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HP Offers To Repair Faulty Slimline Desktops

Similar problems in Apple's MacBook Pros were attributed to the Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT processor, which distorted or scrambled video during playback.
Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday offered to repair at no charge Pavilion Slimline desktops that may not boot or display video, apparently because of faulty Nvidia graphics chips.

HP is the second computer maker in less than a week to offer customers free repairs on machines with the flawed processors. Apple last week offered to fix at no charge MacBook Pros with problems associated with an Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT processor, including distorted or scrambled video during playback and the inability to play video.

HP lists on its support site 38 affected models of the nearly 11-inch-high tower desktop. The company is offering a motherboard replacement at no charge for 12 months from the date a customer's one-year hardware warranty expires or until Dec. 31, 2009, whichever is sooner.

While not mentioning Nvidia in the service offer, the Slimline problems are similar to those that affected other computer makers' products using Nvidia processors.

The flawed graphics card resulted in Nvidia taking a one-time charge of $150 million to $200 million in the second quarter to cover warranty, repair, return, replacement, and other costs and expenses related to a "weak die/packaging material" in some of its graphics processing units used in notebooks. The company said higher-than-expected heat generated by some computer designs exacerbated the problem.

In disclosing the GPU flaw, Nvidia also lowered its revenue forecast for the second quarter, which led to the company's stock plummeting about 30%. Nvidia blamed the lower estimate on a drop in demand and on competitive pressure that forced the company to lower pricing. Nvidia's main rival is Advanced Micro Devices, which makes the ATI line of graphics cards.