What’s Wrong with Western Digital

Now that my old Tivo has new life, I decided to turn my attention to the hard drive that failed. It was a Western Digital 250GB Caviar PATA drive. I ran the manufacturer’s diagnostics which turned up multiple errors. So time for a warranty lookup. And here is what the website tells me …

“No Limited Warranty. Product was originally sold to a system manufacturer. Please contact the system manufacturer or the place of purchase for warranty service.”

So a hard drive that may have had a two or three year warranty becomes subject to the shorter one year warranty provided by Tivo? Hmmm. Kind of makes you wonder if WD sold the drives to Tivo at a substantial discount since they KNEW they would never have to replace one under warranty. This is just another reason why I no longer recommend Western Digital hard drives.

My new favorite brand of choice these days for desktop computer hard drives is Hitachi. IBM sold its entire hard drive division to Hitachi a while back. So why Hitachi? The price is reasonable, and they still offer 3 year warranty coverage straight out of the box. Their 500 GB SATA disks are fantastic – I use them at home and at work.

So back to Western Digital for a moment. With no warranty coverage available, they did offer me a chance to buy a new drive in their customer loyalty program. Interested in learning more – I clicked through. They offered to sell me 5 different SATA drives, but for a DVR – I needed PATA. In the PATA family, they gave me two choices (40 and 160 GB at $44 and $78 respectively). I wonder how many of the 40 GB disks they sell these days? And why only offer me a 160GB drive when the one that failed was 250GB? I’m getting confused.

Not that I would really buy the 160GB drive option, but I decided to see what else I could do with my $78. Maxtor has a product line called “QuickView” that is designed for DVR and consumer electronics use. I was able to find a 250GB PATA Maxtor QuickView disk (model 6L250R0) at Page Computer for $72.44. So that’s …

1. 90GB more that the WD drive
2. Designed for DVR use
3. Cheaper than the WD 160GB drive
4. Not a Western Digital Product

The lesson? Spend wisely, and do your homework. Hard drive prices continue to drop, capacities go up, and base warranties are slashed to make price points competitive. A cheap drive might just be exactly that – cheap.

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