Why Do Laptop Manufacturers Use Inferior Quality Hard Drives?

A lot of people still labor under the delusion that laptops don't crash. Maybe that's because once upon a time, laptops were less likely than desktop computers to crash in the first few years. But in recent years, later models of laptops from the large manufacturers have been prone to early hard drive failure.

The truth is, though computer systems have advanced by leaps and bounds in the past decade, hard drives are largely of the same quality they were ten years ago. In essence, yesterday's hard drives are being asked to operate under today's complex conditions. And it's causing problems.

Most laptops made today feature hard drives made by Samsung, Fujitsu, and Hitachi. The trouble is, the drives these manufacturers are putting out are not the best quality ?? and certainly are not the quality of a Seagate or (especially) a Western Digital hard drive, both of which are top of the line.

And these manufacturers are aware of the situation. According to a $50 million 2002 California court case reported by The Register, a British online tech journal, Fujitsu admitted that there were major problems with its MPG3xxx series of drives. These drives used Cirrus chips that were acknowledged to be laden with potential problems. The MPGs were fixed, but the general quality of mass-produced hard drives among the major manufacturers has gotten little better.

So why are computer manufacturers using lesser-quality hard drives when better hard drives exist? One word: Contracts. Computer manufacturers have contracts with hard drive makers, which are in turn pumping out 100 to 1,000 batches of hard drives a day. And with no push to improve quality, the Big Three hard drive makers are more concerned with meeting quantity.

The fall-off in performance, however, has been noted by manufacturers. Ten years ago, it was common to get a five-year warrantee on the hard drive that came with a computer you bought. In most cases today, those warrantees are down to two or three years at most. Each hard drive manufacturer gives different warrantees (often for the same product in different computers), and computer manufacturers do not tell you which hard drive you're getting when you buy a new machine ? merely the size of your hard drive.

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