Failed hardware is just a part of life, simple as that. You can nudge the odds in your favor by ensuring adequate cooling and keeping that foot long energy drink away from the edge of your desk so that if it spills it won't ooze into your mid-tower chassis, but there's no foolproof way to guarantee your hardware won't give up the ghost. When that happens, your next line of defense is a warranty, and graphics card maker Galaxy just announced it's offering an "extended warranty" period on its videocards. Cards purchased on or after August 1, 2011 are now backed by a 3-year warranty.
"Galaxy has listened to the enthusiast market and we are glad to move from a 2-year warranty to a 3-year warranty by registration. We will continue to push the limits of performance through Galaxy internal engineering and high end quality with our own manufacturing lines, now we are backed with a 3-year warranty to further service Galaxy customers," said Ric Lewis , Galaxy US sales.
Hooray for Galaxy in throwing the enthusiast market a bone, just remember to register your card online within 30 days to be eligible for that extra year of coverage, good from the date of purchase. Saavy? Awesome, now let's take a look at how Galaxy's warranty compares to some of the other guys.
EVGA is one of Nvidia's biggest and most active graphics partners, and the GPU vendor champions that responsibility with one of the more flexible warranties in the business. Most EVGA videocards carry a limited lifetime warranty, provided you register your purchase within 30 days (if you don't, it drops to just 1 year). The lifetime backing applies to products with the following suffixes: -A1, -A2, -A3, -A4, -AR, -AX, -CR, -CX, -DX, -FR, -FX, -SG, and -SX. EVGA trusts its users with overclocking and using third-party heatsinks, the company just requires that you return the card in its original factory configuration and condition (slap the stock heatsink back on), and that there be no physical damage to the card.
XFX is another company that backs its graphics cards for life, and in fact these guys and gals offer 'Double Lifetime Protection.' That doesn't mean you can take your warranty with you into the afterlife, but it does allow you to transfer the warranty to a second owner, a great perk should you decide to sell or give your card away when it comes time to upgrade. Like several others, XFX requires its customers to register their card within 30 days of purchase, or the warranty will only last for 2 years. Like EVGA, XFX doesn't mind if you overclock (volt-modding is NOT covered) or swap out the cooling solution, you just have to return it to its original condition when requesting service.
Yet another company that offers a lifetime warranty, VisionTek backs its videocards for life as long as you register online within 30 days, or it drops to just 1 year. VisionTek doesn't outright tell users whether or not they can overclock or use a third-party cooling solution, but does warn that any damage arising from tampering, user error, disaster, misuse, neglect, modification, and a bunch of other scenarios will not be covered.
PNY's warranty depends on which graphics card you purchase. For regular cards, PNY says it will warrant purchases for 1 year, plus an additional 2 years upon completion of registration on PNY's website, so that's 3 years total (it adds up, trust us). PNY's XLR8 graphics cards, however, carry a lifetime backing, although the company "does not cover items out of production if the company no longer stocks them (Lifetime is defined as the lifetime of the product on the market)." Overclocking and/or using a third-party cooling solution is not implicitly covered. Whether or not you divulge that information, well, that's up to you.
No other company we're aware of offers a lifetime warranty on graphics cards, though if we missed one, be sure to shout it in the comments section below. We also have to give credit to BFG, a fallen graphics partner that pioneered the idea of true lifetime warranties on videocards. Unfortunately, BFG's unexpected and untimely demise is also a reminder that even a lifetime backing is really only valid until the company goes belly-up, and then you're on your own.