Seagate slashes warranty from 5 years to 3 on selected bare drives

Seagate slashes warranty from 5 years to 3 on selected bare drives

Summary: Effective from January 3, 2009, Seagate will be cutting the warranty period from 5 years to 3 years on selected bare drives.

TOPICS: Hardware, Storage

Effective from January 3, 2009, Seagate will be cutting the warranty period from 5 years to 3 years on selected bare drives.

Drives affected by thins change include:

  • Barracuda 7200
  • Diamondmax
  • Momentus 7200
  • Momentus 5400
  • Pipeline HD
  • Pipeline HD Pro
  • DB35
  • LD25 5400

Drives purchased prior to January 3, 2009 will still carry the 5 year warranty.

Seagate is keen to point out that this change shouldn't reflect badly on drive quality or the confidence that Seagate has in the product:

Our product quality remains excellent, and, as the worldwide leader in drive storage, Seagate is committed to providing our customers with the most reliable storage solutions available anywhere. Based on our data, we know that 95% of all returns take place during the first three years, so by going to a 3-year warranty period (which is more in line with the rest of the industry and the needs of our partners and customers) we can make other aspects of our customer and warranty support programs more attractive, with negligible impact on customer product return needs.

Topics: Hardware, Storage

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  • No more reasons to stick with Seagate then

    This change just puts Seagate into the same league of 'possible reliability issues' as the their competitors.

    I haven't had a Seagate drive fail on me in 15yrs. Since they bought Maxtor and have now adopted the same 3yr warranty period, I can foresee the same failures that I've had with Maxtor drives. (far too many)
  • Huge confidence booster!

    In a day and age where Quality Control is more and more neglected (it's cheaper to replace than to check), this are bad news for Seagate public image...
  • RE: Seagate slashes warranty from 5 years to 3 on selected bare drives

    Not a good idea. Don't end up like the big three. By the way WD drives suck and I don't buy them anymore!
  • stick to professional products

    thus you benefit the 1.2 to 1.6 M hours MTBF ( instead of 0.75 Mhour, and still have the 5 years warranty.
  • Adrian, this is what I think

    My blog entry, after reading yours -

    Reported this morning on ZDNet, the Seagate company will be changing its warranty policy on many drives, beginning January, 3, 2009. The statement from the company gives a figure of only 5 % of the failures occurring in their drives between years 3 and 5 of service.

    This may be so, but if it is, it shows a policy that has been decided by people who know little about perceived value and human psychology.

    In many cases today, a choice between a Seagate drive and a drive, of equal size, from Western Digital or Hitachi is possible. I don???t really consider Fujitsu or Samsung drives here, as they are not widely available, or well known to the average consumer. Seagate and Western Digital are the heavy hitters here, and many don???t know the name Hitachi, and are slightly more comfortable when told that Hitachi is really what had been sold for years as IBM-branded product. In a $75 to $175 purchase, the difference of 5 to 10 dollars is hardly worth worrying about, and many times the drives are sold at equal prices.

    What then, affects the decision process? If one looks at similar drives, similar cache sizes are found, so that really doesn???t help differentiate. All performance drives, other than the few extreme cases (W-D Raptors and Velociraptors), operate at 7200 RPM, so no difference there. Yet in my time with these drives over about 20 years, Western Digital drives usually are superior to Seagate drives in performance, and, Hitachi drives just a tad faster, although slightly less robust that their W-D counterparts.

    The average user can???t feel a great difference in performance with these equivalent choices, and probably doesn???t really care anyway. What used to be greatly important, and easily seen, was the difference between the warranty periods. Hitachi has only recently increased the warranty to 3 years, having been only 1 year for a very long time. Western Digital is also 3 years. The extra 24 months of warranty with a Seagate drive gave many people that warm, fuzzy feeling, as the drive was protected, no matter who held the sales invoice, for 5 years. Though few will hold onto a drive for 5 years, the ability to sell a computer, or just the bare drive, after 3 years of service, with 2 additional years of warranty performance, on the most easily problematic part of that PC, is very comforting, for both buyer and seller.

    That feeling of comfort has affected the purchase of many Seagate drives, trumping minor differences in performance, whether or not verified by rigorous testing.

    The Seagate braintrust will find that this was a very bad decision; trading a 5% replacement rate for the additional customer confidence in the coming economic era will prove to be the poorest of choices.
    • You Hit the Nail on the Head.....

      Seagate differentiated themselves when they went from a 3 year warranty to a 5 year warranty.

      What did that mean to me?

      It meant that they had confidence that the product (at least a majority) were not going to need to be serviced during that time.

      What does Seagate's reduction in warranty period mean to me?

