The Inquirer recently published an excellent article about Nvidia’s chip fabrication problem that I highly recommend reading. It doesn’t spare any of the technical details in explaining why Nivida’s recent graphics chips are approaching a failure rate of 40% on some lines. The short summary of the problem is that Nvidia put off some complex but necessary re-engineering on their new chip lines until it was too late to do it properly, so to meet engineering tolerances they switched out one type of component with another, thus causing a whole set of problems including fast failure rates. Ouch.
What with ATI’s new line of 4850 and 4870 graphics chips that are surprisingly good, their new and improved GNU/Linux support, and a lack of high failure rates, I’m thinking my next graphics card purchase will be an ATI. This latest round of news is really bad for Nvidia, but definitely good for ATI. I wouldn’t even consider buying another Nvidia card until I hear that the problems are worked out.