Through work I used to have a Dell D800 (and something) laptop, pretty big and bulky but a solid machine. It had different kinds of docks, an easily switchable hard drive (the best way to swap between my and works “builds”), a high resolution display (even for now), and it’s shining jewel was the built in Nvidia chipset. After a while dell stopped releasing drivers for it, but people hacked the detonator drivers helping me keep it alive and running the latest games.
Eventually the usual things happened, the batteries burnt out (replaced), a hard drive failed (replaced), and finally the nvidia chipset burnt out (replaced). It turns out those chipsets after a while struggled with the heat and the connections would degrade.
Then I got a shiny new MacBook Pro (again through work). It was amazing, really blew the dell out of the water. The hard disk wasn’t as easily switchable, but I did fit an SSD which really increased the speed.
Over the past few days I kept experiencing crashes with all kinds of graphic corruption. Eventually I just couldn’t get into windows. It turns out this laptop has two graphics cards, an Intel for basic work and an ATI for 3D. If you boot into windows (as I do) then it only ever runs the ATI card. “It turns out those chipsets after a while struggled with the heat and the connections would degrade” – doesn’t that sound familiar ?
I’ve been able to boot into OSX and remove the ATI drivers forcing it to use only the Intel chipset. I’ve then had to install Parallels and run my copy of windows as a virtual machine (also tweaking the keyboard to “real” UK layout and fixing the trackpad vs mousewheel scrolling directions).
It seems Apple don’t want to know about the issue since most of the offending chipsets are now out of AppleCare age, but this 11,000+ comment thread on their message board tells me its not an isolated incident !
Anywhere, here’s how I forced the Intel chipset for future reference
Dell twice sent an engineer to replace the mainboard when the Nvidia chip died, think I’ll be able to get Apple to do the same ?
Turns out there’s so many more reports of this than I had heard !