2/2/2003

Summary

MAXTOR

Only the MaXLine drives will still carry a 3 year warranty. These drives are pretty expensive though. You can't extend your warranty on the other drives.

Maxtor explains that the reason they reduced the warranties from 3 to 1 year is that

"Industry analysts have been recommending a one-year warranty period on desktop drives for a number of years to better align the drive warranty period to the Global or Regional OEM warranty period for a finished computer"

Unfortunately, "industry analysts" are not computer experts and don't understand that hard drives are the most critical component in a computer since they contain the user's data. They are also extremely reliable these days. I always thought that warranty length was determined by reliability predictions. Additionally many people buy drives seperately as upgrades or replacements. So that makes no sense to me at all.

WESTERN DIGITAL

Funny, I was always into Maxtor over the years, and didn't like Western Digital too much for some reason. But one day I bought an IBM 60 GXP, and got really worried reading about their 75 GXP disaster (they were sued for producing defective drives), and bought a Western Digital 80 gig instead of the 60 IBM. What I liked about the IBM compared to the Maxtors I bought over the years was the construction with the PC board placed so the components are protected. Then when I got the 80 gig Western Digital, I saw it was almost the same as the IBM construction. I am also impressed by their innovative idea of putting in an 8 meg cache into some of their drives. So now I prefer Western Digital.

Well it's good that I do, because they are the only one of the four manufacturers here that actually allow customers to extend the 1 year warranty to 3 years for a small fee! Also nice is that their reasonably priced special edition drives are still under the 3 year warranty. Here you can see a company that's smart enough to maintain their image while others just don't care for more than their bottom line. Since drive prices have plummeted, the additional $19.95 to extend the warranty is really a bargain, and wow, they are even having a special for $9.95 for Feb. 2003.

IBM

I hate these corporate games. Today it's IBM, tommorrow it's Hitachi. What's next? Was the 75 GXP disaster so embarrasing IBM decided they could never live that down? Otherwise they have a great reputation, and eventually everybody would have forgotten about it.

What was disturbing recently is that IBM recommended that their desktop drives should not be used more than 10 hours a day. That really didn't sound good. Maxtor followed up with some similar statement. Western Digital never did. So that really turned me off to IBM and Maxtor.

Either IBM itself was giving up on producing quality Hard Drives, or they just had no patience to wait for everyone to forget about the 75 GXP disaster? I wonder what this brand name change is going to cause. Hitachi is not particularly known for their computers. :-).

I couldn't find any specific warranty information about the new/old Hitachi (IBM) drives on the new site except an email address. If they are smart they will keep the 3 year warranty.

SEAGATE

Finally, Seagate, that real old and famous Hard Drive manufacturer, also weasels out of the three year warranty for everything except super high end. They don't offer any extensions, but don't forget to mention that they have great technology like fluid bearings, and that their drives are reliable.

You can sense that they are all a bit nervous that potential buyers will think that the shortened warranty period means lower quality, as with many other consumer products these days. But what better way to scare off users by cutting down the warranty to a third? At first I thought that they were finding that the newer drives are failing like crazy and are scrambling out of the long warranty period before they go bankrupt!

It is worrying, but it's nice to see that Western Digital has no problem offering their customers an extended warranty for a very minimal sum, and still cover their mainstream Special Edition drives with the same 3 year warranty. I'm really glad I like Western Digital these days. Kudos to Western Digital. They are among the best performing drives according to storage review dot com. It's nice there is still a drive out there that you can continue to trust.

 

 

Hard Drive Manufacturers Reduce Warranty Period
From 3 Years to 1 Year on Some Desktop Hard Drives.

