Intel boosts warranty on main SSD range

The company has boosted the warranty for its Intel SSD 320 series by two years, a sign of its confidence in the quality of its Nand Flash controller and firmware

Intel has added two years to the warranty on its 320 series of solid-state drives because it is confident in their reliability.

The boost in warranty from three to five years was announced on Friday. It covers consumer-level use of the drives, which is up to 20GB of writes per day. Caveats apply to enterprise-level usage, typically in high input/output environments such as datacentres.

"Expanding [the warranty] from three to five years on its latest product, the 320, is important," said Joseph Unsworth, a research director at Gartner. "This is a testimonial to the fact that Intel has very strong flash management capabilities that they're willing to stand behind with an enhanced warranty."

The warranty applies to all drives in the 320 series. The warranty document (PDF) stipulates that if the product is defective, Intel may repair it by means of hardware or software, replace it or, if it is unable to replace or repair it, it will refund the value of the product.

The health of the drives can be monitored by a 'Media Wear-Out Indicator' (MWI), which can be accessed via the drive software to show the use of the drive. The drives begin their life with a MWI of 100, and this decreases to one as they degrade. Intel is now offering a warranty of five years, effectively guaranteeing that the MWI will not fall to one during the lifespan of the drive.

However, Intel will not guarantee the drives if their MWI falls to one in fewer than five years when used in "heavy-use, enterprise applications", such as placed within servers in a datacentre, the company told ZDNet UK.

This is a testimonial to the fact that Intel has very strong flash management capabilities that they're willing to stand behind with an enhanced warranty.

– Joseph Unsworth, Gartner

The 25nm SSD 320 series were introduced in March, and ZDNet UK compared them favourably at the time to similar drives from Samsung and Hitachi.

Micron and Intel collaborated on the controller design and manufacturing process for the solid-state drives (SSDs). The companies announced in April that they had been able to develop a 20nm Nand flash process technology.

In the past, such announcements have typically been followed by Intel rolling out a new generation of drives built with the same method.

Intel's drives compete with others made by Toshiba, Samsung and Hitachi for the bulk of the SSD market, though there is secondary competition in the form of Sanforce, which provides its controller to other specialised companies like Corsair.

Full warranty documents for the SSD 320 series of drives are available on Intel's site.

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