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Inquirer claims MacBook Pros may use problematic NVIDIA chips - Page 2

post #41 of 72
I'm sorry, but I really can't see the GeForce 9600M GT being faulty in the same fashion as the GeForce 8600M GT after Apple moved their entire notebook line to NVIDIA solutions, they'd be screwing themselves in the long run because if the chips were faulty, Apple will wind up suing NVIDIA far enough into the ground that ATI is going to be classified as the Sun.
post #42 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Since the bumps sit permanently sandwiched between the chip die and their green fibreglass package, the only way to determine their composition would be to take a MacBook Pro, disassemble it, desolder the chips, saw them in half, encase them in lucite, and run them through a scanning electron microscope equipped with an X-ray microanalysis system.
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Now we know that this was written by attention-seeking children. Since the composition is allegedly the issue one would only need to extract a micro-sample (to analyze by AAS, melting point &c) to see if it contained lead. The bumps are more likely made of a silver solder since lead has been prohibited since 2006 in many jurisdictions.
post #43 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larsitron View Post

So, I guess my question at this point is as follows: If Apple doesn't show an inclination to switch GPU manufacturers when will it be okay to upgrade to the new unibody MBP and feel reasonably secure I'm not purchasing inherently defective hardware?

All of Nvidia's chips should be using tin eutectic solder by now.
post #44 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by sghurst View Post

I wonder why they used scanning electron microscope equipped with an X-ray microanalysis system. What I have access to, Mass Spec with Mass analyzer is what I would have used, cheaper then SEM with X-ray. But hey I guess if you have it and have the cash to waste have fun with it

Because your system can't image the problem, while theirs can.
post #45 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st View Post

I do have problem with it. The root cause cited is highly improbable the true cause.

Your spelling is still wrong, and so is your statement.
post #46 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by enzos View Post

Now we know that this was written by attention-seeking children. Since the composition is allegedly the issue one would only need to extract a micro-sample (to analyze by AAS, melting point &c) to see if it contained lead. The bumps are more likely made of a silver solder since lead has been prohibited since 2006 in many jurisdictions.

Their statement is off, its true, but the need to take a slice and examine it still stands. Simply looking at the composition wouldn't tell exactly what had happened.

Nvidia KNEW what the composition of the materials were from the beginning. They CHANGED the solder from tin to lead base to lower costs. They also knew the bumps were tin.

The materials were not the issue for them to check. What was happening to them, was.
post #47 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Their statement is off, its true, but the need to take a slice and examine it still stands. Simply looking at the composition wouldn't tell exactly what had happened.

Nvidia KNEW what the composition of the materials were from the beginning. They CHANGED the solder from tin to lead base to lower costs. They also knew the bumps were tin.

The materials were not the issue for them to check. What was happening to them, was.

?????
post #48 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluevoid View Post

What kind of material is "led"?

Seriously though, I would think Apple did their homework on the 9600 before using it... "Fool me once," etc. Either way, one more reason to go with the smaller Macbook unless you absolutely need a "Pro" (which isn't really a Pro product anymore anyway).

Well the MacBookPro has a Firewire-Port, so it must be Pro equipment.
Sorry couldn't resist.
post #49 of 72
What choice would Apple have for notebook GPU if it didn't use nVidia? AMD CPU isn't competitive in notebook market. Last time nVidia said there was no problem, Apple admitted in October AFTER Nvidia announced it would pay $200 for all defects - costing Apple zero - even paying labor.
Since all MBP from May 2007 - sept 2008 ( warranty extended in OCT for ALL MODELS )

What choices are there for GPU's then? Ruh Roh...
post #50 of 72
Save your ire, before long that won't have a firewire port either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by copeland View Post

Well the MacBookPro has a Firewire-Port, so it must be Pro equipment.
Sorry couldn't resist.
post #51 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Save your ire, before long that won't have a firewire port either.


Yup, and then the suckage will be complete.

Sry, like you, I couldn't resist.


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post #52 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st View Post

?????


That's not really a response. What problems, in particular, do you have with what Mel said?


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post #53 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st View Post

?????

Does that mean you don't understand my post?

If so, you could have asked me to explain it further. But as it stands, I don't know what your problem with it is.
post #54 of 72
"Nvidia KNEW what the composition of the materials were from the beginning." - they better do... if it is their design. Material and Process are closely linked. The selection of materials determine the thermal process limitation of the device, the conductivity, even its performance (mechanical stress distribution, reliability under specific environment, etc).

