If you own a Dell laptop system, I would highly recommend that you check on the source link below, to determine whether your computer is in need of a BIOS update. It appears that NVIDIA GPU may prematurely fail on select Dell systems, if the BIOS fix is not done. If you are already experiencing video problems, a BIOS update will not help. Hopefully your system will still be under warranty or the repairs will cost you to a fix. In their blog Dell states:

Though this issue is not unique to Dell, some of these affected GPUs are used in certain Dell laptops. That’s why I wanted to take a few minutes here to explain the issue and to let customers know what to do next. The issue is a weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with GPU temperature fluctuations. If your GPU fails, you may see intermittent symptoms during early stages of failure that include:

  • Multiple images
  • Random characters on the screen
  • Lines on the screen
  • No video

Dell recommends that you flash your system BIOS (see links in the table below). Each of these BIOS updates listed in the table below modifies the fan profile to help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations. Note: if you are already experiencing video-related issues like the bullet points above, updating the BIOS will not correct them. Dell will provide support for customers who have experienced GPU failure according to the terms of the system warranty.

These BIOS updates will help reduce the likelihood of GPU issues. New systems are being shipped with the updated BIOS revisions. Here’s the list of the latest BIOS versions. Click on the links below to download them.

Dell Product Name BIOS Revision Date Update File Name
Inspiron 1420


7/14/08 1420_A09.EXE
Latitude D630


6/22/08 D630_A12.EXE
Latitude D630c


7/11/08 D630CA06.EXE
Precision M2300


7/11/08 M2300A07.EXE
Vostro Notebook 1310


7/10/08 V1310-A10.EXE
Vostro Notebook 1400


7/10/08 1400_A09.EXE
Vostro Notebook 1510


7/10/08 V1510A10.EXE
Vostro Notebook 1710


7/10/08 V1710A07.EXE
XPS M1330


7/9/08 M1330A12.EXE
XPS M1530 BIOS will be available before the end of July

If you need help flashing your system BIOS or experience any of the video-related issues listed above, please contact Dell Technical Support. Our teams are committed to working with affected customers to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis.

If you have not updated a BIOS before, may I suggest you contact Dell before trying the procedure. If the BIOS update fails, your system could be rendered inoperable.

Comments welcome.