PC Hardware Warranty Comparison Guide

Written by  Tuesday, 08 May 2012 15:03
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Making the best quality hardware is pointless without the best hardware warranty – no company is immune to acute device collapse and catastrophic failures, whether initiated by other devices or a result of prolonged decay and eventual death. We know – it’s tough to talk about your dead components, but it’s an important part of moving forward; the process is tough, but well-defined: Acceptance, grieving, thermalpaste, gaming.

warranty-slider

Device failure sucks. Troubleshooting is a painful process and may point to a zapped motherboard, bent pins, faulty memory, or a collapsed video card. Warranties serve as a backup and tend to be of 1, 3, or 5 year durations (which are absolutely planned to be within ‘average’ parameters), and as Google’s HDD test showed, failure rates in hardware tend to be highest at the 3-month and 3-year marks.

 

ASUS, Corsair, EVGA, and other gaming-brand hardware manufacturers might claim to have the strongest community, but unless these companies offer the staying-power of a solid warranty, it’s tough to be loyal.

We’ll compare the best motherboard, video/graphics card, power supply, RAM, SSD/HDD, CPU (and coolers), and case warranties in this guide.

As an add-on to this guide, new and intermediate builders may want to check out our "Common PC Build Mistakes" article.

Note: The guide has been split into multiple pages for decreased load times and ease of sorting.

Note 2: This is a very big guide - we are human and prone to error, so please, if you see any errors at all, point them out in the comments and we'll correct them immediately.



Types of Hardware Warranties

Before getting started on the actual warranty process and compare hardware warranties, we need to illustrate the differences between a retail RMA (like Newegg, NCIX, or TigerDirect might do) versus a manufacturer warranty.

RMA: Return Merchandise/Material Authorizations can be submitted either to a retailer or manufacturer. Newegg’s policy is (generally) a 30-day period guarantee, after which point it’s between you and the manufacturer. If it’s DOA or otherwise breaks within 30 days, you can return it to Newegg – NCIX has a similar policy, as does Amazon and most other retailers. After that point, it becomes a game of phone numbers and circus-like hoop-jumping-through-ing acrobatics. For your convenience, we’ve included RMA policies and warranty policies near the end of this article. Jump over there for more details on where to find all this info.

Replace vs. Repair vs. Upgrades vs. Loans

Warranty Replacements: These are pretty straight-forward. The system stops working, you pinpoint the part, call the maker, and send it back. They then send you a replacement part at (hopefully) no cost, perhaps other than shipping. Some warranties, as we discuss in the next pages, feature companies that will even send out the new part once you’ve confirmed your shipment of the defective one, thus eliminating the painful wait times.

This is the preferable route to take with a warranty.

Warranty Repairs: As the name suggests, this is when you send the manufacturer your bricked part and they try to fix it. ASUS uses this model with their motherboards. Send the board in, it gets repaired (with ASUS as an example, this takes 10 business days), and then receive your board back in around 14-30 days. Yeah, pretty bad. Additionally, it is possible that you’d be charged for pin repairs or other operations. Don’t let them make it your fault. Continuing with the motherboard example, we see a lot of motherboards ship with bent pins – these don’t necessarily impede usage initially, but adding a new heatsink or replacing a CPU may later result in enough force to push them to the failure point.

Be careful with this – companies can and will use repairs as a method to put the fault on you and claim user error, so try not to give more information than necessary and be sure to thoroughly explain why you think it’s their fault, not yours.

Warranty Upgrade: Some video card manufacturers, like EVGA, have (or used to have) upgrade plans for now-defunct product lines. In the waning days of the 8800’s reign of power, EVGA allowed owners of defective 8800s to upgrade to their newest 9800 model. Upgrades are an awesome plan, but are very rare with manufacturers. If you find a product you like that has upgrade options, go with them!

Warranty Loaner: This is a hybrid of a repair and temporary replacement, and is pretty exclusive to local repair shops (and also why buying local can be great, despite price hikes). A warranty loan plan is the option to use another piece of hardware to tide over a system until its injured compatriot is returned to working condition.

Which type of warranty is the best? Personally, I prefer warranty replacements. They’re simple and normally have more allowance for user-error. Repairs are tedious and involve many hoops, which normally result (again, personally) in my purchasing of new hardware instead. Upgrades are fantastic, but quite rare.


 

warranty-motherboard

It’s tough to define a “best motherboard warranty” since companies implement competitive changes with each passing chipset, but we can definitely try. Below, we compare motherboard manufacturer warranty policies by-brand, broken up alphabetically.

The gaming PC hardware market is constantly growing, so if you think we missed a brand and would like us to add it, give us a shout in the comments below and we’ll make sure it gets added. Here’s a big overview list of motherboard manufacturer policies – be sure to read the seller’s full policy to completion. Additionally, check our page with tips about not getting screwed by manufacturers. They like to play tricks, as we’ve read on numerous forums.

ASRock Warranty

Limited: ASRock offers a 1-year Limited Warranty for their motherboards that covers factory-responsible defects. The ASRock warranty does not provide coverage if any BIOS changes are discovered or if they suspect “tampering with the board.” Physical damage is not covered by the warranty, so any pin bending is “subject” to a $35 charge + shipping. BIOS fixes are $15 + shipping. Speaking for myself, I’ve managed to convince manufacturers to pay for my shipping charges if I’m upset enough, so you should be able to as well. Paying for shipping on a defective product is silly, in my opinion. ASRock offers both return and replacement options, depending on the extent of the damage and the age of the product.

