Here's a bit of news that should help alleviate reliability concerns when picking up a solid state drive. Intel this week bumped up the warranty period on its SSD 320 line from three years to five years. The extended warranty applies to all Intel SSD 320 SSDs, including those that have already been purchased. Does Intel know something about SSDs that everyone else doesn't?
It's entirely possible for software to cause hardware damage. For instance, an overclocking utility, whether buggy or abused by the end-user, could potentially result in fried hardware. But should installing Linux on a system that ships with Windows automatically void existing hardware warranties? A reader who wrote in to the Consumerist is complaining that HP gave him the runaround when attempting to have the OEM replace an in-warranty battery on an HP netbook he installed Linux on.
Fair warning folks, if you write on your hard drives with a permanent marker, you may be blacking out the warranty. Take it from Scott (last name withheld) who wrote to The Consumerist complaining that his HDD warranty is now void for having written on it with a Sharpie.
Scott claims the serial numbers on his SATA hard drives weren't being recognized by Seagate's online RMA system and so he called them instead. He was then asked to provide a sales receipt and a photo of the drives.
"Thank you for the pictures," Seagate responded in an email. "Unfortunately, I am unable to read the serial number for either drive, and the writing on the one drive would void any warranty for that drive. If you can please send more clear pictures, I will do my best to have this issue resolved."
Scott didn't upload any pics to The Consumerist, but he insinuates the markings aren't any worse than the ones repair shops put on HDDs to keep from getting them mixed up.
This is not the actual drive Scott tried to RMA. It is, however, an old hard drive we had laying around, and though as some readers have pointed out we didn't use a Seagate unit for this shot, we can assure you that the marker is a genunie Sharpie.
Has something like this ever happened to you? Hit the jump and post your RMA stories, good or bad.
Say it with us, folks: "Boo! Hiss!" That's how we feel about BFG ending its legacy by punking its customers who supported the once enthusiast-oriented videocard maker.
A quick history lesson is in order here. BFG blazed a trail in the videocard market by introducing the concept of a true lifetime warranty for GPUs, and not one of those bogus ones that were good only for the life of the product so long as it was still being sold in the marketplace. This proved a major advantage in BFG's favor, and not long after, EVGA and XFX would follow suit, adding twists of their own (like the ability to overclock and swap out heatsinks without voiding the warranty, so long as no physical damage occurs).
BFG also built a legacy for itself by taking care of customers in other ways. In late 2008, the videocard maker began offering free PCI-E upgrades for AGP card owners -- all a user had to do was send BFG an "AGP card in good, working condition" and they'd send back a "PCI Express equivalent at no cost."
Hit the jump to find out how else BFG built up good favor, and why it's now all for naught.
We're still celebrating the decision by U.S. regulators to add some much needed exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which, among other things, makes it perfectly legal for users to jailbreak their iPhones and other mobile phones, and boy is that pissing off Apple.
"Apple's goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience," an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement. "As we've said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhone as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably."
We bolded the warranty tidbit ourselves, because really, that's the part that some will construe as a veiled threat from Apple, and others will take as affirmation that, yes, your warranty goes out the window the minute you alter Jobs' magical handset in ways his Cupertino company doesn't approve.
Nobody really knows exactly how many jailbroken iPhones are out in the wild, though some estimates peg the number at around 10 million. And that was before this landmark ruling. With the Library of Congress handing the keys over to users, you can bet an increasing number of iPhone owners will drive off into what's no longer the Forbidden Zone.
Sure, Apple can kill your warranty for doing so, but that's all the company can do, right? Maybe not. If you haven't already, check out our latest edition of Murphy's Law, in which David Murphy explains why he thinks this is just the beginning of a frightening war between Apple and those would dare jailbreak their iPhones.
One of the big advantages of owning a solid state drive (SSD) over a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) is that SSDs are far more durable and less prone to failure. Nevertheless, having a warranty in place gives us all kinds of warm fuzzies, so we'll give G.Skill credit for extending the warranty on its flagship Phoenix SSD series from 2 years to 3 years.
"In order to provide a better service for its customers, G.Skill has extended the warranty to 3 years for all Phoneix series SSD, including Phoenix and the latest Phoenix Pro drives," G.Skill announced. "For the consumers who have already purchased any G.Skill Phoenix series SSD, G.Skill will also provide 3 years of warranty service too."
