NVIDIA Calls A Feature A 'Bug,' Strips Away Overclocking Option On Its Mobile Device Cards

from the you-can-buy-it-but-you-can't-have-it dept

In theory, the marketplace for goods works like this: a purchaser hands over $$$ and in return receives a product that they own and can use as they see fit. In reality, purchasers often hand over $$$ and find that the product they purchased is still in the grips of the company that took their money but seems loathe to honor its end of the deal.

Case in point #38,909: guess what NVIDIA thinks is a "bug," not a "feature."
Starting with the Fermi drivers, though, a software overclock was possible in the drivers, which allowed you to adjust your laptop GPU's clockspeeds at will. Tools like AfterBurner from Micro-Star International Comp., Ltd. and Turbomaster by ASUSTek Computer Inc. allowed users to more easily and safely tweak their GPU's clockspeeds on select gaming laptops with cooling solutions designed to cope with the higher thermal load. Companies like the Clevo Comp., Sager, ASUS, MSI, and Dell's Alienware regularly sold models billing overclockability as a sales feature.

What OEMs apparently didn't expect was that NVIDIA would rob customers of that feature. But that appears to be precisely what happened.
NVIDIA pushed out new drivers last December that took away customers' ability to overclock their cards. These were targeted at cards for mobile and hybrid devices, where the chance of overheating (and causing serious damage) was more pronounced. Those who had overclocked their cards but now were unable to do so demanded answers from the manufacturer. And wouldn't you know it, the explanation for NVIDIA's removal of this option cites "safety" as the primary motivator.
Unfortunately GeForce notebooks were not designed to support overclocking. Overclocking is by no means a trivial feature, and depends on thoughtful design of thermal, electrical, and other considerations. By overclocking a notebook, a user risks serious damage to the system that could result in non-functional systems, reduced notebook life, or many other effects.

There was a bug introduced into our drivers which enabled some systems to overclock. This was fixed in a recent update. Our intent was not to remove features from GeForce notebooks, but rather to safeguard systems from operating outside design limits.
"Safeguard systems from operating outside design limits" sounds an awful lot like "your purchased items are only as flexible as we allow them to be." Sure, warranty departments handling burnt up/out devices may have been making some noise about dealing with the aftereffects of careless overclocking, but if so, they're no less blameless than NVIDIA. Overclocking is generally one of those warranty-voiding activities, and if companies didn't want to be replacing torched devices, they should have handled it better at their end. (And, as Daily Tech points out, they should probably stop advertising overclocking as a "feature" if it's truly that much trouble in the warranty department.)

But NVIDIA's action takes the purchased product out of paying customers' hands. Most people who dabble in overclocking are technically adept and know the limits of their hardware (and the terms of their warranties). There will always be those who push too far or get in over their heads, and a few overclockers who disingenuously expect the device's manufacturer to bail them out when things go wrong, but these customers are in the minority.

When a company takes away a feature (especially one that has been advertised by the devices' manufacturers) and calls it a "bug," it's basically telling customers that they won't ever own what they purchased. In this case, NVIDIA is hurting some of its most loyal customers -- people who know their devices inside and out and will pay good money to stay ahead of the tech curve.

And NVIDIA's being a bit disingenuous itself. It calls overclocking a "bug" when explaining why it took this feature away. But if it truly was a bug, why didn't it issue a patch rather than eliminating the option? The obvious answer is that overclocking is no bug and NVIDIA knows it. But it has apparently chosen to placate its OEMs at the expense of some of its most reliable customers.

NVIDIA hasn't issued any further statements on its "bug fix," so it's safe to assume it doesn't really care whether it's angered a number of its customers. Its position in the graphics accelerator market is virtually unassailable, especially in the area (mobile/hybrid) where it has just guaranteed its customers will get less product than they paid for.