ASRock suggests that the retail location or point-of-sale should honor its warranties, but you may want to call ASRock to determine whether this policy is relevant at the time of reading (these change all the time).

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Doesn’t Cover:

  • Physical damage (extra charge).
  • BIOS/software changes (extra charge).
  • Shipping damages (makes sense).
  • Replacement of retail box and its contents.

 

Duration: 1 year.

Warnings: ASRock gives you seven days to reclaim any components you accidentally sent with your motherboard. Don’t forget the CPU. Additionally, ASRock recommends that its customers remove any “accessories” (including cables and faceplates) prior to sending the motherboard in for repair/replacement.

ASUS Warranty

Limited: ASUS guarantees functionality of their products at date of shipment; any defects you encounter during its Limited Warranty lifespan (normally 3-5 years for motherboards) is covered as long as it is a manufacturing or power issue. If you can point at the pins and say “I got it this way,” you’re covered. If you can’t prove who bent it, it’ll probably cost some cash to repair. The timer begins when the product is purchased.

As with all RMAs, ASUS will want your serial number. For ASUS boards, you can find this on the side of one of the PCI slots on a white sticker.

Spotlight: 5 years of coverage on enthusiast and high-end boards.

The Warranty Doesn’t Cover:

  • New retail box replacement.
  • Credit & Refunds.
  • Upgrades or model changes.

 

Duration: 3-5 years.

Warnings: ASUS states pretty clearly that they’ll take ownership of any components you forget to remove when sending a motherboard in for warranty: “All spare-parts or module[s] removed under this limited warranty become the property of ASUS.” Nasty. Don’t forget to remove that CPU, they’ll keep it.

Biostar Warranty

Limited: Biostar’s Warranty offers coverage for 3 years with most motherboards, but the counter starts based on the date stamp on the serial number, not the date of purchase; this can be determined with the following formula:

Sample serial number: 70000k83455555. The number 834 = Year 2008, week 34. Add 3 years to this and that’s the last date of warranty repair. Biostar’s serial numbers can be located on the underside of the motherboard (or on the box).

Biostar’s warranty is for repair or replacement, based on their discretion. Biostar will cover your shipping costs. They also charge a non-refundable $45 fee for repair services in the event that the board is out of service or no longer under warranty. The charge includes the cost of shipping within 48 US states.

Spotlight: Biostar covers shipping costs (at time of writing) within the 48 core states. The out-of-warranty repair service is also nice and affordable.

The Warranty Doesn’t Cover:

  • Damage from misuse or improper installation.
  • Lost packages (make sure you track them when you send them for returns).
  • Missing accessories or extra parts. Deal with your retail location immediately if parts are missing.
  • Compatibility issues.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Remove all accessories and other parts prior to sending the item in. Send the motherboard in a box with no cables or parts.

ECS (EliteGroup) Warranty

Limited: ECS’ warranty covers products for 3 years (parts) and 2 years of labor, with the counter initiating upon date of purchase. ECS will attempt to repair defective motherboards first which, like ASUS, tends to take about 10 business days (or two-three weeks). If they’re unable to fix the part, they may replace it with a “like-new refurbished product.” Physical damage, “mis-use” (a pretty big blanket term), and “illegal modifications” immediately void ECS’ warranty.

Like all the others, keep the accessories and discs.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Doesn’t Cover:

  • Physical damage.
  • “Mis-use or illegal modifications.”
  • Missing parts.

 

Duration: 3 years for parts, 2 years for labor.

Warnings: Remove all accessories and other parts.

EVGA Warranty

Limited Warranty: EVGA’s 2-3 year motherboard warranty covers factory-related issues. All products must be returned to EVGA in the original factory configuration and condition, so be sure to reset CMOS if you’ve made BIOS changes. Remove any CPU backplates as well. EVGA repairs or replaces products “with a product deemed to be of equal or greater performance by EVGA if an exact replacement is not available.” Sweet! If the product is found defective within 30 days, EVGA will issue a brand new replacement and spare you the time-wasting horror of a repair. All replacements will continue the original warranty, so if they send a second defect, you get another shot.

Spotlight: EVGA upgrades products that are deemed obsolete or otherwise unavailable at the warehouse.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Physical damage.
  • Hardware and firmware/software modifications.
  • Missing parts.

 

Duration: Generally 2 or 3 years, but it’s variable. Determine length by these serial suffixes:

  • -A1, -A2, -A3, -A4, -AR, -AX, -CR, -CX, -DX, -FR, -FX, -SG, -SX = Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • -XR = Limited 10 Year Warranty
  • -GR = Limited 5 Year Warranty
  • -LA, -LE, -LR, -LX, -T1, -T2, -TR, -TX = Limited 2 Year Warranty
  • -B1, BR, -BX, -DR, -RX = Limited 1 Year Warranty (with exceptions, see their page).

 

Warnings: Send the product back with all accessories and components (subject to change, but at the date of reading – 4/22/2012 – this was the policy).

