AMD: Nvidia/MacBook Debacle May Hurt Industry

Could the Nvidia/MacBook Pro heat issues mean problems for the rest of the graphics industry?

Recently, reports came out that some new unibody 17-inch MacBook Pro laptops form Apple are experiencing heat issues, specifically with its Nvidia GeForce 9600M graphics card. Purple and green artifacts pop up on the screen, evidence that the discrete GPU is not receiving proper cooling.

According to CNET, AMD's Stan Ossias is worried about this newest Nvidia debacle. "In the case of Apple's product," said AMD's director of mobile graphics marketing, "I don't know what happened with Nvidia's GPU but we'd like to avoid having the negative aspects taint the entire industry."

Ossias also inferred that Apple may have made a mistake in choosing the 9600M for its notebooks. "Somebody may choose a GPU that doesn't necessarily have the best operating characteristics or doesn't deliver the optimal power consumption in all operating ranges," said Ossias. Whether or not Ossias is right, this kind of statement, coming from the upper management of a rival, should always be taken with a grain of salt. "I don't think Apple does a bad job of this in general. They are extremely meticulous generally." Ossias continued, "A product decision is made (where) maybe there is more emphasis put on performance characteristics than on another characteristic. Again, that's another choice that can be made," Ossias said.

This isn't the first time Nvidia has seen problems with its mobile graphics offerings. Last year, the company came under heavy scrutiny after several of its models experienced heat-related issues, stemming from improper soldering. While this newest round of issues may be related to fan control and not soldering, other graphics companies are worried that this seemingly continuous stream of GPU problems could spell bad news for the GPU industry overall.

As for Nvidia's previous faulty GPU's, Ossias said AMD/ATI had to assure its own customers repeatedly that its offerings were not subject to the same sort of issues. This kind of damage control is likely the source of AMDs concern. As for Ossias's current stance on the matter, it's hard to believe that Nvidia's problems could be anything but good news for AMD. Any major customer (in terms of computer manufacturers), expressing concerns over AMD's offerings because Nvidia is having problems with a discrete GPU is a hard story to swallow.

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