INTRODUCTION

Hard drives hold within them precious data some of us can't afford to lose. Reliability is of outmost importance. It was always comforting to see that Hard Drives were backed with a long three-year warranty. While that guaranteed nothing, and frequent backups were always necessary to ensure the safety of data, I suppose that for the consumer it improved the resale value of the drives if they were still under warranty, and was great if the drive failed during the period and could be replaced, however replacements were usually refurbished units. For the manufacturers it was a way to stand behind the reliability of the drives, particularly as they were so expensive. Now drive prices are at an all time low, and the capacity is higher than most consumers can use unless they do video editing or download files all the time. I suppose the low prices discouraged manufacturers from continuing the long warranty period. You might assume that the drives are less reliable than in the past, but that's doubtful since older drives were much more prone to failure. However, it is strange that all hard drives manufacturers decided to reduce the warranty period at the same time. I mean, if one company made that decision wouldn't the next company want to keep the longer period to attract the market to them? Maybe they were worried they wouldn't stay competitive because their expenses would be higher. Maybe they all made an agreement. That would smell of anti-trust. One hint that this may not be the case at all is that Western Digital is still pretty much keeping the three year warranty with only a minor caveat. The following is an overview of the new policies with my comments and summary on the sidebar.

PC World had an article about this too.

http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,105491,00.asp

ATTENTION: The following are snippets and links to the manufacturer's websites, and just here for summary. Make sure you follow the links for the most updated and accurate information! My comments are in red, or on the left side.

WESTERN DIGITAL    |   IBM    |    SEAGATE

MAXTOR'S NEW POLICY

http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/service/warranty/warranty_faq.htm

Warranty Policy FAQ

Service & Warranty Information

What is Maxtor's new Standard Warranty Policy?

  • Maxtor Fireball™, DiamondMax® and DiamondMax Plus ATA drives will carry a Standard Warranty Period of 1 year.
  • Maxtor MaXLine™ ATA premium drives will carry a Standard Warranty Period of 3 years.
  • Maxtor Atlas™ SCSI drives will carry a Standard Warranty Period of 5 years.

Why is Maxtor going from a 3-year Standard Warranty Period to a 1-year Standard Warranty Period?

Maxtor has decided to migrate the Fireball, DiamondMax and DiamondMax Plus drives to a Standard Warranty Period of one year. Industry analysts have been recommending a one-year warranty period on desktop drives for a number of years to better align the drive warranty period to the Global or Regional OEM warranty period for a finished computer.

How will Maxtor compete against other suppliers?

Maxtor has independently initiated this change in view of emerging industry trends. With the significant increase in the reliability of Maxtor drive products over the years and Maxtor's continuous attention to quality, Maxtor does not believe that this change will be a competitive disadvantage.

Can I purchase an extension on my Standard Warranty Period?

Currently Maxtor does not directly offer any warranty extensions. Please contact your place of purchase for any independent warranty extensions that may be available through the reseller. Any warranty extensions provided by the reseller are independent of Maxtor.

Is my warranty issued at the date of purchase, or from the date of production?

Warranty coverage is issued and begins at the transaction or purchase of the drive, not the date of production.

 

WESTERN DIGITAL'S NEW POLICY

http://support.wdc.com/warranty/policy.asp

Warranty Policy

"Western Digital has adopted a new warranty policy effective October 1, 2002. Western Digital WD Caviar Special Edition hard drives are covered under warranty for a three-year period. All other Western Digital products will be covered under a standard warranty for a period of one year. Products purchased before October 1, 2002 are covered under the product's original warranty, unless otherwise noted on the retail packaging...."

NOTE: that their SPECIAL EDITION drives, which are similar to the "High Performance" series, but have an 8 megabyte buffer, still have a 3 year warranty!

http://support.wdc.com/warranty/newpolicyfaq.asp

New WD Warranty Policy FAQ
 
Q: What type of drives are eligible for extended warranty?
A: Drives manufactured on or after October 1, 2002 and carrying 1-year warranty are eligible for extended warranty, except for USB 2.0 and FireWire external drives.
 
Q: I do not live in the United States or Canada. How does this affect my warranty and how much will it cost?
A: Western Digital is still in the process of evaluating the warranty policy outside of United States and Canada.
 
