Hard Disk Drive Warranties
Posted Jun 15, 2007 5:06 UTC (Fri) by pr1268
In reply to: KHB: Real-world disk failure rates: surprises, surprises, and more surprises
Parent article: KHB: Real-world disk failure rates: surprises, surprises, and more surprises
Even assuming that hard drive warranties are written by the sales/accounting department, don't you suppose that they looked at return rates of their products in order to make that warranty period?
WDC used to pledge a 3-year warranty. Now it's 1-year (again, assuming their consumer drives--IIRC their "Raptor" series of true-SCSI drives gets a longer warranty). Whether it was the sales/marketing folks at WDC, or it was the engineers, either way, around 3-4 years ago they decided that the warranty claim rate wasn't good enough to justify maintaining the 3-year warranty, so they reduced it to 1-year.
Certainly the folks over at Seagate were wise enough to perform the same cost vs. benefit analysis of pledging such a long warranty, regardless of whether it was the engineering team or the sales/marketing folks. But, with Seagate's substantially longer warranty, I can only assume that their cost vs. benefit analysis demonstrated either of two things: (1) their drives were high-enough quality such that the return rates were low and they could warranty their drives for 5 years whilst remaining profitable, or (2) They could absorb the cost of replacing defective drives under warranty at will for the indicated warranty period given a failure rate no better or worse than the commodity average.
I just don't see (2) above happening without Seagate making drives of such sorry quality and cheap manufacturing costs that they can justify the long warranty (analogy: I sell you a television for $150 which cost me $20 to build, and it has a 20% annual failure rate, so I can justify warrantying it for 5 years and still make a profit of $50), and I don't see them making drives of such unusually high quality that their manufacturing costs (and retail prices) spiral upwards. Their drives are competitively priced with WDC, Maxtor, and Fujitsu.
I don't mean to argue; but rather, I wanted to share my experiences and perhaps invoke a mildly-stimulating discussion. I totally agree that doing some basic consumer research on hard drive quality and features (you mentioned Silent PC) is a good idea for anyone wanting to invest in spinning platter data storage. :-)
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