Here’s something that doesn’t happen often in the tech world: Intel recently upped its warranty from three to five years on its newest family of solid-state drives, the Intel 320 SSD Series. The company announced it did so because of its confidence in the latest reliability features of its third-generation SSD. The warranty change will apply retroactively to previously purchased Intel SSD 320 drives, too—a smart move by Intel.
Surprised by the change coming so soon after the Intel SSD 320 launched, I asked Intel what prompted the timing. The company replied that it was encouraged by the numbers it was seeing on the in-the-field reliability of the 25-nm NAND flash that’s inside the SSD 320.
“We already see that the next generation on 25-nm NAND is just as reliable if not better, than our previous generation,” explains Intel’s Troy Winslow, director of product marketing. “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.”
Intel does have different parameters in place, though, for the warranty, depending upon how the drive is being used in data centers vs. by consumers. The new five year warranty has different limitations based on the different usage expectations; watch the box packaging to ensure you’re buying the right drive/warranty combination for your needs.
Consumer retail boxes carry the five-year limited warranty based on an average usage model of 20GB of writes per day for five years. Drives sold in OEM boxes (plain, brown packaging and 50 pack boxes) can use the drives in data centers and other enterprise applications, but the warranty carries a “Media Wearout” clause that says the warranty expires “when the usage of the drive has reached a predetermined usage limit established by Intel, which could result in a warranty term much shorter than five years for drives used in heavy-use, enterprise applications.”
Intel says the Media Wearout is determined by Intel’s implementation of the SMART attribute “E9” Media Wearout indicator (use Intel’s SSD Toolbox to measure the Media Wearout.