Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Data Storage Hardware

Hard Drive Makers Slash Warranties 445

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-don't-make-them-like-they-used-to dept.
Lucas123 writes "Both Seagate and Western Digital have reduced their hard drive warranties, in some cases from five years to one year. While Western Digital wouldn't explain why, it did say it has nothing to do with the flooding of its manufacturing plants in Thailand, which has dramatically impacted its ability to turn out drives. For its part, Seagate is saying it cut back its warranties to be more closely aligned with other drive manufacturers."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hard Drive Makers Slash Warranties

Comments Filter:
  • LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid&gmail,com> on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:01PM (#38424060) Homepage Journal
    "For its part, Seagate is saying it cut back its warranties to be more closely aligned with other drive manufacturers."

    Yeah, the Maxtor buyout wasn't such a good idea after all, eh?
    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:26PM (#38424246)

      "For its part, Seagate is saying it cut back its warranties to be more closely aligned with other drive manufacturers."

      Right, because differentiating yourself as a premium provider with a better than industry norm warranty wouldn't work. They would rather be "the same" as everyone else. Funny how I always hear car manufacturers claiming their "drive train" warranty is longer than the other guy. I guess that won't work in the drive market though. Not being sarcastic here - I'm sure these folks understand their market better than a random AC, so it must make sense.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ackthpt (218170) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:46PM (#38424510) Homepage Journal

        "For its part, Seagate is saying it cut back its warranties to be more closely aligned with other drive manufacturers."

        Right, because differentiating yourself as a premium provider with a better than industry norm warranty wouldn't work. They would rather be "the same" as everyone else. Funny how I always hear car manufacturers claiming their "drive train" warranty is longer than the other guy. I guess that won't work in the drive market though. Not being sarcastic here - I'm sure these folks understand their market better than a random AC, so it must make sense.

        This smells like the sort of move a company makes when it is run by bean-counters, rather than a leader with vision, seizing the high ground and pointing a finger back at spineless competition, while laughing out loud - "See, they are rubbish and we are the best!"

        Next: Enter the marketing wizards to put some sort of bombasitic and completely unfathomable positive spin on this - "Really, it's good for the market! Honest!"

        • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:18PM (#38424924) Journal
          In such a brutally commodified market as HDDs, I suspect that all the companies are run by bean counters and the visionaries are dead.

          Because they are so cheap, per GB, mechanical HDDs aren't going anywhere for a decent chunk of the future; but they've been boxed in such that there isn't any noticeable room for 'visonary' development:

          1. Performance? If you want that, you'll be talking to a totally different company with a background in semiconductors, either Flash or DRAM, depending on how much money you are made of. Nothing stopping the HDD people from selling rebadges; but rebadging is not exactly a visionary(or terribly high margin) business.

          2. Reliability? Because servicing a warranty request isn't inexpensive(phone drones, fedex, etc.) anybody who can't deliver drives with a low failure rate during standard PC OEM warranty periods is going to find their sales limited; but reliability at the drive level isn't actually worth very much: The value of the world's spinny disks is peanuts compared to the value of the data on them. Most of the reliability money and R&D is going into RAID, advanced filesystems, various automated redundancy and backup solutions, etc. Again, nothing stops the HDD guys from selling rebadge RAID controllers or cloud backup services; but rebadging is not exciting.

          3. Features? If it doesn't just drop in and play nice with the SATA/SAS controllers of the world, including the legacy and currently shipping ones, it's a dud. If it has some cool feature that is supported only by your proprietary utility, on controllers that directly pass the necessary nonstandard commands, it isn't going to be wildly useful. If it achieves sufficiently broad adoption that OS and HDD controller support starts coming standard, it is no longer a unique competitive advantage...

