For those of you that have not already taken the plunge in switching your computer to a Solid State Drive, Intel has announced that it is increasing the warranty on the 320 series of Solid State Drives. This move could be considered as unexpected, because many other companies are still reigning in expenses, but Intel surpassed investor expectations in Q1 of 2011.
According to PCWorld in an interview with Intel's director of Product Marketing, Troy Winslow,
“We already see that the next generation on 25-nm NAND is just as reliable if not better, than our previous generation. We are backing up our reliability claims by giving our customers an even longer warranty term. We see this as a way to reinforce that not all SSDs are created equal.”
This extension in warranty also applies retroactively to customers that have already purchased a 320 series SSD. Other companies, such as Western Digital and Seagate have 5 year warranties, but mostly on their upper performance tier models (including enterprise class drives). This move would certainly place Intel into the enterprise storage market, as many companies can certainly appreciate longer warranties to protect their investments.
Although, there are a few specific clauses in the warranty for both consumers and enterprise customers, limiting Intel's liability when it's time to replace the drive. According to the article, Intel is assuming (for consumers) 20 GB of writes per day for 5 years as a part of its limited warranty. Furthermore, for enterprise customers, Intel is actually basing their limited warranty on a drive wear threshold, as reported by a SMART attribute, E9 (which can be checked using the Intel SSD Toolbox). Depending on the application, it would seem especially true that customers would surpass this "wear limiter" quite quickly, much like a car warranty! The article does not mention what the exact threshold is, but this information would allow enterprise customers to monitor their drives over time, and proactively determine when to replace these drives as needed.