Sky-high prices make shopping for hard drives difficult enough, but things are about to get tougher. According to The Register, both Seagate and Western Digital are slashing the warranty coverage lengths on their mechanical hard drive lineups. In some cases, coverage is shrinking to just one year.
El Reg says Seagate wrote to "authorised distributors" earlier this month saying its warranty changes will take effect on December 31. Coverage will shrink "from a 5 year to a 3 year warranty period for Nearline drives, 5 years to 1 year for certain Desktop and Notebook Bare Drives, 5 years to 3 years on Barracuda XT and Momentus XT, and from as much as 5 years to 2 years on Consumer Electronics."
Western Digital, meanwhile, told partners in the distribution channel of a policy change coming on January 2, 2012. Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives shipped after that date will be covered for two years, down from three years for today's models.
Coupled with the current pricing situation, I'd wager these warranty cuts are going to push more folks toward solid-state drives. Intel's 320 Series SSDs are covered for five years, and SandForce SF-2200-based models from the likes of Corsair and OCZ typically have three-year warranties. It's a shame SSDs with 512GB or higher capacities are still exorbitantly expensive, though.
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