"They CHANGED the solder from tin to lead base to lower costs". - The change form tin to lead is definitely not due to cost. The cost differential would be minimum, if not higher for the high lead solder. Are you sure?

http://www.adhesivesmag.com/ASI/Home...-table1-lg.jpg

"They also knew the bumps were tin." - Are you sure it is tin? why tin is better than lead? how could it impact performance? specifically, impact on thermal properties? why you so convinced it is the bump causing the problem? Any crack of the bump? Under what condition?

thanks in advance...
post #55 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st View Post

"Nvidia KNEW what the composition of the materials were from the beginning." - they better do... if it is their design. Material and Process are closely linked. The selection of materials determine the thermal process limitation of the device, the conductivity, even its performance (mechanical stress distribution, reliability under specific environment, etc).

Yes they are related. That's why people in the industry are wondering why this was done.

Quote:
"They CHANGED the solder from tin to lead base to lower costs". - The change form tin to lead is definitely not due to cost. The cost differential would be minimum, if not higher for the high lead solder. Are you sure?

Yes, I am sure. There are too many independent reports coming from suppliers as well as OEM's of Nvidia to be in doubt. At first, Nvidia claimed that the problem was from one sub of theirs, but it turned out that it was coming from all of them.

Tin is more expensive than lead. The same for solder formulations. The difference isn't that much on this scale for a manufacturer though.

But from my own experience, I know that you do look down that road of infinitesimal costs adding up over long runs. All of Nvidia's chips from GPU's to chipsets were changed. That's tens of millions of chips. That does add up.

It almost seems as thought they had several teams working on these products that weren't kept aware of the changes in this one area of the process, and so didn't look to the problems that would ensue.

This isn't the first time in manufacturing that something like this has happened, and it won't be the last.


While that price chart is now old, the relative price differential hasn't changed much. You can see that the price of tin is about eight times the price of lead. Tin based solder also includes about 5% copper, which is also somewhat expensive.

Quote:
"They also knew the bumps were tin." - Are you sure it is tin? why tin is better than lead? how could it impact performance? specifically, impact on thermal properties? why you so convinced it is the bump causing the problem? Any crack of the bump? Under what condition?

Yes, it's tin.

Everything is now moving to tin based solder. We even moved to tin base here in the US quite a few years ago for potable drinking water syatems. But that solder also contains elements that raise the melt.

Tin based solder for electronics lowers the melt. Eutetic solder has a melt temp quite close to the softening temp, and is more predictable.

Tin is better because of the lower temp, and also because tin is not harmful to the environment as lead is.

I don't know if you need a lesson on how soldering works (or if anyone else is interested), but I have to assume something, so here is a bit.

Normally, a surface is "tinned". This is an old term that comes from hand soldering metals with a fire heated "copper" used to solder sheets of metals to make almost anything. You can see that on the leads of electrical components. That protects the metal inside, and "wets" the surface. That means it becomes easier to solder. Normally, there is a coat no more than a few thousanths thick. When you solder, even with lead/tin solder, the solder melds into that thin layer.

With wires, either they are in holes, which provide strength, or are wrapped around something, which provides strength, and the solder is just for electrical purposes.

With surface mount devices, there is no such mechanical reinforcement. The solder joint provides all the mechanical strength. Normally, this is fine. Surface mount devices are designed for that in mind.

When chips are soldered to boards this way, most often, when they are more complex chips like CPU's or GPU's that can get hotter at some of those joints, bumps are used. The bumps help the soldering (usually with a wave soldering machine, hot air, or other speciality unit) process, as it provides just the right amount of solder, and enough mass for the connection to take the current, and heat. Also, unlike devices such as resistors, caps, small chips, etc, CPU's, GPU's, and other larger chips have so many connections, that many, if not most, are under the chip. There is no way to get solder there, unless it's already present on the board, and chip. Another reason why this is so critical. Soldering between the chip and the board is difficult, and delicate.

This is a pretty well understood technology.

The bumps and pads must use the same solder. With regular soldering, it's not that important, because the way it's done will meld the entire amount of solder together into one mixed mass.

But here, that works differently. There is just enough heat applied to do the melt.

If there is one type of solder, no problem. The two halves melt together at the surfaces, and become one mass of the same material.

But if the two materials are different, the situation is also different.

What happens then depends on a number of things.

