PC Hardware Warranty Comparison Guide

Written by  Tuesday, 08 May 2012 15:03
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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


Last modified on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 12:57

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