Foxconn Warranty

Limited Warranty: Foxconn’s 3-year warranty demands that all RMAs include all original contents and packaging, they also request “concrete evidence” of defects and will otherwise deserve the right to deny a replacement. Foxconn allows their distributors to deal with warranties for the most part, but should your retailer reroute or deny you, give Foxconn a shout and see what they have to say.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

Foxconn does not expressly list any defects that are not covered under their policy.

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Don’t lose anything. They want all of it in the box when you send it back. Foxconn seems a bit demanding on evidence and other requirements.

Gigabyte Warranty

Limited Warranty: Gigabyte’s 3-year warranty, like ASRock, is initiated when the board is manufactured. If you buy it a year into its shelf life, the warranty is already partially used. Keep that in mind. Gigabyte repairs or replaces products at their discretion and may include refurbished products as replacement. Gigabyte claims that their average turnaround time is 2-3 business weeks, which is pretty consistent with the other manufacturers. Gigabyte states that “Micro ITX” [sic] boards only have a 15 month warranty. I’m not sure whether they mean mATX or mini-ITX (or maybe there's a form factor I'm not familiar with?), but it might be a good idea to check with them if you’re concerned.

Gigabyte charges $45 to repair out-of-warranty products if there’s no physical damage. Granted, most defective out-of-warranty products will likely be due to physical abuse.

Spotlight: As with Biostar, the out-of-warranty repair is reasonably priced and nice to have available.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Products damaged by environmental factors (oxidation, natural disasters).
  • Physical damage, including “unauthorized” modifications and assembly issues.
  • Missing / bent pins.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Second RMAs are a bit more difficult and may result in testing fees, so be careful.

Intel Warranty

Limited Warranty: Intel offers 1-, 2-, and 3-year warranties for their motherboards, but most gaming boards are under 3 year warranty. Intel, as with the previous companies, does not cover damage inflicted by the user or damage that they have otherwise determined as ‘external.’ If a repair fails, which Intel promises it will get to you in “a reasonable amount of time,” Intel will opt to send a replacement. The replacement will have either a 90-day warranty or will continue the life of the previous warranty, whichever is longer. It’s nice to have that extra safety net that others don’t necessarily provide.

Spotlight: The 90-day warranty coverage of the replacement product is significant and will cover the traditional 3-month failure curve of hardware.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • External damage.
  • Abnormal mechanical or environmental conditions.
  • Usage straying from the product’s default settings.
  • Accidental damage.

 

Duration: 1-3 years.

Warnings: Intel does not explicitly specify whether the other accessories should be sent with the board. We’d recommend you call them on a case-by-case basis to check whether they want the board to be shipped in completion or whether it should be “board only.”

MSI Warranty

Limited Warranty: MSI’s limited warranty allows replacement within 7 days of purchase or repair within 3 years (for most motherboards). Unfortunately, MSI does not inform users of the expected completion time of repairs until after the part is received, which makes logistics sort of tricky if you’re in a pinch.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Accidental damage.
  • The warranty card is not presented to MSI.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: MSI wants all original pieces returned with the motherboard if it is found defective.

ZOTAC Warranty

Limited Warranty: ZOTAC's warranty can be confusing -- by default, their warranty is only 1 year for motherboards. Registering the product, however, extends it to two years. While it's a hassle, it's definitely recommended -- every year counts.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Damage caused by the user.
  • Physical damage.
  • Tampering with the product.

 

Duration: 1 year.

Warnings: ZOTAC doesn't offer any refunds whatsoever. The product must be returned in factory configuration and conditions. Any products with aftermarket mods / changes will be sent back (ouch!).

Motherboard chart should include: Duration, “Idiot Coverage,” refunds, incompatibility,upgrade (EVGA only), time period, shipping paid/unpaid, replacement period, transfer of warranty


 

warranty-video-card

ASUS

Limited Warranty: ASUS offers a 3 year parts and labor warranty on their gaming-grade video cards. ASUS doesn't cover any of its software with the warranty and guarantees only that the ASUS video card is free from manufacturing defects or material defects. The warranty starts at the date of purchase and requires a sales receipt for proof of purchase. ASUS will provide a repair and may provide a replacement if necessary.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Product modifications.
  • Overclocking damage.
  • Broken warranty seals.
  • Natural disasters or misuse.
  • Electrical damage.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Any 'spare parts' (including after market heatsinks) will become ASUS' property if you forget to remove them, so only send back what is necessary. Their lack of electrical damage coverage concerns me, but they do define it as 'external' (though I'm not sure if they'd test it thoroughly enough to determine whether electrical damage originated from the card or from elsewhere).

EVGA

Limited / Lifetime Warranty: Some of EVGA's video cards (mostly the high-end stuff) are covered under lifetime parts and labor warranty, which is nice, but you'll need to determine if this is the case on a card-by-card basis. More affordable cards are covered under 3 year warranty. EVGA will upgrade your card if they can't find a replacement, so you may actually end up with a better component in the long run.

Spotlight: High-end cards are covered under lifetime warranty; EVGA upgrades parts that are tough to find a replacement for.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Physical damage.
  • Hardware and firmware/software modifications.
  • Missing parts.

