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Intel Corp. on Friday clarified the terms of warranty for its 320-series solid-state drives. The company will only "replace drives in terms of issues", not because the NAND flash media wears out or something else - which relates to extensive use - emerges. The terms were not completely correctly reported by X-bit labs earlier this week due to lack of technical data.

The five years warranty expires once the wear-our indicator (a SMART [E9] attribute) goes to one, even in case it happens in less than five years. Intel replaces the drive if there is an issue with the drive prior to five years, or prior to the drive being worn out. In enterprise settings, they will put more wear on the drive than the estimated 20GB per day Intel offers on a consumer-use.

Intel claims that the new five year limited warranty applies to both client and data center usages, but with different limitations, based on different usage levels and differentiated by box packaging.

All Intel SSD 320-series products sold directly to end consumer in reseller and retail boxes have a five-year limited warranty term that is based on an average usage model of 20GB of writes per day for five years. 20GB is considered far higher than any normal user's usage, which tends to be an average of 2-to-3 GB per day, and 3-to-5GB per day for higher-end users.

All Intel SSD 320-series products sold in the OEM boxes (brown boxes and 50 pack boxes) for OEMs /Reseller purchases which can be used in data center or other enterprise applications, also have a five-year limited warranty term; however, the warranty includes a "media wearout" limitation.

"The media wearout limitation provides that the warranty shall expire 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," a spokesman for Intel stressed.

The media wearout is determined by Intel's implementation of the SMART attribute "E9" media wearout indicator (as measured by and shown in the Intel SSD Toolbox).  At any point during the warranty term, if the media wearout Indicator reads "1", as measured by the Intel SSD Toolbox, then the drive has reached its wear limit and the limited warranty at that point expires, regardless of how much time may have been remaining on the five-year term. This limitation is imposed due to the greater workload demands of enterprise/data center deployment on SSDs.

Tags: Intel, SSD, 25nm, NAND, Flash

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