After purchasing a Dell Vostro 1400 as advertised on this site, I felt I should perhaps pass on this news as I know a lot of Dell laptops, especially from the Vostro range appear here.
Basically it seems Nvidea have been producing faulty Geforce 8400 / 8600 mobile chipsets (read NOT a faulty batch but ALL GPU's effected!) which is leading to unprecedented high failure rates. Apparently the chip die is not adequately bonded to the packaging, which in turn means that heating / cooling cycles will continuously weaken the thing until it fails completely. Basically what this means to you and I is this - the chipset is prone to overheating and will likely fail with little or no warning.
Dell has released a new BIOS to try to alleviate this issue - by increasing the frequency of the fan (but only running it at half speed) they hope to stabilize the system temperature and prolong the life of the chipset. However, some people suggest this is an attempt to delay the onset of the fault until after the warranty has expired.
So where does this leave us then? If our laptops die outside the warranty due to poor workmanship and a known issue (although only known after manufacture) then will we have a case to fight? Fit for purpose / reasonable life span etc. or are we all going to be fobbed off by Dell and Nvidea and be left with useless frizbees at the end of all this?
I guess time will tell but in the meantime this could make for an interesting discussion!
Dells blog with that Bios patch can be found at: http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2008/07/25/nvidia-gpu-update-for-dell-laptop-owners.aspx
If this has already been posted I apologize although I did search!