 

Duration: Generally 3 years or lifetime, but it’s variable. Determine length by these serial suffixes:

  • -A1, -A2, -A3, -A4, -AR, -AX, -CR, -CX, -DX, -FR, -FX, -SG, -SX = Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • -XR = Limited 10 Year Warranty
  • -GR = Limited 5 Year Warranty
  • -LA, -LE, -LR, -LX, -T1, -T2, -TR, -TX = Limited 2 Year Warranty
  • -B1, BR, -BX, -DR, -RX = Limited 1 Year Warranty (with exceptions, see their page).

 

Warnings: At the time of this writing, EVGA wants all products to be sent back in the box if possible. This may change, though, so be sure to check if you're returning something.

Gigabyte

Limited Warranty: Gigabyte's Video Card warranty is almost identical to its motherboard warranty. They offer 3 y ears of parts and labor coverage and will repair out-of-warranty products for a $45 fee (if there's no physical damage). The warranty is determined based on the manufacture date, not the purchase date.

Spotlight: As with the above, a $45 fee will get an out-of-warranty repair, assuming it's deemed repairable.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Products damaged by environmental factors (oxidation, natural disasters).
  • Physical damage, including “unauthorized” modifications and assembly issues.
  • Missing / bent pins.

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Second RMAs are a bit more difficult and may result in testing fees, so be careful.

MSI

Limited Warranty: MSI's video card warranty provides 3 years of parts coverage and 2 years of labor coverage. MSI, similar to their motherboard policy, offers a repair or replacement at their discretion. They do not indicate the turn-around time.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Accidental damage.
  • The warranty card is not presented to MSI.

 

Duration: 3 years (parts), 2 years (labor).

Warnings: MSI wants all original pieces returned with the video card if it is found defective.

SAPPHIRE

Limited Warranty: Sapphire's video card line carries a 2-year warranty and suggests that all requests for support be initiated at your reseller. The warranty is non-transferable, so it only applies to the original purchaser, unfortunately.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Defaced products.
  • Mis-use.
  • Products sold from non-verified distributors/resellers.

Duration: 2 years.

Warnings: Keep your receipt. They'll need it for verification.

XFX

Limited Warranty: XFX promises that your products will perform "in accordance with published technical specifications," and that it "shall be free from defects in materials or workmanship." If your card fails, you should be covered (unless you killed it); their warranty is offered to resellers for repair/replacement at their discretion, but if the reseller fails to honor the warranty, XFX has a ticket system (that requires registration) for usage.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • User-inflicted damage.
  • Accidental damage.
  • Physical damage.

 

Duration: 2 years.

Warnings: We weren't able to discern whether the warranty is transferable, so if you're buying it second-hand, make sure you check XFX's policy for that card. You must register the product for full warranty coverage. XFX used to offer a lifetime warranty upon registration, but you will (again) need to check for your card.

ZOTAC

Limited Warranty: ZOTAC offers an initial warranty period of 2 years for video cards, but will extend it to 3 years upon registration for mainstream/value GPUs and to your lifetime for enthusiast video cards. Be sure to register your ZOTAC products.

Spotlight: Enthusiast-grade cards are covered for your lifetime. Don't be surprised if the Dark Brotherhood shows up.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Accidental damage.
  • Physical damage.
  • User-inflicted damage.

 

Duration: 2 years, enthusiast video cards have a lifetime warranty with registration.

Warnings: The extended warranty is not granted without registration.


 

warranty-psu

Antec

Limited Warranty: Antec supports their power supplies for 3 years (parts and labor) and the warranties are non-transferrable. The customer needs to prove to be the original purchaser when claiming a warranty repair/replacement. If the PSU fails within 60 days of purchasing it, Antec suggests sending it back to the reseller for warranty replacement. If the reseller doesn't accept the return, Antec will take it up themselves but require an RMA number (call them for this). Antec does not cover shipping and handling charges.

Spotlight: Solid technicians on the phone for troubleshooting and support.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Consequential or incidental damage.
  • Damage to other parts.
  • Misuse.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Antec requires an enclosed description of the problem with the RMA'd items.

Cooler Master

Limited Warranty: Cooler Master offers a 2-5 year warranty for PSUs; gaming-grade PSUs tend to enjoy a 5-year warranty. Cooler Master's PSU warranty is non-transferable. Cooler Master extends their warranty to subsequent replacements and, if the product is replaced within the first 30 days, will add those 30 days to the new one. Cooler Master will pay for your return shipping and handling fees, but you are responsible for initial shipping fees.

Spotlight: 5-year warranty on high-end parts; warranty extension on replacements.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Misuse.
  • Physical damage.
  • Incompatibility issues.
  • Damage to other components.

 

Duration: 2-5 years (UCP & Real Power Pro series are 5 years; Extreme Series is 2 years).

Warnings: Cooler Master has a line under their 'not covered' section that ambiguously states: "Any unsuitable environment or use of the product in Cooler Master's Opinion [is not covered.]" As a skeptic, this line worries me -- though it should hopefully not come down to an argument over whether your house is suitable.

Corsair

Limited Warranty: Corsair by far has one of the most lenient warranties out there; with a period of 3-7 years (Builder, HX, Gaming, and CX models are 3; Enthusiast, TX, and VX Enthusiast series are 5; Professional series is 7) and a solid refund and replacement policy, it's tough to go wrong with the likes of Corsair. If a product in for warranty repair is obsolete or discontinued, Corsair will replace the product with a newer product of equal or greater value. If you'd like a refund, Corsair offers a refund with a 10% reduction for each year you've owned the product. If you bought a PSU last year, you could request a refund and receive 90% of the original price back, and so on. This is awesome for those of us who upgrade more rapidly than components go obsolete.

