October 04, 2010, 10:23 AM — MacBook Pro owners who bought a laptop with an Nvidia graphics processor in 2007 and 2008 may be eligible for free repairs as part of a settlement agreement for a class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, had claimed that Nvidia sold defective graphics processing units and media communication processors that affected the performance of some laptops. Symptoms included distorted or scrambled video on the laptop's monitor or, in some cases, a blank screen even when the computer was turned on. While it's settling the lawsuit, Nvidia is not admitting any wrongdoing as part of the case.
The affected Mac models include 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros bought between May 2007 and September 2008. Not every laptop sold during that period is eligible for the settlement--the MacBook Pro models have to contain an Nvidia chip and feature an eligible serial number. (You can check on the former using the About This Mac panel, and confirm the latter on this lawsuit settlement page.) The laptop also needs to be experiencing the scrambled video or blank screen issues.
Dell and HP notebooks are also included in the settlement. You can get a full list of affected models on the Website containing all the details of the settlement.
Anyone filing an approved claim will be eligible for free replacement of the Nvidia graphics chips and reimbursement for any repair charges. HP laptop owners may also receive a replacement notebook.
Laptop owners who don't want to be legally bound by the class action settlement have until November 5 to exclude themselves; that's also the deadline for filing objections to the settlement. A hearing is slated for December 20 to approve the settlement. The claim filing period will begin after that.
Apple has had its own repair program for the graphics chip problem in place for a couple years.
Updated at 12:40 p.m. PT to include a link to Apple's repair program.