Sony said that a small percentage of Vaio laptops with Nvidia graphics chips may experience problems and the company offered to provide an extended warranty to cover the cost of repair. This follows similar statements by Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell.
Nvidia first disclosed the problem with its graphics chips in July 2008, saying at the time that graphics processors manufactured with a certain material set were failing in the field at a higher than normal rate.
In a Sony eSupport USA notice dated August 3, the company said: "Sony, in cooperation with Nvidia, has been looking into any possible effect to Vaio notebooks with Nvidia graphic processors. Until recently we had not identified any Vaio models that were affected by this issue."
The statement continues. "However, after closely monitoring the situation, Sony has now determined that a very small percentage of Vaio computers with the Nvidia graphics chips may experience this issue. These PCs may exhibit distorted video, duplicate images or a blank screen due to a failure of the Nvidia graphics chip."
The belated notice from Sony comes a year after Dell--in August 2008--made a similar revelation. Apple disclosed the problem in October of last year. HP began addressing the problem in support forums in November 2007.
Sony lists models affected by the issue on the eSupport Web site, which include the Vaio VGN-ARxxx, VGN-FZxxx, and VGC-LTxxx series. Though Sony doesn't specify the graphics processor, Nvidia chips cited in the past include the GeForce 9600M and 8600M.
"For any customer who requires repair of their Vaio computer due to the Nvidia graphics processor issue, Sony will cover the cost of repair (parts and labor) at no charge and, in addition to the standard limited 12 month warranty, Sony will provide a three year warranty extension for the Nvidia graphics chip," the company said.
that its financial results were negatively affected by an additional net charge of approximately $119.1 million to cover costs related to this problem.
The Sony problem was covered Monday on technology Web site SemiAccurate, citing a Sony Europe discussion forum.