Spotlight: An awesome refund policy (-10% per year).

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Removal of stickers.
  • Improper operation.
  • Causes not related to defect in materials or workmanship.

 

Duration: 3-7 years.

Warnings: Although Corsair offers a nice refund policy, you'll still have to pay shipping. Keep that in mind! Any products that are lost during transit are not covered, so opt for tracking when possible.

NZXT

Limited Warranty: NZXT actually made a comic for their PSU warranty policy that explains things quite well. We added in NZXT after the initial posting of this guide when they reached out to us, but it's for good reason: The policy is solid, simple, and exactly what you want in a PSU warranty. NZXT pays for shipping both ways via FedEx (you can obtain a free shipping label from their website or support team), and what's more, instead of making you wait for a repair, NZXT offers cross-shipping (you send the product back at the same time they send you a new product, no waiting period) and traditional 3-day shipping as well, depending on the situation. Both are provided free of charge, though cross-shipping requires a credit card number for verification. The 5-year warranty provides coverage for over-voltage, under-voltage, power, current, temperature, and other PSU-killing fluctuations.

Spotlight: Cross-shipping -- the only company we've listed thus far that provides it. Also a 5 year warranty that covers a lot of issues.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Negligence.
  • Misuse.

 

Duration: 5 years.

Warnings: NZXT requests that you send the item back in its original box with all accessories if possible.

OCZ

Limited Warranty: OCZ's PSU warranty initiates at date of purchase and continues on for 1-5 years, depending. Most gaming-grade PSUs will be in the 3-5 range. OCZ pays for return shipping, but the customer is 'required' (get my drift?) to pay the initial shipping costs.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Connection to a faulty power source.
  • Alteration or modification of equipment.
  • Normal wear and tear.
  • User-inflicted damage.

 

Duration: 1, 3, or 5 years.

Warnings: OCZ claims they don't cover "normal wear and tear," which is vague enough to leave escape routes for them. Be careful with your wording when claiming a defect.

PC Power & Cooling

Limited Warranty: PC Power & Cooling has the best consistent warranty duration so far. All gaming-grade PSUs we were able to find were rated for at least 5 years, with many rated for 7 years of coverage. PC Power & Cooling's power supply warranty is almost identical to the others, duration excluded -- they cover manufacturing defects and will attempt to repair before replacing.

Spotlight: 7 years of coverage for high-end PSUs is phenomenal.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Faulty power sources.
  • Negligence or accidents.
  • Other products being damaged.

 

Duration: 5-7 years.

Warnings: PC Power & Cooling's website is scarce; be sure to ask the representative whether you need to include all materials in the return or not.

Rosewill

Limited Warranty: Rosewill's warranty begins upon purchase and lasts, on average, 3-5 years for PSUs. Rosewill will repair physically damaged items for $25 (which isn't bad, really), but they don't guaranty it'll be successful. Rosewill's turn-around time is around 3 weeks for warranty repair/replacement. Rosewill offers credit in some instances, so be sure to ask them about that if interested.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Damage caused by the user.
  • Damage caused by faulty power sources.

 

Duration: 3-5 years.

Warnings: Include all accessories and components when you send the product back, otherwise Rosewill might charge you and replace them as well.

Silver Stone

Limited Warranty: Silver Stone tends to have a shorter warranty, typically landing in the 1-year area, but occasionally venturing into 3-year territory. Information on the warranty policy can be found here, showing that they offer a fairly standard warranty package for PSUs. That said, Silver Stone only offers (at time of writing) 7-day DOA replacement, so you'll have to rely on a trustworthy reseller for better DOA coverage.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Any damage that is not the result of a factory defect. Period.
  • Cross-shipping.


Duration: 1 or 3 years.

Warnings: DOA coverage is lacking; the warranty is fairly short and strict.

Thermaltake

Limited Warranty: Thermaltake warrants that its power supplies will be free of manufacturing defect for 5 years (or 7 years for the Toughpower series) and will repair or replace at their discretion. The warranty is non-transferable. Thermaltake does not honor warranties if the product is purchased from non-authorized sellers (i.e. sold by an Amazon seller that is unauthorized).

Spotlight: 7 years on the ultra-expensive PSUs, but for that much money, it's not much of a bonus.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • "Damage unrelated to manufacturing defects."
  • Unsuitable environments.
  • Shipment damages.
  • Display samples and open-box items.

 

Duration: 5-7 years.

Warnings: The customer pays for shipping to Thermaltake; Thermaltake does not honor warranties if the product was purchased from a non-Thermaltake authorized reseller.

Zalman

Limited Warranty: Zalman's Power Supplies come with a straight-forward 3-year warranty, covering defects in materials and workmanship. Zalman uses new and refurbished parts to fix defective power supplies, but may simply replace the entire unit. Zalman inspects and tests all systems for quality, including replacement parts. Replacements are covered by the remainder of the warranty.