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  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 5:55am

    Reasoning

    C'mon, this obviously came out of Legal. If just ONE laptop ignites or burns someone because it was overclocked AND NVIDIA was selling overclocking as a "feature", they'd be smacked with a bazillion lawsuits in minutes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Geno0wl (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:12am

      Re: Reasoning

      Or the more EVEN obvious "reasoning". Legal said that the warranty wouldn't be able to detect if a user overclocked their system and it burned up. So Nvidia removed the feature.
      Basically some lawyers likely said "some guy can OC his netbook, burn it up and file a warranty and there is nothing we can do. Fix this".
      This is why we can't have nice things.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      scotts13 (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:25am

      Re: Reasoning

      I may not get the gamer market, but was this "feature" ever advertised BY NVIDIA to end users as a feature? Overclocking, by definition, is operating a device outside its design parameters. If manufacturers using the chipset advertised this misuse as a feature, this is all on them. NVIDIA seems to be doing what's right for their own protection and customer safety.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 17 Feb 2015 @ 5:58am

    There was a bug introduced into our drivers which enabled some systems to overclock

    It must be nice to have a "bug" open up an entire market for you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:14am

    Seeing how Nvidia cards in most laptops tend to throttle after 30 minutes of gaming, trust me, this is a GOOD thing. If anything, they shouldn't be promoting their chips of having so much performance within relatively slim laptops that can't possibly be sustained for long because of overheating.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kallethen, 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:27am

    Glad I use AMD

    Some people look at me strange for using AMD cards. This is another little reason I'll keep in mind for sticking to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Shadow Dragon (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:20am

      Re: Glad I use AMD

      I was gonna say that

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:42am

      Re: Glad I use AMD

      I can go back and forth for both AMD and NVidia. Before the overclocking issue, I had a problem with AMD cards operating quite hot and having stability issues. You can be brand loyal or go with the underdog but either way, both will have their ups and downs as they continue to release hardware.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Cynyr (profile), 20 Feb 2015 @ 6:11am

        Re: Re: Glad I use AMD

        I for one like my working and quickly updated linux drivers from nvidia. I think the AMD ones are less of a mess, but honestly i haven't had an ATI/AMD video card in 'round about 12 years.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rabbit80 (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:42am

    Somehow, I agree with nVidia on this one... Laptops are prone to overheating anyway and one of the most common faults is the GPU needing reballing due to heat.

    If a hardcore user really wants to overclock then they can most likely still use nibitor to overwrite the default clock settings in the cards BIOS. Essentially, removing this bug / feature is just another hurdle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      Yeah I agree, this seems to be something that people are over exaggerating. Even if they flashed the cards, couldn't you just use nvflash and revert back to the older ROM. Perhaps because I've been stuck in Apple's prison that I've just been used to hacking things to get it to work.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:43am

    perhaps nvidia will start to care when these loyal users migrate to ATI now!!
    yet another example of US courts allowing the various manufacturers to get with this double take! how the hell can any sound person think that when you've bought something, it still belongs to the manufacturer or seller? and even worse, this ridiculousness has spread, making even greater profits for the above!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:45am

    Important to note:

    "NVIDIA pushed out new drivers..."

    is really

    NVIDIA pushed out new closed-source drivers...

    This is but one of many reasons why closed-source software has to go. All of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BettyLu Krabobnik, 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:51am

    I would guess that the author has no experience in software development or system administration. As someone who does both for a living, what NVIDIA did was the correct thing. This was a potential flaw in the driver that could cause damage to a user's machine. Setting fire to someone's laptop is not a "feature." Legally and ethically, NVIDIA acted properly.

    If users want to keep overclocking available, they can simply use an older version of the driver. There's nothing really new a driver update can do for an existing card anyway. Updates are mostly about bug fixes and adding support for newer video cards. If you upgraded your driver and lost overclocking, stop whining and go download and install an older version. You'll have your overclocking back, and NVIDIA has protected itself from potential liabilities as well as future users from damaging their machines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rikuo (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      All overclocking can cause damage to a user's machine. That's why whenever you do it on a desktop, you get a splash screen from your overclocking software saying that you do this at your own risk, it voids your warrenty, etc etc.
      Obviously it's not a good idea to do it on a laptop, since you've so much less room to work with in terms of cooling, but if the hardware supports overclocking, allow it.