          Cynically, there is also the fact that even people buying on the basis of desire for mechanical reliability don't have access to very good information: hardware and firmware revs change constantly, sometimes with a change in model designation, often not, some designs turn out to be workhorses, some are deathstars, some batches are bad, some aren't. Everybody has an emotional position on reliability, based largely on which brands failed them in the recent past; but unless they are buying in serious volume and somewhat behind the tech curve, data about the past are largely obsolete.
          • I guess I have to agree. At this point, if I build a desktop, it's raid1 to start with. The price of drives are so cheap, I start by assuming I'm getting what I'm paying for and buy two of them and then mirror.

            As for servers, as the size of drives has gone up, my interest in parity based raid solutions has proportionally gone down. Lots of drives in a raid10, either smart raid controllers or ZFS make my interest in a single drive basically nil.
          • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 19, 2011 @03:37PM (#38425872) Journal

            You are forgetting one friend:

            4. Size and Price. Most people frankly aren't gonna give a second thought to anything but size and price, you can trumpet your warranty to the high heavens but if the other guys offers a 2Tb for $50 even if it has a 30% failure rate after 1 years the average users are gonna run right over you to get to the cheap fatty.

            You are right though that in a commodity market frankly nobody really gives a shit. all the OEMs care about is the majority survive past the OEM warranty and honestly with the exception of the occasional bad batches most drives easily make 5 years whereas most folks are upgrading or replacing after 3 so again warranty doesn't really matter.

            I tell my customers to either have me get or pick up on their own a USB drive and backup often, and data they consider "must never lose" like family pictures have backed up in multiple locations including the cloud. I personally keep a 1Tb USB for OS images and keep my pics backed up there and in the cloud, the rest? meh its replaceable. All my games come from steam or GOG so no problems there, my tunes are on multiple drives AND DVDs, so frankly if a drive died tomorrow it really wouldn't affect me.

            I can see though why they've stopped having long warranties, i mean what was the size 5 years ago? something like 160gb? How many of the OEMs want to keep a pallet of those things in a warehouse for replacements? And dealing with customers i can tell you its NEVER the drive they care about, its all the data that went tits up that they aren't getting back and nothing the drive manufacturers are gonna do is gonna change that.

            So I don't really see a problem here. I again haven't seen any other than the occasional bad batch (like the current Seagate 1Tb Plus 7200RPMs which are shit) that won't make 5 years and most will be looking at a new machine or new drive before that. Once they get the flood mess cleaned up we'll be seeing $35 1Tb drives and $65 2Tb drives again and frankly nobody will give a shit about warranty again.

            • Re:LOL (Score:4, Informative)

              by nabsltd (1313397) on Monday December 19, 2011 @06:27PM (#38427672)

              I can see though why they've stopped having long warranties, i mean what was the size 5 years ago? something like 160gb? How many of the OEMs want to keep a pallet of those things in a warehouse for replacements?

              For older drives, it's common practice for a warranty replacement to be a newer model than the broken one. I have a lot of drives with 5-year warranties and have gotten larger drives about half the time I sent in an RMA, and pretty much always got the latest equivalent in other specs, so cache might be higher, power use lower, etc.

              Also, every drive manufacturer is still selling new 160GB drives. No, I don't understand it, either, but it shouldn't be a stock problem for the manufacturer to replace even a five year old drive.

          • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Xest (935314) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:34PM (#38427110)

            Yes, but the last company to slash their drives from 3 years, to 1 year warranty was Maxtor about 6 or 7 years ago, and they did so at the same time that I had 6 Maxtor drives fail personally in a 3 month period and all of different models, and I haven't bought a Crapstor drive ever since.

            In contrast the 5 year warranty Seagates and Western Digitals have always done be well, I know it's just an anecdote but I firmly believe a warranty most definitely is an indication of the quality of a company's product, and if a company is dropping warranty from 5 years to 1 year it implies they no longer have faith in the majority of their products being realistically able to last 5 years.

        • Re:LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

          by definate (876684) on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:21PM (#38424970)

          This smells like the sort of move a company makes when it is run by bean-counters...

          Just so you know, warranty decisions are always made by "bean counters" (accountants) and actuaries. Doesn't matter what company it is, they're the ones that have to assess the impact it would have on the company, and what the company can reasonably take on. Engineers and similar would at most provide information to help them make that decision.

          • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ackthpt (218170) on Monday December 19, 2011 @03:33PM (#38425818) Homepage Journal

            This smells like the sort of move a company makes when it is run by bean-counters...

            Just so you know, warranty decisions are always made by "bean counters" (accountants) and actuaries. Doesn't matter what company it is, they're the ones that have to assess the impact it would have on the company, and what the company can reasonably take on. Engineers and similar would at most provide information to help them make that decision.

            As a Certified Management Accountant once told me - Accountants are there to advise, not run a company. The decision to go with the accountant's advice is, as stated above, a decision to not stand out as a company under the banner of "Quality"

            Raid10 is in my future. When the drive prices return to "normal" that is.

          • by tompaulco (629533)
            Just so you know, warranty decisions are always made by "bean counters" (accountants) and actuaries.
            Correct. A warranty is basically an insurance policy that they throw in included in the price of the product. By reducing the warranty period, they are saying that their company feels that they are unwilling to bear the risk of making sure a product lasts five years. And since they are not willing to bear that risk, neither am I.
    • Re:LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ArundelCastle (1581543) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:28PM (#38424284)

      Oh god... fuck Maxtor.
      But yes, when our local utilities raise rates, it's to be more "competitive" and "in line" with other regions.
      So instead of keeping the best warranty in the industry, Seagate is content to fall in line. Whatever, I don't truck with them anymore.

      • Re:LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tixxit (1107127) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:34PM (#38424356)
        Well, you can read it as Seagate being content to fall in line. It could also be that consumers are not willing to pay the extra few bucks for a 5 year warrantied drive. If they were, then Seagate wouldn't have reason to cut it.
        • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kcbnac (854015) <kcbnac AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 19, 2011 @03:13PM (#38425600)

          I always seek out and buy the 5-year warranty drives. Even if it costs more (which about half the time I end up paying a few extra bucks for it) - it means they "trust" the hardware a bit more.

          • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Spoke (6112) on Monday December 19, 2011 @04:38PM (#38426610)

            Or, it means that with the extra money they make on the drive (since it cost you more), they expect to be able to at least break even on warranty costs.

            For example, take 2 otherwise identical appearing drives - one costs $100 with a 3 year warranty, the other costs $120 with a 5 year warranty.

            Does the $120 necessarily mean that it's more likely to make it to 5 years before failing? Not at all - the two drives could be exactly the same. It just means that with the $20 they expect to be able to cover the extra warranty costs on those 5 year warranty drives on average.

            • by epine (68316) on Monday December 19, 2011 @07:45PM (#38428358)

              Does the $120 necessarily mean that it's more likely to make it to 5 years before failing?

              That's a bit of a haughty Socratic tone to explain basic cost/benefit bereft of leverage. As soon as you add volatility to production quality, the warranty liability creates a huge incentive to shift the dubious batch into USB drive appliances at Walmart or Costco.

              Without the warranty liability, there's little incentive for the drive manufacturer to bother with the complex logistics of sorting the better grades into the usage patterns less tolerant of failure.

              And you're also forgetting how good Detroit became at building cars able to last until the day the warranty expired with hardly any buffer. I know someone who did electronics design work at a major auto components company in the Great Lakes area and was given a stiff rebuke for choosing a part that cost pennies more (our of several dollars) with double the life expectancy. If the cheaper component is already rated to the warranty period, not one penny more. It turns out this is stupid economics. Eventually the consuming public figures it out. Many fat executive bonuses were paid before America nationalized the auto industry.

              Here's what enlightenment looks like: In recent design iterations, Intel has a rule that if a feature increases the power budget by 1%, it has to increase performance by 2%.

              I think the shorter warranties are a vote by the Seagate executive team to have a business model more like Detroit, and to collect as many performance bonuses as possible, before exiting their careers as the disk industry declines to Kodak levels of relevance.