Spotlight: Zalman tests PSUs before they're returned, so you know it should work when you get it.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • User-inflicted damage.
  • Shipping damages.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: No major warnings to speak of.


 

warranty-memory

Corsair

Lifetime Warranty: Corsair's limited warranty is non-transferable to the original purchaser of their product. They will repair or replace the product at no expense to the customer, or refund the customer less 10% of the price paid for every year from the date of purchase. They do, however say that the customer is responsible for shipping fees. As with the PSU warranty, Corsair looks to be one of the most lenient.

Spotlight: The same awesome refund policy as previously mentioned.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Wear and tear associated with customer use.
  • Modification, abuse, taking apart,
  • Removal of labels.
  • Improper voltage.
  • Any other problem not associated with factory defects.

 

Duration: Lifetime

Warnings: Corsair states that they may send you either the same product repaired, or other refurbished product of equal value.

Crucial

Lifetime Warranty: Crucial has a limited lifetime warranty that covers manufacturer's defects, but only to the original owner. They have 45 days to fix or replace the memory, but they do not pay for shipping it to them. They also do not cover acts of nature, so if a grizzly bear attacks you and eats your RAM, you're out of luck.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Misuse.
  • Abuse.
  • Neglect.
  • Alterations.
  • Problems with electrical power.
  • Improper installation.
  • Bears.

 

Duration: Lifetime

Warnings: They state that they will repair, send a replacement or refund you the fair market value of the memory. Crucial does not cover shipping, but I am sure with a little persuasion they will. They state that if your damaged product is due to misuse, they will charge the owner for the repairs. No bear coverage.

GeIL

Lifetime Warranty: GeiL offers a limited lifetime warranty on their memory modules. As long as the part number labels are on them, and they are not damaged due to abuse, they offer replacement. This warranty only applies to the original owner, it is not transferable.

Spotlight: Parts are replaced if everything is in-tact, bypassing the dreadful repair time.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Modules determined to be physically damaged after inspection.
  • Damage due to improper installation by user.
  • Modules that are missing GeiL number labels.
  • Modules that GeiL determines were not manufactured by GeiL. Yeah, don't send them your Kingston product, I guess?

 

Duration: Lifetime.

Warnings: GeiL will contact you within 12 hours of receiving the defective module. They do not pay for shipping, and only offer replacement with a "functioning module." GeiL offers technical inspection of voided warranty modules for a $20 charge.

G.Skill

Lifetime Warranty: G Skill's memory modules all carry a lifetime warranty. If the product returned is no longer in stock, G.Skill reserves the right to replace with an item of equal or greater value. Products returned to G Skill not under warranty or covered by the warranty will be held until payment is received for return shipment, up to one year.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Modules determined to be physically damaged .
  • Damage due to improper installation by user.
  • Acts of Nature, including oxidation.
  • Missing or bent pins.
  • Unauthorized modifications.
  • Damage done to product due to improper shipping.

 

Duration: Lifetime

Warnings: Warranty is effective from the day of manufacture, not purchase. G Skill is not responsible for the loss or recovery of data, loss of profit, or any cost incurred from the testing done by anyone other than authorized G Skill technicians.

Kingston HyperX

Lifetime Warranty: Kingston HyperX is covered by a lifetime. Kingston issues a warranty to the original owner, and is not transferable. Kingston will repair any products that are deemed defective in workmanship or materials. Repaired products or replacement products will be provided by Kingston on a replacement basis.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Improper installation.
  • Accident.
  • Abuse.
  • Misuse.
  • Insufficient or excessive electrical supply.
  • Unauthorized repair, modification or assembly.

 

Duration: Lifetime.

Warnings: If the product cannot be repaired or replaced, Kingston will refund the customer the cost of the product. The total refunded will be either the cost at the time or at the time of purchase, whichever is less.

Mushkin

Lifetime Warranty: Mushkin warrants to the first customer / purchaser a lifetime warranty of memory modules. The product must be returned in the original packaging after obtaining an RMA number through Mushkin. The product will be repaired or exchanged with the most similar product, refurbished or new, at no cost to the customer.

Spotlight: Solid testing of repaired products.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • The product (including its label) has been abused.
  • Damage done from misuse.
  • Repaired or modified memory modules.
  • Improper installation of the memory module.

 

Duration: Lifetime

Warnings: Mushkin states that they always replace the products with equal or greater products. This has been said before, but here it goes into detail about matching timing and speed in the memory, but this may not always be possible. If it is not possible, it does not state as to what the alternative would be.

Patriot

Lifetime Warranty: Patriot Memory offers a lifetime warranty on memory modules, only to the original purchaser. Patriot Memory warrants that all memory modules be free of defect, as caused by manufacturing or the materials. Patriot is not liable for loss or damage done in transit when doing returns.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • If product is missing the Patriot label and/or heat spreaders.
  • Products from unauthorized resellers.
  • Abuse or neglect.
  • Damage done during installation.
  • Damage done to other products due to improper installation.
  • Unauthorized modification.
  • Improper testing.
  • Data loss and/or recovery.
  • Any physical alterations to the module.

 

Duration: Lifetime

Warnings: Patriot Memory will repair or replace the defective product(s) using equipment from various vendors in conjunction with memory repairs. Patriot reserves the right to replace the memory with similar products when exact replacement module is not available.


