We suggested last week that if you're planning to buy a computer, you might want to wait about six months, due to an expected hard drive shortage caused by the floods in Thailand.
Well, now it seems that right now might be a good time to buy, after all, if extended warranties are important to you. Several news outlets are reporting that two major hard drive manufacturers, Seagate and Western Digital, are cutting their warranties from up to five years to about one year.
As The Verge points out, this isn't the first time this has happened. It happened about ten years ago, and the warranty periods have crept back up. Neowin explains that external hard drives (such as thumb drives) will not be affected by the change.
Honestly, this isn't as big of a problem has it sounds like for most people. Five years is a really long time for a computer in today's world. I'm doing really very well to get mine to last three or four years, and most of the problems that happen after the first year are from damage, not defect. Yes, uber-techies (people who know a lot about computers sometimes make a game out of seeing how long they can get their hard drives to last, but know how to fix the common problems that most of us do not. Besides, the first thing uber-techies do when they get a new computer is start reconfiguring their hard drives, which voids any warranty, anyway.
Still, this is something to consider. If you feel better about having that warranty as a back-up, purchasing that computer before the end of the year might be a good idea.