A product change notification (PCN) document by NVIDIA The Inquirer claims
to have access to, indicates changes to the bump materials of several NVIDIA graphics processors (GPUs). Affected by this change are popular GPUs such as G92 and G92b (55nm). Changes include replacement of a High-Pb solder (95% Pb / 5% Sn) bump material with Eutectic Solder (63% Sn / 37% Pb). Bumps are those parts of the die that establish electrical contact with the leads/pins of the FC-BGA package. Failures of these bumps are irreparable leading to permanent damage. This follows several events that lead to NVIDIA owning up defects in certain mobile graphics and MCP parts.
Implications of this PCN are:
- Current G92 and G92b are weaker and could be subject to failures similar to those products already diagnosed with failing packages and official announcements issued.
- This could just be a precautionary measure by NVIDIA since these changes according to the PCN are aimed “to increase supply and enhance package robustness” according to the PCN. In other words, better safe than sorry.
- Sourcing bump-processing services from a single provider is more economical than several providers doing it, as was the case with the recent mobile GPU failure fiasco. Mobile GPUs aren't much different from regular ones per say.
A list of affected products, according to the PCN is provided. It carries the PCN number of PCN0346A. It has the "PCN Submit Date" of June 13, 2008, "Planned Implementation Date" of July 28, 2008, and a "Proposed First Ship Date for change" of August 17, 2008 which makes it likely that none of the products available in the market as of now use this "robust" silicon packaging material. The G92 and G92b processors go into making popular graphics cards such as GeForce 8800 GT, 8800 GTS 512M, 9800 GT, 9800 GTX, 9800 GTX+, etc.