              In iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, exp(caveat_emptor) as the number of iterations remaining declines.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Translation.. "We'll copy everyone else so when the bad press starts we can say we weren't first".

      The real reason for the warranty reduction is that instead of sticking with Thailand they'll be sourcing lower quality components elsewhere to construct drives.

    • Re:LOL (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dahamma (304068) on Monday December 19, 2011 @06:14PM (#38427552)

      It doesn't even make sense at face value, and in fact, is just untrue. There are only 5 major HDD manufacturers these days, anyway: Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital.

      Samsung: 5 years.
      Toshiba: 3 or 5 years, depending on product line.
      Hitachi: all over the map (1-5 years), but most seem to be 3 years.
      WD: Dropping some warranties from 3 to 2 years now.

      So, Seagate, *which* other drive manufacturerS were you aligning with by dropping (some) HDD warranties to 1 year?? Or did you just mean "aligning" as in collusion?

  • Suspicious timing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:05PM (#38424074) Homepage

    Maybe it's that with the overhaul the plants needed, the new production isn't fully debugged yet, so the expected failure rate has increased?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:02PM (#38424708)

      Or, alternatively, people are so desperate to get hard drive supplies at this time that they are willing to pay for both A) higher prices (I'm seeing double or more prices around here for popular ones), and B) shorter warranties. The latter will come in handy later even when prices are back to normal.

      "Cut warranty now, while customers are desperate and happy to get anything."

  • by gellenburg (61212) <george@ellenburg.org> on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:07PM (#38424082) Homepage Journal

    I rarely have ever run into a hard drive go bad within a year (24" iMac though was a very expensive and notable exception).

    I HAVE however run into my fair share of HDDs go bad within 3 years and definitely 5 years.

    So -

    Does anybody know which manufacturers offer the BEST warranties? Here I was just getting ready to order some 3TB SATA 7200RPM drives for my Drobos.

    • by cruff (171569) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:15PM (#38424104)
      Apparently you will just need to buy the higher-end drive models that continue to offer longer warranties. From the article:

      "Standard PC warranties are one year. Even so, WD will continue to maintain five-year warranties on its premium desktop/notebook products, including the WD Caviar Black, WD Scorpio Black and WD VelociRaptor products," a spokesperson wrote in an email reply.

      • by Pope (17780)

        Yep, stick to the better quality drives, get better warranties.

        Reminds me of cell providers all charging out the wazoo for text messages, because one did it first so the rest have to follow immediately because they can now get away with it.

        • by fnj (64210) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:24PM (#38424226)

          The blacks and velociraptors may or may not be better quality drives (I highly doubt that they are), but you will notice that they are vastly higher PRICED drives - grossly overpriced in fact.. I wouldn't want them even if they were priced the same as the 5400 rpm drives. They run hotter, waste more power, and give a very slight real world benefit to desktops or personal servers.

          • Why would anyone rely on warranties for data? That's just a roulette wheel with a big house advantage. Backup. Backup. Unless you're running some huge drive farm, in which case you should have a backup / RAID / replacement strategy in place, just pull the drives out after three years and replace them. Use the old ones for cold backup or whatever.

            I just replaced three 750 GB drives in my MacPro with a 60 GB SSD (for a swap drive) and a pair of 2 TB WD's. Fortunately I bought them before the flood. For

            • by timeOday (582209) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:50PM (#38424580)

              Why would anyone rely on warranties for data? That's just a roulette wheel with a big house advantage. Backup. Backup.

              Warranties aren't for data (they don't even try to reclaim data on broken drives) but for the drives themselves. The problem with shorter warranties is it removes the manufacturer's financial incentive to make a product that won't fall apart after 1 year.

            • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:58PM (#38424656)
              This. Drive reliability doesn't save data, backing up data saves data, nothing more and nothing less.
              • by hawguy (1600213) on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:05PM (#38424748)

                This. Drive reliability doesn't save data, backing up data saves data, nothing more and nothing less.

                Except that for most home users who use large harddrives, disk drives are their only way to affordably back up their data. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase more reliable drives for safer backups.

                • by TheLink (130905)
                  Drives aren't that expensive (even after the flood). If your data is that important to you, buy more drives.

                  Whatever the manufacturer, the drive return rates are about 2-5%. It makes no sense to bet that the drive model you happens to be the 2% return rate, and even so that's a 1 in 50 chance you're taking. Unless a particular model/batch is so crap, it doesn't seem worth it to take extra effort just to search around to see which is more reliable.

                  Whereas if you have independent copies of your data on two di
      • by na1led (1030470) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:37PM (#38424400)
        It would be cheaper and safer to buy 2 Low Cost Hard Drives and Raid them, than buying an expensive Hard Drive wth extended warrantees!
        • by infinitelink (963279) on Monday December 19, 2011 @03:11PM (#38425570) Homepage Journal

          RAID is so much for back-up (which I took the "safer" part to imply, but if I am wrong, my mistake). In my experience those who RAID for back-up come out sorely disappointed when something fails. Problems in the controller can mean corrupt data in all attached disks; the failure rates when [re]building data can be large... Depending on the level being used may be more or less useful for back-up, but really it's not back-up. RAID is data virtualization. I know it's trite to say ("...not back-up"), but really it could save your butt to observe it; where your comment is very valid, however (IMHO) is that done right the RAID should boost read and write times (making the extra expensive drives that are slightly faster superfluous).

          Also remember to have versioning with whatever back-up system you use (copies of data at different times and dates) so that issues with corruption don't leave you with two copies of useless files. If you really want to use it as a back-up solution, though, at least go to RAID 6. On those systems multiple drives may fail and if set right the others will have data in redundancy and keep on functioning; it still doesn't get around the problem of failure points and hardware faults in hardware common to every drive however: unless you are running servers for the world or building important software with a deadline, or perhaps writing a PhD 24/7, I think that is likely overkill though.

          A couple external drives, connected with SATA cables if your machine is current enough to support it (USB otherwise) and some software to duplicate important folders periodically to chronological folders, is good enough, cheap, and simple enough that most folks with average intelligence and access to Google can figure out from tutorials or from forum help.

          And of course since my last dealings with RAIDers who couldn't get data back, things might have significantly improved...

    • by VEGETA_GT (255721) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:19PM (#38424138)

      honestly the 5 year warranty of some drives greatly affects which drive I buy. I am usually segate fan but if a Samsung has better warranty I will buy that instead. I remember when I found one time the drives form Segate I wanted where only 3 year so I bought WD and Samsung at the time. So if WD and Segate drop there warranty period and other makers keep higher warranty then my cash goes to the bigger warranty. If you don't stand buy your product then I have no reason to either.

    • by v1 (525388) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:29PM (#38424290) Homepage Journal

      I've bought several dozen hard drives personally over the years, starting with scsi, and I work in a computer repair shop where I've replaced hundreds of failing and dead drives over my time, so I've got a pretty good sample size to work with.

      Long ago I used to buy quantum and seagate because I didn't have the money for backups and so I needed to rely on quality and warranty. Quantum was one of the best quality going, and seagate ruled the roost with its 5 year warranties.

      But as the years passed, lots of HDD manufacturers got bought out. Quantum went with IBM and quality absolutely flushed down the toilet about the time of the "IBM Deskstar/Deathstar debacle. Seagate also got bought out, and their quality went south as expected, but their warranties remained at 5 yr for most models.

      I continued to buy seagates, until I got so sick of dealing with failing drives and RMA hassles. I bought my last seagate about 2 years ago. (a pair of them) Two weeks after purchase, one of them suffered one of the loudest catastrophic head crashes I have ever heard - the drive sounded like an operating circular handsaw. (best buy was even surprised by the sound when I returned it) They offered me an immediate new replacement, and I instead got my money and bought a different brand. Now I see they're finally dropping their warranties, probably after an extended period of losing their shirts due to a never-ending flood of RMAs.

      So at this point I'm down to looking for quality, and only expecting a 1 or 2 yr warranty. Western Digital used to be crap, but while other brands went down in quality, WD seems to have come up. I'm still seeing a lot of samsung drives failing but they've improved. Haven't seen enough toshibas to really have an opinion on them, but I generally haven't had good experiences, especially with their externals. Right now I'm buying WD greens, they're cheap and fairly reliable. I try to avoid buying drives already in enclosures, because it's been my experience that they put the cheapest thing they can find in them, especially the USB-only enclosures, those are generally junk and slow to boot.

      May as well throw in my 2c on enclosures also. You get what you pay for when buying a single drive enclosure. A cheap usb-only case is going to be slow and I would be very surprised if the AC adapter lasts more than 2 yrs. My personal favorite at this time is made by OWC, their Mercury Elite Pro [macsales.com], it's got esata, dual fw800, fw400, and usb. USB speed can get up near 38mb/sec, fw400 and 800 top at theoretical maxes of 39 and 79, and esata I have yet to discover the speed limit on, it maxes the drives I have attached. $80 seems like a lot for an empty case, but it's worth it. Two at home and two at work, here I use them for data recovery because they're also tolerant of failing drives.

      If you need more storage, go with a Drobo. One at home and one here at work, I know a dozen people that have them and nobody has any complaints, they work as advertised, are easy for even a newbie to maintain, and so far have proven very safe. Stuff a drobo full of WD greens for cheap, reliable, large storage.

      • by tepples (727027)

        esata I have yet to discover the speed limit on, it maxes the drives I have attached.

        I believe eSATA is up in the 150 MB/s range. To max that, you may need an enclosure that's a RAID in itself.

      • by subreality (157447) on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:14PM (#38424862)

        best buy was even surprised by the sound when I returned it

        This, right here, is why your experience is an anecdote, not data. You're sick of this brand because of this, but this experience is an outlier in the eyes of someone who has a much larger data set.

        Not all drives are created equal, but the way people form their opinions on which ones are crap are highly nonscientific.

      • by rrohbeck (944847) on Monday December 19, 2011 @03:32PM (#38425810)

        You need to brush up on your disk drive history.
        Quantum sold its disk drive division to Maxtor which was acquired by Seagate, which is still independent.
        IBM sold its disk drive division to Hitachi which is in the process of being acquired by WD.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      I rarely have ever run into a hard drive go bad within a year (24" iMac though was a very expensive and notable exception).

      We've got around a 1/10 failure rate with iMac drives within the first year. Their heat management sucks.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:24PM (#38425002) Journal
        Apple designs have a rather long history(Apple III-present, somewhat intermittently) of running everything right near thermal redline in order to keep it quiet. On the plus side, it is pretty impressive how quiet some of their hardware is, especially given its chassis size(quiet is easy when you can just have a row of low-speed 120mm fans blowing over everything, much harder when you have a maze of teeny little air channels and speed controlled blowers and stuff); but it gets damn toasty in there...
  • um, er, what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jshark (623406) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:16PM (#38424112)
    If I recall correctly (and I may not), wasn't Seagate one of the first (if not *the* first) to up their warranty to 5 years in an attempt to stand out from other HD manufacturers a few years back?
    • Re:um, er, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:20PM (#38424160)

      Therefore, what they're saying essentially amounts to: "We will no longer be able/willing to sell you a product which is superior to our competitors'."

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Or maybe they are saying, "we offered a feature that led to higher costs for us but did not see a large increase in sales, and have no confidence that this apparently little-valued feature will convince people to buy our product when our competitors lower their prices due to less warranty overhead."

  • In other words.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:18PM (#38424124) Homepage

    Hard drive quality sucks, and almost all of them fail by 5 years so we are cutting back to avoid having to honor the warranty.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:19PM (#38424150)
    Since the warranties dont cover lost data, I've never really cared. When a drive fails, its the data that was on it I care about, not the 100$ worth of metal and electronics.
    • by fnj (64210)

      This is the most insightful post on this subject.

    • I was wondering about that, myself - but then I saw some guy up above wanting to fill his RAIDed NAS with 6 times 3TB 7200RPM drives. Now, EU prices are going to be higher than U.S. prices, but at E213 per such a drive, I can see why wanting 5 years of warranty is better than 2 year or even 1 year - especially since the data most likely IS going to be safe within the RAID setup.

      It would even make the RMA hassle and haggling over whether or not the drive got too hot (the little indicators inside that will c

    • I use a drive's warranty period as the time after which I expect it to fail. If your drive comes with a 1-year warranty, then I won't expect it to last more than one year. If your competitor's drive comes with a 5-year warranty, I'll expect to have to replace your drive five times before I replace theirs and I'll take that into account when deciding which to buy.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:20PM (#38424164) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, the moment you took delivery the warranty expired. All due to flooding in Thailand factory.

    How we doing on warranties and longevity of SSD?

    • by edmudama (155475) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:54PM (#38424620)

      Intel has a 5 year warranty on their 320 SSDs, longevity/reliability seem pretty good if you believe the data being published by various 3rd parties.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Intel has a 5 year warranty on their 320 SSDs, longevity/reliability seem pretty good if you believe the data being published by various 3rd parties.

        Of course it wasn't so good a few months back when people found their SSD claimed to be an 8MB drive after rebooting. A warranty is nice, but doesn't help much if you just lost all your data.

        I'm still waiting for the day I reboot my home server and discover the OS has gone. Hopefully the firmware fix really did fix it.

        • Don't count on it. My Vertex2/120 got into "3-minutes-to-bluescreen" mode last week. It had the latest firmware. The worst part is that you can't even run ddrescue on it, because whatever it is that ddrescue does causes the drive's firmware to crash instantly. I can read files off of it ~3 minutes at a time, but OCZ/Sandforce can't be bothered to give us a recovery util to let us just rip the raw sectors in a dd-like manner for offline recovery. The official party line is that the drives aren't broken, beca

    • by Miamicanes (730264) on Monday December 19, 2011 @03:50PM (#38426026)

      > How we doing on warranties and longevity of SSD?

      The electronics themselves, or the data on them? Big, huge difference. Sandforce2 (1200 series) drives in particular are going through a data holocaust at the moment. The problem isn't the electronics failing, the problem is that Sandforce's braindamaged firmware gets the drive into a state that causes the firmware itself to crash after a few minutes, or causes the drive to go into "panic" mode and intentionally brick itself (taking your data with it) for your "protection" (nobody at OCZ has ever been able to give a good explanation about how, exactly, having your drive brick itself into "panic" mode as a "precautionary" measure so you have to send it in and get a replacement with your data gone forever is somehow a desirable feature).

      Don't believe me? Go to ocz.com's support forum, find the one for Vertex2/Agility2 drives, and read the daily tales of woe with no solution besides "wipe the drive and try again" (assuming it's not in Panic Mode & has to be returned for official reflashing). Apparently, other brands using the same controller (Patriot, etc) are no better. Sandforce makes vendors treat their chipset like a black box, they dropped the ball, and just kind of left everyone unfortunate enough to own a drive based on one of their controller chips hanging like a corpse from the gallows of a wild-west town.

  • by poity (465672) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:22PM (#38424194)

    If I were suspicious I'd think they're calling up their old stock and selling them as new (3yr warranty in 2009, 1yr in 2011).
    If I were cynical I'd think they're calling up their refurb stock and selling them as new.
    If I were reasonable I'd think they probably already don't have enough to sell, much less replace for free.

  • MTBF (Score:5, Funny)

    by rabenja (919226) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:25PM (#38424228) Journal

    Mean

    Time

    Bullshit

    Factor

  • by ausoleil (322752) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:29PM (#38424292) Homepage

    The failure rate for hard drives has been quite well known for some time now: it is precisely 100% +/- 0.0%.

    Truly, it is not a matter of IF a given hard drive will fail, it is a matter of WHEN.

    That means that having a mirrored pair as a minimum -- even on a home machine -- is not an optional frill, it is a necessity. Even better, offsite cloud storage offer replication globally of vital data that are irreplaceable.

    If warranties are dropping, so is reliability, and that means it is more vital than ever to CYA and have solid redundancies all the way from the data center to the family laptop.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by am 2k (217885)

      The failure rate for hard drives has been quite well known for some time now: it is precisely 100% +/- 0.0%.

      Truly, it is not a matter of IF a given hard drive will fail, it is a matter of WHEN.

      That means that having a mirrored pair as a minimum -- even on a home machine -- is not an optional frill, it is a necessity.

      Uh, RAID is a very bad idea, unless you need 100% uptime (like on a server with hot swap). Broken drives can introduce data errors into the stream, which are eventually duplicated onto the other drive(s) as well. When the file system breaks due to this or some software bug, the file system on all disks is broken. For home use, the much better option is to use the second drive for frequent backups, ideally automated (so you can't forget to do it). The plus side is that the backup drive can be an external dri

  • by Red_Chaos1 (95148) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:30PM (#38424308)

    ...and they ended up relenting and increasing the warranty periods again because people stopped buying as many drives, etc. Apparently they didn't learn their lesson, or so it would seem to me.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:31PM (#38424326) Homepage

    "For its part, Seagate is saying it cut back its warranties to be more closely aligned with other drive manufacturers."

    Yeah, because standing out as a "quality and support leader" would be a bad thing! If the competition lowers its quality and standards, it's always best to follow them down.

    This continued mentality sickens me.

  • "...For its part, Seagate is saying it cut back its warranties to be more closely aligned with other drive manufacturers."

    Way to go there Seagate. Thanks for offering the exact same shitty warranty that your competitors offer to differentiate yourself. Nothing like lowering the bar in order to remain "competitive".

  • by danpbrowning (149453) on Monday December 19, 2011 @01:39PM (#38424420)

    HDD manufacturers never realized that they had everyone over a barrel. When the Thailand flooding happened, they figured it was a nice opportunity to try some price collusion (triple prices after a 25% drop in production). They never thought it would go so well, and now they're scrambling to roll out similar changes everywhere else, such as dropping the warranty five-fold. Next they will discontinue all the low-end and low-capacity models to "be more consistent with the consumer electronics and technology industries". After that will be to demand a seat on the security council with veto power. Finally, the world. :D I, for one, welcome our hard drive manufacturing overlords. /tinfoil hat.

  • Anyone else... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:04PM (#38424740) Homepage

    Remember back oh 12-13 years ago when drive manufactures did this? All drive warranties dropped from 5 years to 1 year. This went on for about a year, then got hit with a massive collusion suit. It drove Fujitsu right out of the market. I get the suspicion that this is the same thing, I do not think this has anything to do with debugging the lines, or anything else.

    I really expect the same thing to happen, it smells and feels exactly the same.

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Monday December 19, 2011 @02:05PM (#38424746)
    They have extremely high fail rates on their "Green" and "Blue" lines of drives. Most "Green" drives are lucky to last 2 years without failing. I personally own 4 of their 2tb "Green" drives, and have had 9 failures and counting (in other words, I have had failures of replacements for replacements...).
    • Western Digital - Caviar Green

      Since we're trading anecdotes about hard drives I personally like the Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive line and use them for external storage and had only 2-failures (one-predicted) out of ~12-drives of various sizes throughout a 5-year period or so. None of this should mean anything to anyone because this is all anecdotal evidence and Google's research paper about hard drive failures is what you should be judging failures by not Slashdot posts.

      I like these slow 5400RPM

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday December 19, 2011 @03:47PM (#38425984)

    . While Western Digital wouldn't explain why

    The reason why is very simple. Seagate and Western Digital want to sell you extended warranties. In order to do so, they had to make the original warranty period so short that customers would want to buy the extended warranty.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer

Working...