A fault with Nvidia chips could see up to 34 lines of laptops from HP and Dell suffering from a black screen or booting problems.

Dell has admitted that laptop models going back to November 2007 may be affected by a flaw with their chipsets.

It explained in a statement that 10 lines may suffer from GPU problems, which are caused by a "weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with GPU temperature fluctuations".

Models affected include the popular Vostro, XPS, and Inspiron series.

HP has been even harder hit though and says a whooping 24 lines are affected by the issue.

These include HP's Pavilion dv2000, dv6000, and dv9000 series laptops, and the Compaq Presario V3000 and V6000 series as well.

Nvidia owned up to a problem earlier this month, and announced it was taking "a one-time charge from $150 million to $200 million ... to cover anticipated warranty, repair, return, replacement and other costs and expenses, arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of its previous generation GPU and MCP products used in notebook systems".

But the scale of the problem is only now becoming apparent.

HP is now offering an updated BIOS for the affected machines, and is also giving customers a complete set of diagnostic instructions to find out whether or not their machine is affected.

Dell has recommended a patch which will speed up system fans, reducing thermal stress on the affected parts at the price of increased noise and decreased battery life, says PC Pro.

In the meantime, there are concerns, however, that more manufacturers will come forward.

A report in the Inquirer suggests the problem affects all G84 and G86 chips, meaning that Asus and Apple users could also face issues.