MTBF MTTF and Your Product Warranty


Have it ever happened to you, that your electronic device fails right after the Service Warranty period is over, and you wished you had extended the Warranty when you had the option?

It happened to my trusty old iPhone® 4 when my Home Button became unresponsive, and that was when I realised that the one year warranty period just expired. I did not get AppleCare®for my iPhone – Yes, there is actually AppleCare for iPhone iPad®  and almost everything from Apple® !

Most electronic devices have a reported Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) or Mean Time To Failure (MTTF).

MTBF is the predicted time between inherent failures of a device during operation. In some cases, MTTF is used instead, where the device is replaced (if it is under service warranty) after a valid failure is verified, since MTBF denotes the time between failures in the device which is repaired.

When a computer fails, other than software corruption, there is usually a high chance that it is due to Hard Drive failures, and if we look at MTBF ratings for Hard drives, it range from 500,000 hours for consumer drives to 1.5 million hours for Enterprise / Server class ones.

Wow! 500,000 hours is 57 years, and 1.5 million hours is more than 171 years! Do you expect the Hard Drive to outlive a Human being?

Manufacturers will most likely not (in their right mind) test a Hard Drive for more than half a century to give this result, thus MTBF are usually used in conjunction with the useful service life of the device. ie. if the MTBF of a Hard Drive is 500,000 hours and the service life is 5 years, it means that this Hard Drive model will last for 5 years, and on average, this model of Hard Drive will accumulated a total running time of 500,000 hours amongst all these drives, before one fails.

Most consumers look at the MTBF as an indication of useful life of the device, but in fact, it is interpreted wrongly. It is the MEAN time BETWEEN a failure. A MTBF of one million hours means that, if you operate the device within its service life, you will get an average of one failure every million hours. ie. if the service life of the device is 5 years (ie. 43,800 Hours). and with a MTBF rating of 1 million hours, there will be a 4.38% chance that the device will fail during its service life.

But how do we look at it, if the manufacturer gives a Lifetime Warranty? We would need to look at the fine prints about their liabilities, our legal rights and other circumstances that causes the device to be faulty.

Nothing lasts forever, not even our favourite source of energy; the Sun will die off some day.

However, we could be protected from device failures if it is within the Warranty period. For some devices, we have the option to extend these Warranties too. It is like Life Insurance ~ You never know when you will need it, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. It might be too late to start tomorrow, so Start Today.

Starting today, 30 March 2012, DELL™ expanded their services Warranty Options for purchase at retail outlets with the New Dell Service Card in Singapore.

Consumers in Singapore now get to enjoy the convenience of extending their warranty on Dell Systems at authorised retail stores nationwide. Dell’s pre-packaged Dell Service Card for retail offers the owners of any Inspirion, XPS or Alienware products a wide variety of warranty upgrade options for up to 3 years.

The type of services that can be upgraded include In-Home/On-site Services and Premier Service. The warranty upgrade cost ranges from S$65 to S$278, depending on the type of services purchased.

Check Out Dell Direct Stores in Singapore Suntec City / Funan

The Dell Service Cards can be purchased for all upcoming and existing Dell Inspirion, XPS, and Alienware® systems at Dell Direct Stores or Dell authorised retail outlets at any time, before the expiration of the standard first year warranty that come with these systems.

You can find out More from these links:

Apple®, AppleCare®, iPhone® and iPad® are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Dell™ is a registered trademarks of Dell Inc.
Alienware® is a registered trademark of Alienware Corporation
All other trademarks mentioned in the article belong to their respective owners and the brand names are mentioned for identification purposes only. is an independent website and  is not sponsored by Apple Inc. or Dell Inc.



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MTBF MTTF and Your Product Warranty — 6 Comments

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