      The problem with your line of thinking is that you don't follow it through. Software not vetted and signed by Microsoft could damage your machine, so, according to your logic, Microsoft shouldn't allow programs you write yourself to install in Windows.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rich, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      Really? Well, as someone who has been in software development for over twenty years, I think your wrong.

      Spouting off about your assumed expertise is irrelevant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Rikuo (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:51am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, that's why I think BettyLu is lying about their experience in software development. You don't develop software and then go on to not think about the implications of manufacturers having control over the functionality of consumer purchased hardware.
        I can very easily get malware on my machine, but no computer manufacturer to the home market would write-lock the hard drives in order to prevent this.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      I am betting it was the marketing guys saying that "we allow overclocking of everything" and forcing the software guys to enable that feature. Then you have the engineers who find out and know the risks in laptops due to cooling constraints and then make the software guys remove it. I control the budget for all IT purchases and marketing, a lot of times, will over promises whatever they are selling and get someone else to try to make it work on whatever they said.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re:

        See this is where I think it's up to the individual manufacturer to request that the overclocking be turned off.
        Since when does a GTX980M have to be in a mobile platform or even than with bad cooling. IE: iMac's run crappy GTX700M series, and there's a bunch of ultra compact PCs coming out with similar setups.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 18 Feb 2015 @ 1:27am

      Re:

      Setting fire to someone's laptop is not a "feature".
      But nobody's accused NVIDIA of setting fire to people's laptops, and they have no right to prevent the slim-to-zero chance of someone setting fire to their own laptop (it would burn out first).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 6:56am

    This is in contrast to the 970 bug that Nvidia is calling a 'feature'.

    Nvidia, where down is up and no means yes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:06am

    This article is very weak sauce. They have every right and, if you ask personal injury lawyers, the obligation, to prevent users from burning themselves up. Would rather see TechDirt focusing on dirtier dirt.

    OTOH, the overall practice of pushing software updates with unknown and undocumented effects is a very rich vein to mine in terms of bad practice by companies. Consumers should very much be told in advance what their updates are doing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:26am

      Re:

      Like maybe car companies making aftermarket enhancements illegal in the name of safety?

      This story is TECHDIRT pure and simple.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    eaving (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:07am

    Couldn't the bugfix instead of disabling overclocking simply have an opt in massive 'coverage voided, possible risks include flames, death and Gozer' screen and overclocking is disabled unless and until they opt in. Would prevent the 'But I didnt know' crowd while still allowing anyone that felt they knew the risks to play.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      scotts13 (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:08am

      Re:

      Curious if you're from the USA - seriously. You can have a waiver signed in blood, under a full moon, witnessed by the President and the Supreme Court justices, and people can still sue you and win. Ask any skydiving school, ski resort, or (until special laws protected them) light aircraft manufacturer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:20am

    You know in a couple of weeks, someone is going to introduce a workaround for this...

    So it's not gonna affect too many people...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    SkullCowboy (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:23am

    Actually, there are multiple manufacturers (Asus is a big one) that sell Gaming Laptops. The are specifically built with much higher thermal capability than your Chromebook. Do some Googling. These machines were (and still are, funny enough) being marketed as having the ability to be overclocked.
    Asus copy:
    "With ASUS TurboMaster technology, the G751 offers stable GPU overclocking along with an optimized dual-fan cooling system that keeps everything cool even in the heat of battle."

    A lot of people bought them just for that reason. Now that capability is gone.

    If this was a 'bug', the OEM vendors sure used it to drive sales. And funny how this 'bug' has existed for YEARS...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      scotts13 (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      I've bought ASUS stuff many times, and currently have a couple of their motherboards and a video card. They ALWAYS provide their own drivers, even if many people use the reference drivers from the chipset manufacturer.

      If ASUS markets overclocking capability, then takes it away IN THE DRIVERS THEY SUPPLY, then people can bitch.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 17 Feb 2015 @ 5:12pm

      Re:

      Actually, there are multiple manufacturers (Asus is a big one) that sell Gaming Laptops.

