Up to 20,000 defective graphics cards have been shipped by Diamond Multimedia according to website TG Daily. The cards from the AMD/ATA HD 3800 series allegedly went onto the market between January and July this year and may all be problematic. Furthermore, a substantial number of HD 3870 512 cards and X2 models may also be faulty.

TG Daily wrote that: "All cards lack power management features; the 3850s were identified to have quality issues with poor soldering and integrated memory problems while the 3870s were delivered with a wrong resistor value, which can result in computers not starting up and system crashes."

Aliens claim their 10 per cent

The issue came to the fore after a complaint from Alienware, which returned all the cards it had bought from Diamond after finding more than 10 per cent of X2 cards to be faulty. System crashes and artifacts on games were the common symptoms.

In a previous case, Alienware had found an entire shipment of its Diamond cards faulty. After this latest incident, Alienware has changed suppliers.

When questioned on its findings by TG Daily, Diamond CEO Bruce Zaman issued the following statement:

"After investigating our customer service logs, we did uncover an isolated issue with one OEM manufacturer relating to a power supply being used. The issue was identified and corrected. We do not have any extraordinary customer call reports for HD 3850, 3870 512 MB boards.

"Diamond manufactures the most reliable graphics cards in the industry and our customers' satisfaction is our first priority. Diamond has always been about customer service and cares about maintaining good standing relationships with OEM manufacturers."

Bit of a card

All very well, but part of the problem may be that card vendors like Diamond don't necessarily make the cards themselves though they are likely to make small changes to the finished product to create a unique product. The original manufacturer was actually Info-Tek Corporation (ITC) which may be responsible for the faulty cards. The situation seems to have been compounded by inadequate testing on the part of Diamond.

A full recall does not appear to be on the books and thus far only a minority of users seem to have problems. If you have been affected adversely you are advised to contact Diamond, which should replace the faulty product.