Q: How much does extended warranty cost?
A: Extended warranty is available for $19.95 ($USD)
 
Q: How do I upgrade or extend my warranty?
A: Extended warranty is currently available for purchase online.

<SNIP>

Continues--go to WD's website...

Oh, wow, they have a special between Feb. 3rd and 28th, 2003--the extended warranty is only $9.95 instead of $19.95!

http://websupport.wdc.com/store/extwarranty/index.asp

Western Digital is pleased to offer our valued customers an extended warranty plan for your new WD hard drive.

United States and Canada

Western Digital will extend the terms of our 1-year warranty for an additional 2 years. If you opt for the extended warranty plan, the total warranty period on your hard drive will be 3 years from the date of purchase.

The cost of this extended plan is $19.95 $9.95 and is payable by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express. This offer applies only to retail-packaged hard drives with a 1-year warranty. Please enter your hard drive serial number and date of purchase below to start the extended warranty process.

European Union, Switzerland, and Norway

Western Digital will extend the terms of our 2-year warranty for an additional 1 year. If you opt for the extended warranty plan, the total warranty period on your hard drive will be 3 years from the date of purchase.

 

The cost of this extended plan is $9.95 and is payable by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express. This offer applies only to retail-packaged hard drives with a 2-year warranty. Please enter your hard drive serial number and date of purchase below to start the extended warranty process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IBM'S--NO, HITACHI'S NEW POLICY

Well, going to check IBM's website, I just found out that IBM has decided to merge it's storage business with HITACHI, so now there is no more information on drives on their website--you are forwarded to Hitachi's new site. They proudly announce that while before there were 2 leaders in the HD market, now there's only 1. GREAT! :-) . There is no warranty information provided right now, and if you need information you are directed to email them. IBM's labels will change to Hitachi, and who knows what the warranty length will be. Currently they are honoring the previous 3 year warranty, and there are still IBM labeled drives on the market. Considering IBM's recent disasters with their 75GXP and 60GXP drives, maybe it's good to stay away from these for the time being? :-)

http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/dk/warranty.html

Warranty & repair information
for DK32xx and DK23xx products
 

Hitachi provides warranty for it's hard disk drive products sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and distributors. The OEMs and distributors may offer the same or a different warranty to their customers.

We suggest that you contact the store or distributor from which you purchased your system for warranty service. If the warranty period on your system has expired, we can refer you to an authorized service center that will arrange for the repair of your drive. For warranty replacement of stand alone drives, the distributor or retailer should be contacted first.

In addition to the above and as an enhancement to our customer service offering, Hitachi has instituted an end user support program. You can apply for warranty replacement Hard Disk Drives directly to us.

This option is only available for drives that are in warranty, and is provided through our service partners. To confirm that your drive is in warranty, please send an e-mail containing your e-mail address and the Drive Model and Serial Number as the title (subject).
 

 

SEAGATE'S NEW POLICY

http://www.seagate.com/support/service/warranty.html
 
 

New Warranty Policy
 

 
 

Beginning October 1, 2002, all Seagate desktop and personal storage products (that is, ATA and SATA interface products) will ship with a one-year limited warranty. This warranty change will affect all generations of personal storage products that are shipping today; if a personal storage product ships on or after October 1, it will be covered by the one-year warranty policy. All other aspects of the Seagate warranty administration will remain unchanged.

This warranty change will not affect Seagate enterprise products (SCSI and Fibre Channel interface products).

The new warranty policy will allow Seagate to remain a leading supplier in the highly competitive desktop disc storage market, delivering innovative, reliable and cost-effective personal storage products. Seagate continues to incorporate state-of-the-art features, such as SoftSonic™ fluid bearing motors, G-Force Protection, and other 3D Defense System™ features, to ensure that its drives perform reliably in the field

Conclusion: Due to their excellent performance, nice drive design, and three year warranty, I pick Western Digital over the others.

Thanks to http://storagereview.com for their fantastic testing and comparison engines!

Comments? e-mail: tekwiz@tektimes.com with "TekTimes" as part of the subject line.

 

 

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