As lead based solder and tin based solder have different functioning temperatures, the question of what temperature was used comes into play. Was it the lower one used for tin, or the higher one used for lead? Most surface mount joints can withstand about 2.75 seconds of heating, no more. So what was the dwell time? It's longer for lead than for tin.

At any rate, what will happen is that as the surfaces melt together, there is just a thin layer of melt mixing.

If the lower temp was used, the lead may not go into a melt state, may begin to lose crystallization, and may end up being soldered TO, rather than being soldered INTO. See the difference?

As some joints heat up during extreme periods of operation, the different expansion coefficients will then come into play.

We don't know the answer here.

I can't tell you what the coefficients are, because I don't know the particular alloys involved.

Suffice to say that they are different. What has apparently happened is that as they expanded, either the joints in question either tore from shear, or "popped" from lack of tensile strength between the two solder types.

That's why they have to examine the joints themselves.

We know enough to get a good idea of what happened, but not enough to know exactly what happened.

As to why, cost cutting, and stupidity is usually to blame for problems like this.

For the past two years, ATI has been eating Nvidia's clock. Nvidia has been having major financial problems. This was one way to cut costs. They just didn't follow through.
post #56 of 72
Thanks for that detailed explanation melgross.
post #57 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by enzos View Post

The bumps are more likely made of a silver solder since lead has been prohibited since 2006 in many jurisdictions.

That was already addressed on the previous page of this discussion.
post #58 of 72
I'd like to point out that silver is also prohibited in many jurisdictions.

Silver is a poison, and very damaging.
post #59 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I'd like to point out that silver is also prohibited in many jurisdictions.

Silver is a poison, and very damaging.


OMG. Werewolves were right all along!


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post #60 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmaxmedia View Post

Thanks for that detailed explanation melgross.


Yep, Mel knocked that one outta the park.

Too bad nVidia is moron-ing it up so bad over something that seems not too hard to do right. The issues involved appear to be well-known.


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post #61 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by min_t View Post

Do we really need to cite the Enquirer for tech stories? Is there no minimum standards @ AI?

dude get your tech chops in order i read the Inquirer all the time you can't expect to get all your tech news from one source (AppleInsider, which happens to be my favorite bookmarked home page) but they don't report on everything tech as you have noticed they mention them on this site.... the Inquirer has great tech news apple and non-apple..

check it out for yourself.... see ya
post #62 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitzandbitez View Post

dude get your tech chops in order i read the Inquirer all the time you can't expect to get all your tech news from one source (AppleInsider, which happens to be my favorite bookmarked home page) but they don't report on everything tech as you have noticed they mention them on this site.... the Inquirer has great tech news apple and non-apple..

check it out for yourself.... see ya

I read The INQ all the time as well, and while I've chided Charlie for his obvious AMD bias, the tech articles are usually very good.

The problem with them is that they take too much pride in their English schoolboy humor, which is just not very humerous, but they seem to find funny

At least they make bad jokes about everyone.
post #63 of 72
Sorry if this has already been posted, but NVIDIA has posted a response on CNET

Quote:
Nvidia vehemently disagreed with the allegations, calling them completely untrue. The Inquirer's "initial analysis of problems with some of the older chips was already flawed," said Michael Hara, vice president, investor relations and communications at Nvidia.

The Inquirer reporter "believes high-lead bumps are bad. That's his underlying theory. It's not true," Hara said.

He continued: "When you build a device, it's the material properties and everything in combination that leads to the robustness of the design. What we call the 'material set.' It's a combination of the underfill (a kind of a glue that helps hold the chip down) and the bump together that creates that stability in that connection," he said.

Hara talked about how the original problem announced by Nvidia on July 2 was rectified. "A more robust underfill would have taken the stress off the bumps and kept that (original problem) from happening. What we did was, we just simply went to a more robust underfill. Stopped using that (previous) underfill, kept using high-lead bumps, but we changed the underfill. And now we don't see the problem."

"Intel has shipped hundreds of millions of chipsets that use the same material-set combo. We're using virtually the same materials that Intel uses in its chipsets," Hara said.

So it appears that NVIDIA is still using the same high-lead bumps that caused the original problem, but they've changed the glue. So I guess the question is, is this enough?

... funny how they got the head of investor relations to answer the question ...
post #64 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

Sorry if this has already been posted, but NVIDIA has posted a response on CNET



So it appears that NVIDIA is still using the same high-lead bumps that caused the original problem, but they've changed the glue. So I guess the question is, is this enough?

... funny how they got the head of investor relations to answer the question ...