      Every time I see the phrase "gaming laptop" I flash back to the time I tried to install Angry Birds on a friend's Win7 laptop and was told that the game couldn't run due to some mode not being found. Like Angry Birds really pushes the envelope of gaming...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:46am

    i fucken hate nvidia. for some reason i bought their shield tablet and controller.. I wanted to use the controller on my PC but to install the controller drivers you have to have an nVidia graphics card???? fuck you nVidia for that. there is a feature to stream from your PC to the tablet but you guessed it, you need an nVidia graphics card to do that too. trash company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:49am

    Be thankful...

    ...it wasn't a firmware update.

    Years ago I was pushed firmware updates for my pc. One of them bricked my NIC card! And since that was built onto the mainboard, guess what I wound up doing that weekend!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff Green, 17 Feb 2015 @ 7:52am

    What I bought ...

    I got a new car, it could do 150mph, all the reviews said so, admittedly the manufacturer didn't but he didn't exactly go out of the way to deny it.

    6 months later I got into my car one morning and the red led panel didn't tell me the time and the outside temperature it said "bug fix installed"

    Now when I pull away I find the car will do no more than 30mph. When I took it to the garage for a service they explained the original speed was a bug and was never safe this new mode is correct.

    Anyone else gonna buy cars from Nvidia?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rikuo (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:08am

      Re: What I bought ...

      To answer your question...unfortunately yes. Nvidia cards are superior to AMD cards (I've got two machines, one with an Nvidia card, the other AMD). Just like how, despite the fact I don't like the direction Intel is going with partnering up with Anita Sarkeesian, I have to buy their CPUs if I want good hardware, since they're miles ahead of AMD in that regard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 10:50am

      Re: What I bought ...

      A better analogy - your car came with an ejector seat on all models. Then one morning you came out to find it no longer worked on hardtop cars, only convertibles. You're pissed because you cut a hole in the roof specifically for your ejector seat, which is now inhibited on your car.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:13am

    Common Sense

    Am I the only here who feels that overclocking any part of your laptop is a seriously stupid thing to do?

    Don't get me wrong, I have a corsair H50 water cooler slapped on my 3770k which has been running stable at 4.5ghz for over a year now. But the last time I overclocked my GPU was almost 10 years ago given the fact that long ago I discovered it's better to milk out better quality and performance by either using a tool like Nvidia Inspector and/or altering the video configuration files of a game among other things...

    The only people I can see overclocking their mobile GPU are children and it would be a damn shame if they some how managed to blow their laptop up in their faces. I mean if the cmos battery or laptop battery are way too close to the gpu, I'm pretty positive they'll overheat and explode...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rikuo (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:17am

      Re: Common Sense

      Put up a splash screen saying "If you REALLY want to do this, then by clicking OK, you are hereby expressing to the world that you are an idiot and we wash our hands of all responsibility for what will most likely happen".
      There, any legal liability waived.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:22am

        Re: Re: Common Sense

        I understand where you're coming from, but no parent wants to go through taking their child to the ER because their childs eyes were burnt to raisins with flaming hot battery acid...It's just not safe - period.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Rikuo (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

          Are gaming laptops with overclocking capabilities generally marketed to minors?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

            That's a complex question which is open to multiple interpretations...

            Care to rephrase it in terms that reflect the point you're trying to make? lol

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Rikuo (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

              Sure. Your comment was trying to make an emotional argument about how no parent wants to see their children's eyes getting damaged by battery acid.
              Thing is, this is a fallacy. Gaming laptops and the people using them to overclock are generally not children. They're more than likely adults, who can make an informed decision to do something that is dangerous. So your comment that is basically saying "Think of the children!" is a non sequitur.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 10:29am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                "So your comment that is basically saying "Think of the children!" is a non sequitur."

                In my defense, I was 'thinking of my own childhood experiences' back in the late 90s in which I made many stupid decisions. Such as overclocking things to the point of catching on fire in computer class (which got me expelled) and I even got chemical burns once while attempting to resolder the connections of an overused PS2 port. Little did I know that the 'cmos battery' was ready to blow and was the reason why the cmos kept on flaking out all of the peripherals...

                Have you ever seen a video of a battery exploding?

