Three years ago I bought an HP Pavilion laptop (DV9000) with a 17inch display running Windows Vista. All has been well until last week when it died. My laptop symptoms were that I pushed the On button and the LED lights turned on for a few seconds, then the computer turned off for a few second, and then it started an endless cycle of trying to start-up again.

Google search told me that thousands of other HP Pavilion users had the same defect – a faulty Nvidia graphics chip solder connection to the motherboard. There’s even an entire web site forum devoted to all things wrong with HP at www.hplies.com

A quick call to my local HP laptop repair place in Beaverton confirmed the technical issue and a reasonable $260 repair bill for a new motherboard and labor to install it.

We all love our laptop computers however when the reliability rate becomes so poor because of thermal and other technical issues it causes me to wonder when the consumer electronic companies will design their devices with an improved reliability rate.

SquareTrade did a reliability study on laptops and found that on a sample size of 30,000 units that you could expect that 31% of laptops fail within 3 years of purchase. Here’s a malfunction chart with different brands of laptops showing that HP was least reliable and Asus most reliable:

On the EDA side of things I’m wondering if there is any software that would’ve predicted this thermal issue with the Nvidia GPU chip soldered to a motherboard. I’d love to hear from my readers if there are any EDA tools out there that take into account thermal reliability for something like a laptop system.