 

warranty-cpu

This section will (thankfully) be pretty simple. The gaming CPU market is entirely between AMD and Intel at this point, so we'll just list those two companies.

Intel

Limited Warranty: Intel's Limited Warranty on gaming-grade CPUs extends for 3 years and initiates at date of purchase. Intel does not offer warranties on their OEM processors. Intel will require you to present proof of purchase as they do not track purchases.

Intel asks that you troubleshoot the CPU beforehand and try to get a complete description of the issue to help speed up the warranty process.

Intel will repair, replace, or refund defective units. Intel tries to offer more than one option if possible, so if you hear the word 'repair' and want to try and get a refund or replacement instead, just ask and hope for the best.

Spotlight: Intel attempts to offer replacement when possible, but there's no guarantee.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • OEM CPUs.
  • Damage to CPUs caused by the motherboard or PSU.
  • Non-validated hardware use.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Intel doesn't cover OEM CPUs, so if you bought a CPU on the cheap, you may not be covered.

AMD

Limited Warranty: AMD offers limited coverage of their CPUs for an average of 3 years and will attempt to repair the CPU; if it cannot be repaired, they'll replace it with the same CPU when possible.

Like Intel, AMD prefers that you self-troubleshoot before asking for a warranty repair. AMD has technicians available at their support desk (available via phone and other methods) if you require assistance troubleshooting. That said, we're also here for you (just hit our forums and post your question).

Spotlight: AMD has an extensive support system for troubleshooting... then again, so does Intel -- they're both good for warranty purposes.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Chips and cracks.
  • Bent or damaged pins (if applicable).
  • Burnt or heat-damaged CPUs.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: Keep your proof of purchase. If you see any chips on the CPU before installation, take photos for proof that it wasn't your fault.


 

warranty-cooler

Cooler Master

Limited Warranty: Cooler Master's CPU cooler warranty is, on average, 1 year of coverage for mechanical coolers and 2 years for liquid units. Some of their air coolers are advertised under 2 years of coverage on major retailers. Cooler Master prefers that customers send back warranty items in their original packaging. They will attempt to repair a product before replacing it.

Spotlight: Nothing extraordinary to speak of.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • User error.
  • Incompatibilities.
  • Misuse.

 

Duration: 1-2 years.

Warnings: Cooler Master will attempt to repair the product, unlike some of the other companies below, so be aware that the return time may be longer with Cooler Master.

Corsair

Limited Warranty: We've gone over Corsair's warranty a few times now, but let's hit it one last time: Corsair gives 5-year warranty coverage for their liquid coolers -- significantly longer than the competitors listed herein -- and extends a refund policy (-10% per year of ownership) to holders of the warranty.

Spotlight: 5 years is a long time.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Misuse.
  • Filling liquid cooling tubes with lava instead of water.

 

Duration: 5 years.

Warnings: None to speak of.

Noctua

Limited Warranty: Noctua's standard aftermarket CPU heatsink warranty provides coverage for 1 year. Noctua doesn't screw around with repairs (at the time of reading) and will simply send out a replacement part as soon as you confirm you've shipped the original item and they can prove it (or receive it). If you require new mounting and upgrade kits for your CPU heatsink, just call and ask! Noctua says they'll send any compatibility or mounting kits out free-of-charge.

Spotlight: Free mounting/upgrade kits. Instant replacement.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Misuse.
  • Customer-inflicted damage.
  • Melted CPUs.

 

Duration: 1 year.

Warnings: The perks Noctua offers are great, but it's tough to overlook the one mark on their record: A 1 year warranty.

Thermaltake

Limited Warranty: Thermaltake's Newegg warranty listing doesn't match their official website, so keep that in mind when researching parts. According to Thermaltake's site, their general CPU coolers are warranted for 3 years, their Frio Extreme cooler is covered for 10 years, liquid cooling is covered for 1 year, and refurbished products are covered for 90 days.

Spotlight: A great spread of warranty coverage for the high-end products and good refurbished coverage, but be sure to contact Thermaltake if you're curious about anything.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • User-damage.
  • Bent motherboard or CPU pins.

 

Duration: 1 - 10 years; 90 days refurbished.

Warnings: Thermaltake's warranties seem to be explained differently on multiple retailer sites, but the official site is the one to go by (or the packaging on the box, ideally).

Tuniq

Limited Warranty: Tuniq offers a 3 year warranty with some great coverage options: If a product gets returned under warranty within the first year of purchasing, Tuniq will simply replace the product, no repair hassle. You should get it in a timely manner. The warranty is not transferrable.

Spotlight: Instant replacement if failure within one year.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Misuse.
  • Deployment in non-ideal environments.
  • Warranty sticker removed, other physical changes.

 

Duration: 3 years.

Warnings: From what I understand, Tuniq doesn't want additional components or parts returned with the heatsink. Contact them and ask if they'd like your accessories prior to warranty return.

Zalman

Limited Warranty: Zalman offers a 1-year warranty on most (if not all) of their aftermarket CPU heatsinks and cooling units. Zalman thoroughly tests all returned and repaired products prior to fixing or sending them back, so you'll know for sure it works when you receive it (or in the least, that it worked when it left the factory).

Spotlight: Solid testing.

The Warranty Does Not Cover:

  • Any service not authorized by Zalman.
  • Usage not matching instructions.