                Regardless, overclocking should never be a mainstream consumer feature for more reasons than I can count.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 10:50am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                  The ability to exceed the speed limits should never be a feature of most cars.

                  /Same Logic

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 11:20am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                    Nobody seems to understand that tweaking your system is not easy, takes years of experience, and that this push-button crap is nothing more than a gimmick.

                    Wake up...

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 11:33am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                      Just like nobody seems to understand that driving safely at speed takes lots of experience, preferably gained on a race circuit. Not having that experience before driving fast, and injures and kills people, and often not the driver but some innocent bystander. However top speed and acceleration are still used to sell cars.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 11:36am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                        You do realize that people who text while driving are more likely to cash than anyone who is drunk nor speeding...

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Sheogorath (profile), 18 Feb 2015 @ 1:58am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                  I was thinking of my own childhood experiences back in the mid 00s in which I made many stupid decisions including getting behind the wheel of my parents' car and driving it as fast as it would go down the M60 near Salford. I was chased by the police and wound up flipping the vehicle too many times to count, sustaining multiple simple and compound fractures during the crash. I was still recovering when I was in court, being convicted of taking a vehicle without consent, speeding, driving without a licence, driving without insurance, and underage driving. Of course, just like a car, gaming laptops aren't marketed to children...
                  Disclaimer: the above is something that could have happened if I was that stupid, and I wrote it only to make a point.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Cynyr (profile), 20 Feb 2015 @ 6:29am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                    Think of the children! Give Police a "stop!" button for all cars, and require manufacturers to limit the cars speed to 5MPH below the speed limit, unless it's raining then -10MPH, or snowing/icy then -25MPH, or dark -7MPH to protect drivers from exceeding their ability to drive, and to allow police to prevent you from starting a highspeed chase and getting hurt.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

          But we also don't want to live in a world where everything that might be dangerous in a child's hands is prohibited.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      SkullCowboy (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:21am

      Re: Common Sense

      Yea, trying to overclock your eBook probably isn't a good idea. But when you pay close to $3,000.00 for a laptop that was designed so you could, well, not too many children buying those...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:26am

        Re: Re: Common Sense

        Well, if you're smart enough, then it shouldn't be terribly difficult to enable overclocking on your $3k laptop...For the general populace, such features should not be easily accessible.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          SkullCowboy (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

          I disagree. That laptop was marketed and sold with overclocking as a major feature. As such it certainly should be easily accessible. In fact, instead of using settings in software provided by the manufacturer the general populace you speak of now have to resort to hacked drivers or other workarounds to get the performance they paid for.

          It's kind of like the red key and the black key for the Hellcat. You would be pretty upset if all of a sudden that red key didn't work anymore...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

            No offense, but this wasn't a marketed feature of the 900m series and if you're not prepared to find ways to bypass it then you shouldn't be overlocking your laptop to begin with.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              SkullCowboy (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

              No offense, but you are wrong. Asus, MSI and others touted overclocking as a feature on their 900m series equipped laptops. Their overclocking utilities made this easy to do. Now that doesn't work.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:21am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                I'm referring to Nvidia's marketing. If anyone is to blame, it's the manufactures (Asus, MSI, etc) for taking advantage of what Nvidia is claiming to be a bug in their drivers.

                Now that I think about it, you have every legal right to ask for a refund according to consumer protection laws...

                Personally, I think overclocking features on laptops should be hard wired through an old school dip switch (rather than through software) which can only be reached if you have the knowledge on how to rebuild them. That way, people with cheap laptops, who don't know any better, don't blow up their sh*t up and people who have laid down the cash can make their OC wet dreams come true...

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:36am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                  A physical switch would be a decent compromise, but that will never happen. Hardware companies spend a lot of engineering dollars in an attempt to eliminate components like that, because it's big money in savings due to the effects of scale (and the fewer components something has, the more reliable it is.) A company I worked for was once able to eliminate a $0.50 part and it saved the company millions of dollars.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:43am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                    That's a fair argument but in this case I think the cost of implementing dip switches to enable overclocking greatly outweighs the cost of returns for those who completely destroyed their systems via the current methods.