      It means that they have had more drives coming back and that I can't depend on their drives keeping my data intact. Personally I believe it is Seagate's shift to manufacturing in China that is to blame. Either way you will find that any Seagate drive of 500GB or over (including their Near Line Storage or so called enterprise drives) will fail within 1 year.

      What's more is the higher the density the higher and quicker the failure.
  • WD Drives Suck!?

    Im going on 6 years with my standard IDE 2 Western Digital Drives without one single issue. Theres a bad batch in every brand of drive. I sure do miss the old Maxtor though!
    • Caviar, Raptor, Raptor X, VelociRaptor. WD is awesome. nt

      • Same here...

        I had bought a 1TB Seagate and under one month I'd already seen SMART diagnostics show CRC and spin-up failures.

        I returned it and got a Caviar Black (1TB). It rocks.

        Funny, that, WD had changed its policy - upping from 3 to 5 years and now it's revealed Seagate's gone from 5 to 3 years. Which one makes more confident products? WD.
  • New math

    So only 5% of warranteed drives are returned in years 3-5? Sounds small, but clearly Seagate sees the value of this as being higher than the amount of business they stand to lose by cutting the warranty. I had been preferring Seagate precisely because of the additional 2 years of warranty. Without it, Seagate has lost a competitive advantage.
  • Use multiple manufacturers for RAID sets

    It's contrary to every textbook, but my first IT boss was using different manufacturer drives for his RAID sets to better absorb any design/manufacturing defects in a given drive.

    I've followed that advice for 10 years and even survived the infamous IBM "deathstar" fiasco as a result.

    As well, never use drives with sequential production numbers if you do insist on making an array with drives from the same manufacturer.
  • RE: Seagate slashes warranty from 5 years to 3 on selected bare drives

    I guess absorbing Maxtor has polluted them now too. I've been buying Seagate drives exclusively because of the 5 year warranty. I'll be looking elsewhere now.

    The drives have gotten way to big to back up effectively with other than RAID os some other scheme using another drive (I use RAID and then overnight RSYNC of the array to an external drive).

    If the vendor not is confident enough to back them for five years, I'm not confident enough to buy them!
    • No 5 Yr. Warranty = No Sale. Switch to WD.

      They just went from 3 year warranty to 5.
  • After several failures with Seagate SATA...

    drives I've switched to WD. Not sure they will be any better but I doubt they will be any worse.

    There is only one reason a company slashes their warranty period - they are eating too many bad units because of quality problems. If you don't take this reduction of warranty as Seagate saying their quality is suffering, you are a fool.

    On the other hand you shouldn't depend on SATA drives in your server environment. SCSI is the only way to go.
    • WD drives are the best.

      MTBF is always a gamble but WD drives have been more reliable for me than anything else has. They also always have the fastest SATA drives on the market.
      • Except...

        ...I had TWO WD SATA drives crash on the SAME computer...within one week of each other, the main drive, and its backup.

        I sent the main drive out to Ontrack ( for recovery, and it was one of the worst hard crashes they ever saw. NOTHING was recoverable. I was able to recover most of the data from the backup, using a software recovery program, but it has "left a bad taste in my mouth" for WD drives.

        I realize every manufacturer has its bad drives, but WD is not on the top of my list these days, I'm afraid.
        • Had 3 WD's fail, gave up on them

          I had a WD drive fail after 6 mos., RMA'd it, the replacement failed after 1 mo. RMA'd that one and got a DOA drive, had to promptly RMA that.
          When that replacement started to have problems, I ran the WDTools on it and it re-certified it 'Factory Spec'. So all they must do is re-certify and send the junk out to someone else for an RMA exchange. No more WD drives here!!! Now Seagate is made in China, I won't trust them - No wonder they are cutting the warranty! I'm going back to Samsung. Never had an issue with those.
        • Ditto

          I had a WD that crashed on me. I sent it to OnTrack and they couldn't recover it, I subsequently sent it to DriveSavers (they have much better customer service) but they couldn't save it either.

          Lost about two years worth of personal photos...
        • Just a thought: maybe it's the controller?

          Had a WD SATA drive fail in one desktop, and the diagnostics were inconclusive. Before I RMA'd it, or tried any type of recovery on it, I put it in another desktop with the same ASUS motherboard and it worked just fine, and diagnostics have never found a problem with it.

          This was about six months ago and that drive still seems to be functioning just fine.
  • RE: Seagate slashes warranty from 5 years to 3 on selected bare drives

    back in 2002, seagate and others cust the warranty from 3 years to 1.

    i don't think it was too long after, they raised it back to 3 years.

    then, in july 2004, they raised it from 3 years to 5.