 

Duration: 1 year.

Warnings: Don't lose that receipt.


 

Tips to Not Getting Screwed

We're not saying everyone's out to get you... but they are. They're spying on what you're reading right now. They're behind you -- QUICK! Turn around! -- and they're in your head, man. In all seriousness, a great many of the companies that we work with have phenomenal assistance and staff, but not everyone's going to work with you on a daily basis. Sometimes it just doesn't go well with warranties - there's a lot of blame that gets thrown around. This quick list should help ensure you're protected in the event a manufacturer is not cooperative.

Take photos!

This should be done constantly. Storage is cheap and cameras are easily accessible, so there are few excuses left for not taking photos. If you're ultra paranoid, time stamp them (physically). Take photos of the part(s) when initially opened, then take more if it has to go back. Take photos of the box it's packed in, the packing job, and any other relevant angles. If a component gets damaged in shipping, you can use your photos to make a claim with the shipping outlet that was used.

If you're working with a motherboard, be sure to take a close/zoomed photo of any socket pins (also applies to CPUs that still have pins, though they are rare) as some boards can shipped with bent pins, and as we covered on the motherboard page, bent pins are almost never covered under warranty if you can't prove that it wasn't you who bent them.

Track packages!

None of these companies take responsibility if your product gets lost or stolen in transit. When sending expensive items, it's always wise to get them tracked and/or insured (if valuable enough) by the shipping outlet. Tracking packages will also help prove incompetence of poor vendors to your credit card company, if it comes down to it.

Keep the Box, damn it!

Don't throw hardware boxes out if you're still using the hardware. You'll want those for spec-checking and warranty information (and warranty viability, in some cases). If you decide to get rid of boxes and packing materials, please do so responsibly.

Give as little information as possible!

This is a big one. The person on the phone that's helping you with your warranty is going to ask what the problem is, type it in a support ticket, and give you an RMA number. Provide as little information as possible -- the guy on the phone might not care, but someone else may corner you into admitting fault, so it's always good to go in preparing to fight if necessary.

Be vague, but pinpoint the issue when possible. If you suspect the video card has catastrophically failed or is generally "not working," make it simple: "My system doesn't boot when your video card is in. I ran through basic troubleshooting and was able to pinpoint the video card," then either tell them that it was DOA or simply stopped working one day, but you're not sure why. Simple.

Simply Ask for Free Shipping!

Although very few of these companies will pay for shipping both ways (and some don't pay at all), it's normally possible to get the shipping costs covered if you feel like you've been significantly hindered by the damage. Don't be a dick (more on this in a moment), but if you feel wronged, you should calmly state why this is and ask that, "because you like them and would like to keep using them in the future," shipping be paid for by the company.

For instance: I purchased a refurbished laptop on Newegg. Upon opening it -- I hope you're not eating anything -- crumbs, hair, dandruff, and pubic hair fell out of the system and onto my table. I was not pleased. After explaining the situation and laughing about it with the phone support person, we were able to reach a resolution where I did not pay for any fees. I had my replacement in 4 days.

If all else fails... threaten a chargeback or speak with a superior

This should only be done if you feel like you've already been screwed or otherwise have a serious feeling of discontent toward the company. If no other resolution can be reached, keep in mind that credit card companies and electronic payment processors often have extensive measures to get your money back (and long arms to do it with), so threatening a chargeback for lack of merchantability is something that can be done.

Don't be a dick.

As mentioned above, and by Wil Wheaton on several occasions, it's just not cool to be mean. The person on the phone is just doing a job and wants no trouble. If you're nice, helpful, and understanding to them, they'll probably be just as nice to you. Their kindness will go a long way toward minimizing the end cost of your warranty replacement or repair.

The people that deserve rudeness are not the ones answering phones.


 

RMA / Warranty Links

Antec Antec's Warranty
AMD AMD's Warranty
ASRock ASRock's Warranty
ASUS ASUS' Warranty
Biostar Biostar's Warranty
Cooler Master Cooler Master's Warranty
Corsair Corsair's Warranty
Crucial Crucial's Warranty
ECS EliteGroup's Warranty
EVGA EVGA's Warranty
Foxconn Foxconn's Warranty
GeIL GeIL's Warranty
Gigabyte Gigabyte's Warranty
G.Skill G.Skill's Warranty
Intel Intel's Warranty
Kingston HyperX Kingston's Warranty
Noctua Noctua's Warranty
NZXT NZXT's Warranty
Mushkin Mushkin's Warranty
MSI MSI's Warranty
OCZ OCZ's Warranty
Patriot Patriot's Warranty
PC Power & Cooling PCP&C Warranty
Rosewill Rosewill's Warranty
SAPPHIRE Sapphire's Warranty
Silver Stone Silver Stone's Warranty
Thermaltake Thermaltake's Warranty
Tuniq Tuniq's Warranty
XFX XFX's Warranty
Zalman Zalman's Warranty
ZOTAC Zotac's Warranty

 

Conclusion

This guide has been pretty damn long, but its intended use was primarily as an as-needed reference manual. If there's something we missed or if you have any questions at all, please comment below or post on our forums to get them resolved. That's what we're here for!

Whew.

-Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke, assistance from Michael "Mik" Mann.

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 12:57

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