Nvidia's answer is a bunch of bull.

Notice how they don't deny the lead bumps though?

What they aren't mentioning is that this "glue" is not rigid like metal is. It has give. It has more give when it gets warmer.

The chip can still move a few thousandths' of an inch relative to the board, causing the shear, or popping, that's been reported on, by several sources.

The fact that they are seeing defects in many tens or even hundreds of thousands of products, shows that they are wrong.

The $500,000,000 or so they had to put aside for customer replacements also shows that they know it's their problem.

But they still intend to pretend to the public that nothing is wrong.

Shame!
post #65 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Nvidia's answer is a bunch of bull.

Notice how they don't deny the lead bumps though?

What they aren't mentioning is that this "glue" is not rigid like metal is. It has give. It has more give when it gets warmer.

The chip can still move a few thousandths' of an inch relative to the board, causing the shear, or popping, that's been reported on, by several sources.

The fact that they are seeing defects in many tens or even hundreds of thousands of products, shows that they are wrong.

The $500,000,000 or so they had to put aside for customer replacements also shows that they know it's their problem.

But they still intend to pretend to the public that nothing is wrong.

Shame!

I'm inclined to agree with you (though much more calmly).

Although he is trying to weasle around it, I think he has proven that the INQ has called it right on this one.

Does the chip still use the same lead bumps? The answer is yes.

Does the glue fix it?

If it did, then NVIDIA would be using lead/new glue on the new 9300(?) chips — they're not.

I imagine what Apple will do now, is try to fix it with software. Crank up the fan until sounds like you have an airbus in front of you, and see if that keeps the defects down.

The trick is to keep the machines alive until the warranty expires; that's all you have to do.

And it is worth bearing in mind, that once these chips make it into Windows machines, then the problem will become too big for NVIDIA to ignore.
post #66 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

I'm inclined to agree with you (though much more calmly).

Although he is trying to weasle around it, I think he has proven that the INQ has called it right on this one.

Does the chip still use the same lead bumps? The answer is yes.

Does the glue fix it?

If it did, then NVIDIA would be using lead/new glue on the new 9300(?) chips they're not.

I imagine what Apple will do now, is try to fix it with software. Crank up the fan until sounds like you have an airbus in front of you, and see if that keeps the defects down.

The trick is to keep the machines alive until the warranty expires; that's all you have to do.

And it is worth bearing in mind, that once these chips make it into Windows machines, then the problem will become too big for NVIDIA to ignore.

The problem started in Windows machines!

The first machines to be affected were Hp laptops. I forget the models. but there were over 20,000 that first had the problem.

At first, Nvidia claimed that only a run of chips sent to Hp for those machines were at fault, and the problem was with one of their suppliers. Then the problem spread to Dells and others, including more Hp machines.

In fact, people were wondering why Apple's machines that used the same chips seemed to be unaffected.

I noted that Apple had lowered the speed of the GPU's by a fair amount, more than usual, for the few times they had done it in the past.
post #67 of 72
I was referring to the chips with the new glue. Are these already causing problems with Windows machines?

I think lowering the speed of the GPU is a bit of con, but what else can they do if they're stuck with NVIDIA?

I think I'll hold off on the MBP purchase until this blows over ....
post #68 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

I was referring to the chips with the new glue. Are these already causing problems with Windows machines?

I think lowering the speed of the GPU is a bit of con, but what else can they do if they're stuck with NVIDIA?

I think I'll hold off on the MBP purchase until this blows over ....

The "new" chips available retail and, I assume somewhat before to OEM's, is supposed to have dropped the lead for tin.

I can't imagine anything else happening.
post #69 of 72
post #70 of 72
Quote:

Yup, that's it, pretty much.
post #71 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

I think lowering the speed of the GPU is a bit of con, but what else can they do if they're stuck with NVIDIA?

Yeah, I couldn't agree more.

There's no point harping on about the performance of the graphics, and the jaw dropping delta, if it doesn't actually work and you have to start winding back the GPU.

Surely Apple should be amending the performance charts on their website to reflect the lower performance, and refunding customers who bought the MBP based on Apples original performance claims.

I'd be pretty pissed if I had bought MBP only to have Apple sneaking in via the back door to underclock it!
OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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post #72 of 72
Hi!

Does anyone know if this problem is now solved? Are NVidia still using lead-based solder, or have they changed it?

I'm about to buy a MBP 15", and it would feel a lot better to know that it won't break down due to some problem known for a long time.
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