                    I mean this is a pretty drastic move by Nvidia and I'm willing to lean towards the assumption that the situation is a lot worse than what is being reported...Otherwise, why would they do this to begin with?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      John Fenderson (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 10:20am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                      Of course, there is a very low-cost way. Instead of using a DIP switch, just put in a little wire-loop "jumper". Cut the jumper to overclock.

                      "I think the cost of implementing dip switches to enable overclocking greatly outweighs the cost of returns for those who completely destroyed their systems via the current methods."

                      Probably not. I'm guessing that only a very tiny percentage of customers overclock the card, and that it's a minority of those who that destroy their equipment in doing so.

                      "I mean this is a pretty drastic move by Nvidia and I'm willing to lean towards the assumption that the situation is a lot worse than what is being reported"

                      I don't think that Nvidia thought this was a drastic move.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2015 @ 10:44am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                        I suppose I should clarify that I'm speaking in terms of high end systems in which the quality and cost of components is not a factor.

                        For low end systems, it's pretty obvious that they just want things to work minus all of the fluff.

                        "I don't think that Nvidia thought this was a drastic move."

                        Well they managed to piss off everyone that spent the money to exploit this feature so...I don't know what else to say?

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  athe, 17 Feb 2015 @ 11:21pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Common Sense

                  Now that I think about it, you have every legal right to ask for a refund according to consumer protection laws...

                  PS3 and Linux...

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      pcdec, 17 Feb 2015 @ 8:24am

      Re: Common Sense

      But some manufacturers beef up the cooling capabilities on their laptops so that it is safe to overclock to a certain degree.

      I've always been an ATI guy tho so I don't really care what nvida does...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:25am

    This was probably brought about by that certain percent of customers who happily overclocked their laptops to the max so they could claim they got 3 more FPS in game Y then their clan mates. And when the magic smoke came out 30 minutes later, they with great amount of public yelling, exclaimed what a POS said laptop was and sent it back to the seller, all the time disavowing any knowledge about overclocking.

    Perhaps the drivers should be modified to allow overclocking only after the user agrees to having the laptop's and GPU's serial numbers sent the manufacturers of both with a screen notice that overclocking voids the warranty. Now there would be a record that the end user knew the dangers and did it anyway and accepted the loss of warranty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:45am

      Re:

      I don't think it's necessary to have to be entered into yet another corporate database to accomplish that. The firmware could certainly detect whether or not the card has been overclocked. On detecting that, it would be pretty easy to blow a virtual fuse whose state could be checked by the company performing the warranty service. That way it would act in a manner similar to the shock and moisture detectors in your cell phone -- the warranty violation would be detectable and provable without requiring that anyone register their hardware.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DeComposer (profile), 17 Feb 2015 @ 12:53pm

    The REAL reason Nvidia has disabled overclocking on mobile GPUs

    Given their rocky history with mobile GPUs, Nvidia was crazy to even consider overclocking.

    Back around 2008, Nvidia made changes to their mobile GPU manufacturing process—particularly to the solder "bumps" that both bonded and electrically connected the GPU chips to computer circuit boards. The cumulative result of these changes was an astonishingly high failure rate in notebook computers. The technology press predictably hung the label "bumpgate" on the whole mess.

    It would be another year before Nvidia would officially acknowledge that the problem even existed and another year before they would settle the class-action lawsuit for $200 million. Add the inevitable direct suits from computer manufacturers and years of consumer distrust, and it's easy to understand why Nvidia's stock value took such a severe hit (from which it still hasn't fully recovered).

    Given Nvidia's troubled past with thermal stress and GPU failures, their choice to disable overclocking for mobile GPUs is not terribly surprising, nor especially controversial.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 18 Feb 2015 @ 8:52am

      Re: The REAL reason Nvidia has disabled overclocking on mobile GPUs

      "Given Nvidia's troubled past with thermal stress and GPU failures, their choice to disable overclocking for mobile GPUs is not terribly surprising, nor especially controversial."

      Perhaps not surprising, but this is obviously controversial. Understandably so, since this is yet another case of a company retroactively removing features from a product that people had already purchased.

      That's not OK.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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