G.Skill's Phoenix (120GB) and Phoenix Pro (240GB) are some of the highest performing SSDs on the market, at least on paper. Built around the well regarded SandForce SF-1200 controller, both drives claim read and write speeds up to 285MB/s and 275MB/s, respectively.
You can't check out of a Best Buy or other retail electronics chain without a sales associate pushing for an extended warranty. Even Toys R Us will try to up sell you on additional coverage, but if Sony has its way, you'll go through them for longer warranties when shopping a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Portable (PSP) console.
It appears Sony suddenly wants to cash in on all the the third-party extended warranties being sold at the retail level, and perhaps cut into those offered by services like SquareTrade. Helping to do that, Sony will offer additional accidental damage coverage, so should you fall down a flight of stairs and land on your PS3 to soften your blow, you're covered.
Of course it's all going to come down to pricing, and Sony's is fairly competitive. For a barebones extension, Sony will charge $50 to bump up warranty service on its PS3 console from one year to two years, or $60 for three years of coverage. The PSP console will run $30 for two years or $40 for three years. And the accidental damage insurance? That's another $40.
What do you think about Sony's pricing? Do you usually buy an extended warranty when purchasing electronics? Hit the jump and sound off.
If you're having problems with your Apple headphones, you're in good company. Apple on Monday announced a replacement program for potentially faulty headphones that shipped with the iPod shuffle (3rd gen), which the Cupertino company says only affects a "very small percentage" owners who made purchases between approximately February 2009 and February 2010. Think you're one of them? Here are the symptoms to look for:
Controls are non-responsive or work intermittently
Unexpected volume increase or decrease
Unexpected playing of voice feedback
You can also narrow down potentially faulty headsets by looking at the serial number. According to Apple, serial number ranges covered by the program include xx909xxxxxx to xx952xxxxxx and xx001xxxxxx to xx004xxxxxx. All of the affected headphones have an in-line remote on the right earbud.
One of the biggest gripes with Apple's handheld products is that you can't swap out the battery yourself, at least not easily. So what happens if you're out-of-warranty iPad tablet stops holding a charge?
"If your iPad requires service due to the battery's diminished ability to hold an electrical charge, Apple will replace your iPad for a service fee," Apple states in its FAQ section.
The service costs $105.95 ($99 plus $6.95 for shipping) and is subject to local tax. But put another way, should your battery die for good, a Benjamin gets you a 'new' (likely refurbished, and scratch-free) iPad.
Apple points out that your replacement iPad won't retain any of your personal data.
"Before you submit your iPad for service, it is important to sync your iPad with iTunes to back up your contacts, calendars, email account settings, bookmarks, apps, etc. Apple is not responsible for the loss of information when servicing your iPad," Apple warns.
The other caveat is that your iPad has be to be in working order. In other words, if you spill your coffee all over your iPad or otherwise kill the unit by trying to open it yourself, Apple's not going to replace it.
Thoughts on the policy? Hit the jump and sound off!
If you're looking for an excuse to upgrade to a newer netbook running Intel's next-gen N450 Atom processor, there are plenty of surefire ways to void your warranty and convince your significant other you're out of options. Submerge it in a tub of water, for example. Or set it on fire. Take a hammer to the chassis, or intentionally drop the unit off a 20-story building. Better yet, install Linux.
Wait a tick, what was that? Believe it or not, installing Linux, while not at all fatal, is enough to void your netbook's warranty under Best Buy's Geek Squad Black Tie Protection Plan, one user claims.
"My four month-old netbook's touchpad and power adapter all stopped working," the out-of-luck user wrote on the Consumerist blog. "I took the machine into Best Buy for service under the Geek Squad's Black Tie Protection Plan on Saturday, and demonstrated its problems. The manager of the Geek Squad informed that installing Ubuntu Linux on my machine voided my warranty, and that I could only have it serviced if the original Windows installation was restored. Furthermore, he insisted that the touchpad and power adapter had been broken because I installed Linux."
Now here's the thing. Driver conflicts and other quirky behavior really can creep up when switching from Windows to Linux (or vice versa), so Best Buy has a valid point. Fair enough, just restore Windows and all is well again, right? Wrong.
After doing just that, the user alleges the store's Geek Squad manager informed him that Linux had "permanently voided" his warranty.
In the age of the Internet, we have a hunch Best Buy will have a change of heart and end up fixing or replacing the netbook in question.