut itself off without warning and upon restart, would display strange colored lines on the screen. (bad sign #2) In July, it died. The laptop would turn on, but there was no video, at all, nothing, just a backlit black screen.

I returned the laptop to Best Buy, who sent it off to HP. Almost a month later, I received the laptop with the simple explanation that my "motherboard had been replaced." (bad sign #3)

A few weeks ago, and exactly one week after the one-year warranty had expired, the motherboard failed again, completely. This time, I got no warning first, it just died. So, I returned the laptop to Best Buy, who sent it back to HP.

Two weeks later, I received an email from Best Buy that my laptop was ready to be picked up (yippee!). Once I arrived, I was informed that HP "was not able to reach me by phone, so they shipped the laptop back unrepaired." When I inquired as to why HP was trying to reach me by phone (and P.S. I am registered as a customer on their website) I was told that the cost to replace the motherboard was going to be $1,003.00. (Let me repeat that) $1,003.00!!!!!

The Geek Squad employee asked me to authorized the charge and she would ship it back to HP for the repair. "Hang on!" I said, gritting my teeth. "I just had the motherboard replaced three months ago. Are you telling me that HP is going to charge me for a new motherboard that is only 90 days old??" I was then informed that "yes" HP was going to charge me if I wanted the laptop repaired.

I snatched up the dead computer and left in a mighty huff, certain that the I.T. guys in my office would save the day. (Wishful thinking on my part)

Now here's the really bad news: For months and months, Nvidia (the maker of the graphics card in my laptop) has been aware of a design defect in some of their chips attached to motherboards. These chips overheat and basically fry the motherboard (hence the scalding hot lap top issue). This defect has affected millions of Apple MacBook Pro, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell laptops.

Nvidia has delayed recalling this part, giving their business partners (Dell, HP, Apple) time to push these chips past the one-year warranty period, which prevents these companies from having to pay for the repair. Unfortunately, the problem has become so enormous that Dell and Apple have finally agreed to replace the faulty motherboards free of charge for up to two years from date of purchase. HP has offered this on a limited number of their models, but is refusing to cover every model that is affected with this issue.

There is a huge raping of consumers going on with HP. If you read the complaints on HP's forum pages, the number is astounding (I have made about 6 posts, three of which HP has promptly removed. They are censoring the forum, but not responding to the issue). The bigger shock is that HP is refusing to budge. I guess they'd rather piss of their customers than ask Nvidia to pay for the replacement parts.
If HP doesn't want to pay for the repairs, then they should sue Nvidia for providing them with faulty hardware, not pass the cost on to consumers. HP should also extend the warranty (like Dell and Apple have done) for ALL affected models, not just a select few.

In the meantime, Nvidia should do the right thing and issue a major recall of these defective chips, instead of allowing their business partners to take the heat for their own blunder. I won't be buying another laptop with Nvidia graphics. ATI, here I come.
Here are some interesting articles on the subject for all my techy friends: