With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

Summary: With hard drive shortages owing to recent flooding in Thailand affecting the PC industry, what should disk manufacturers do in addition to profit from higher prices? Why, cut warranty lengths, too.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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With hard drive shortages owing to recent flooding in Thailand affecting the PC industry, what should disk manufacturers do in addition to profit from higher prices? Why, cut warranty lengths, too.

Taking full advantage of the supply/demand imbalance, Seagate and Western Digital have announced that warranties for new drives are being reduced. In Seagate's case, Barracuda XT and Momentus XT drives will now come with 3-year warranties, instead of 5-year ones, and non-XT Barracuda and Momentus drives will now be covered for just a year instead of 3 years. The company says the shift will start on drives shipped starting on December 31 and will not impact retail products.

As for Western Digital, it will be slashing warranties for Caviar Blue and Green drives and Scorpio Blue drives from three years to two. This change will go into affect with shipments starting January 2, and apparently will not impact external drives or Caviar and Scorpio Black drives. WD says it will start offering extended warranty options for drives in the future -- for an additional price, of course.

[Via The Register]

Topic: Hardware

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  • This also means that they are going to cut the quality in the drives

    Although I can't say Seagate has had a good track record as of late, their product has been getting quite shoddy. The Hard Disk failures I have seen as of late have all been Seagate drives, and all the failures have been within 2 years. The OEM covers the drive for 3 years, so we would still be covered, but personally, I don't buy Seagate anymore. <br><br>Now days I purchase Hitachi drives which have been very good drives for me, although I believe Western Digital bought them out. Although I see that Western Digital is still operating the brand.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

      @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh I remember way back when, the quality and reliability was so bad we referred to them as "Sleazegate". They subsequently improved to the level of the competition, but it now appears that they and their competitors are simultaneously going down the same sleazy path. Solid state is looking better and better, except, of course, for the horror of the cost.
      thetwonkey
    • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

      @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh I guess Hitachi has gotten better, because I remember when all they did was get bashed over their "Deathstar" HDD line.
      Bates_
      • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

        @Bates_ That was back before IBM sold their storage division to Hitachi.
        Champ_Kind
      • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

        @Bates_ Deskstars were IBM's HDDs which they sold to Hitachi. I have some real DeskStar HDDs, they were, and still are great! Bit small by today's standards though.
        paulfx1
    • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

      @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh I don't think Hitachi was bought out. If they were, I'm pretty sure I'll be switching to Samsung, since I haven't had a WD drive worth two squirts ever.
      Champ_Kind
      • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

        @Champ_Kind...http://wdc.com/en/company/pressroom/releases.aspx?release=ba433e4b-bff8-4d99-b60f-7f02aa42f444

        Announced in March, not sure if the acquisition is complete or not.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

      @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      I would never buy Seagate again. My last external drive lasted well less than a year.
      TweetyPacer
    • And there are people who will never buy a Hitachi drive.

      @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh: You'll find people who swear by any given manufacturer. And others who will swear off that same manufacturer.
      ye
      • All it takes of course

        is to have one drive go belly up prematurely (oh, you didn't back up?) or arrive DOA, and the given maker becomes good as garbage. Anyone who goes back far enough with pooters, or handles enough drive units, knows there is little discernible difference between any of them when it comes to dependability, short-term or long-term. It's basically a crapshoot.

        Each and every maker, without exception, has had a few black marks in their storied pasts. It's something of a miracle as many arrive as perfectly functional as they do considering the sheer numbers cranked out, and how many third party gorillas handle the goods after they leave the factory (freighters, street carriers, distributors, retailers, pc noobs, etc).
        klumper
    • how do you clean mud out of a clean room??

      @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh <br>quality was already down, 3 drives recently purchased from seagate DOA, changed to a higher priced model and got one that worked (I still have 10 year old seagate drives that are fine). I have a feeling that they need to build new factories, and with solid state coming on, may spell the end for platter based HD's. Only problem is that the solid state ones will start dropping like flies next year. Apple is already on top of it with their recent purchase of Anobit to fix the problems with software, but eventually drives will lose so much capacity as to be useless.
      sparkle farkle
  • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

    I've purchased a lot of hard drives for me and my family over the past 20 years. Today, hard drives are basically cheap, crappy devices that, on the whole, don't last nearly as long as they used to, and which have a much higher failure rate even during the first few months of use. I think this change in warranties is simply a reflection of that.

    When you step back and look at what a hard drive does--one or more magnetic platters spinning at several thousands of RPMs with a delicate read/write head a fraction of a millimeter above the spinning platter--you realize that in another quarter of century people will look back and think how bizarre the product was. It's kind of like looking back at phonograph records and wondering the same thing.
    noibs
    • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

      @noibs Except that some people appreciate phonographs. Once SSD is the norm and the rotational hard disk only lives on for backup purposes, everyone will question why we didn't push solid state development back in the 1960s and 1970s harder than we did.
      Champ_Kind
  • What a bunch of noobs...

    Yes, I'm talking to you.

    All hard drives fail. It it not a matter of if, but when. You need to prepare for this eventuality. No drives are perfect, no manufacturer is perfect.

    Sometimes the drive fails within the warranty period, most of the time not.

    Drives today from any of the major manufacturers are very reliable taken as a whole. Yes, there are isolated issues with certain drive models but as a whole, the mechanical drive is better now than it's ever been.

    Do you remember the old days, when you had to deal with 80 ms access times (Seagate ST-225), low level formatting was common, you actually had to know the physical layout of your drive and enter that data into CMOS, used debug g=c800:5 to get to the external controller setup interface, and drives were made by folks like Connor, Corvus, Miniscribe, Quantum, Tandon, and Mitsubishi (the MR-535 was one of my performance favorites, but they died like Lemmings), when you actually knew the difference between MFM and RLL, you had to run a program called COMPSURF to prep a drive for server use. Do you remember these days? Do you realize how far we've come? I guess not.
    corton
    • RE: With hard drives in short supply, Seagate and Western Digital slash warranties

      @corton

      Thanks for the info, old man. My first hard drive was an ST-251-1. My second was a NEC 180MB ESDI 5.25 HH. I remember all the configuration issues just fine. Funny thing though, I expect the hard drives to progress just like the rest of the industry has. Reliability is the most important attribute of persistant storage - not speed or amount but reliability. The hard drive manufacturers have been failing this lately. It is making me angry.
      goingbust
      • I have to disagree.

        @goingbust: [i]Reliability is the most important attribute of persistant storage - not speed or amount but reliability.[/i]

        Reliability should be the most important attribute but to the average consumer amount is. Everything else is almost irrelevant.
        ye
    • Yes, but when you order machines hundreds at a time

      @corton... and when during your replacement period the only drives that are failing is a single brand of drives within their warranty period, it is pretty easy to see a pattern. Overall our machines that we order come with a variety of Hard Drives that vary from Seagate, WD, and Hitachi. The WD and Hitachi drives rarely fail on me, the hard disk failures I encounter are more heavily on Seagate at a rate of 3:1 per year.

      I also compare my results to what I see on product reviews. Look around on Newegg or TigerDirect, and more often I see poor ratings on the Seagate Drives than other brands.

      I do expect the occasional failure, but when the failures are heavily weighted to a single brand I take notice. When I send a Seagate drive back to HP or Lenovo for warranty, I try to get them to send me back one that isn't Seagate.

      I do have a few Seagate drives at home that are 5 years+ old, but I think I bought them before their quality started to run down hill.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • Cyclical screw ups, just like cyclical warranties

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
        [i]... when during your replacement period the only drives that are failing is a single brand of drives within their warranty period, it is pretty easy to see a pattern.[/i]

        All hard drive makers have had a few black marks of this sort. It's impossible over the long haul to advocate one brand over the other (lest you wanna be bitten in the butt later). At best you can try to avoid any given series or model runs that have known (documented) issues, but nothing suggests a clear-cut winner among the various players that remain today.

        To each their own of course, only YMMV.
        klumper
    • I Remember

      @corton
      I also remember that 12 years ago Quantum drives were reliable and Western Digital were not. I remember Seagate drives being reliable, but that seems to be a thing of the past for the last several years. Western Digital drives, on the other hand, seem to have improved in recent years.

      As the technology gets pushed to more and more capacity, of course it becomes more difficult to keep drives reliable at those capacities. I imagine that by today's standards it would be quite easy to make reliable 3 or 4 GB drives. That doesn't mean that 2 TB drives from now are more reliable than 4 GB drives from ten years ago. Recently I've seen Samsung and Western Digital drives holding up a bit better than Seagate (seems like they went down the tubes around the time they merged with Maxtor).
      CFWhitman
    • Yes they all fail, but not at the rate I???m currently seeing

      @corton
      I purchase a lot of hard drives for our backup process. Two years ago I order ten 1Tb Seagate drives. Seven of the ten were DOA, one of the remaining three failed within a couple of months. I switched to Western Digital. They have generally been better (no 70% DOA) but they routinely fail as well. Over the last two years I have sent about 15 drives back to WD on warranty(out of ~100). Some were DOA, others failed within a month of service.

      In the last twenty years of IT I have never experienced the level of failures I have seen in the last two years. Yes hard drives are much more plug and play than way back when, but back then once you had it formatted and working it continued to work, at least for more than a month???.
      TexasJetter