In the ever fast moving landscape of computer hardware the IBM Deskstar 75GXP series is an old dog now. But it will go down in history as a series of harddrives that were the fastest of their era, that were readily available from almost any computer hardware store and that sold at very competitive prices. Those are the positive points in a nutshell. However as there are always two sides to everything these very fast harddrives had to pay a toll for their speed. This series is for certain people renowned for its spectacular failure rate. I've had two models of the series : one of 20 Gigabytes capacity and shortly after that I had the not so brilliant idea of buying another one of 45 Gigabytes capacity. The 20gig disk broke down just after I had bought its bigger brother: it started making some weird scratching noises from its heads and the moment I wanted to examine it with IBM's own Drive Fitness Test (DFT) tool - downloadable from the IBM-site - the drive died instantly taking my almost 20 gigabytes worth of data with it in its grave. IBM's warranty policy is very simple : on their website you have the possibility to check through serial and product number if the harddrive is still under warranty. If so, an RMA number is issued and you then send the disk off (at your own expense) to their nearest service center. These centers are also indicated on the site. Howeveryou are supposed to analyse/repair the faults first yourself with the forementionned DFT, and have to communicate the result of the test to IBM. Only a few days after sending off the 20gig harddrive I received a replacement which to my knowledge still works in a PC I sold to a friend. However, some time after that my 45gig drive also started making the frightening scratching noises. The DFT showed the drive to have developped bad sectors (damaged spots in the surface of the drive platters). There I was still able to recover all data and transferring it to
a Western Digital drive I bought in a hurry. The same procedure followed as for its litle brother and just yesterday the replacement 45gig drive started making the same - now familiar - scratching sound too. So that's the third drive of the same series on the four I saw that breaks down. I therefore quickly surfed to the Hitachi site (IBM has now sold off or transferred all the harddrive manufacturing to Hitachi) and downloaded the latest version of the DFT. http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm However this time the DFT was, after several tries, able to isolate and repair the errors (bad sectors) so that the drive is back into working order again. For how long I do not know. In the meantime IBM and now Hitachi moved on to the 120GXP and 160 GXP series. It seems these later series are more reliable but as I am currently in the market for a large capacity (80-120gig) drive I think I won't take any chances and will take my business elsewhere. What also makes me pause to think is the fact that the hardware sites I visited and the magazines I read at the time all spoke highly of the DeskStar series. This because all of them focused purely on the performance qualities of this product. Of course none of them bothered to do a duration test and I'm sure that if they had the DeskStar would have fared rather badly. So judging from my experience I'm sure you will excuse me for nicknaming these products either Scratchstar, Darkstar or even Deathstar. In IBM's defense I can say that they are not the only harddrive manufacturers which had some misfortune, I personally saw in a company almost an entire line of Fujitsu drives being replaced under warranty when it became clear to the computer manufacturer (Fujitsu-Siemens) that the harddisk series had some serious reliability problems. The most important lesson we all can learn from this is that although your harddrive can still be
under warranty and will thus be replaced it will only be the device and NEVER your valuable data. So backup your data NOW before it is too late ! Cheers, Vik
The deskstar drive units have had a bad press, there's no doubt abut that. One friend recently described them as deathstar drives because his experience has been so bad. My experience has been as far removed as I could have hoped for. The drive, given it's price, is exceptionally good value for money. The size to £ ratio is very good indeed. The speed of the drive has been more than adequate, with average seek times producing admirable real-world results for my most common use, video editing. My own drive has been heavily partitioned to make effective use of the unit without dealing with the usual waste of space, something I'd highly recommend doing, especially for video editing. One thing that's starting to concern me... which might prompt for update on this drive down the line is the odd clicking and whirring noises it makes. Not that they happen often, just every few days and for only a few seconds. But they've scared the heck out of people who've never heard them before thinking they've caused things to blow up. Immediate verdict is good, in the long term I might be taking advatnge of IBMs superb warranty on the deskstar drives. Who knows!?!
I've only had the hard drive a month and have only 5GB loaded but my first opinion is how noisy it is. It almost talks! It whines and grunts like an old man! It's all a bit scary and makes me wonder if I have a duffer. I bought the drive from Micro Direct, Manchester, UK, because my other drive went on the blink. The specification was excellent for the price. Transferring stuff from the old drive was OK and I loading Windows XP with no problems.
I have bought 4 75GXP drives all of the 60 GB variety. Initially I bought two to connect to a RAID system but one failed after only 5 months. Just as well I had my RAID set to mirror otherwise all would have been lost. I have in excess of 25 GB of MP3 files which have taken years to collect hence my need for reliable storage. I then contacted the suppliers of my drives and asked about replacement. I was told it would take at least 6 weeks as they had to go back to IBM. Given the importance of backup I bought a third drive whilst the 1st was being checked by IBM. Guess what 6 weeks later a second drive failed. BY this time I received back a drive from IBM. This was a second hand drive that had been returned by another customer under warranty. I know this because I was able to unerase the data on the drive and the former user was from Germany. This drive failed after only 4 weeks. The second drive to fail was also replaced by a second hand drive. This also is making ominous noises. In fairness when they work they are fast and very quiet but the uncertainty about when they will fail has left me very unimpressed. Of the 4 purchased 2 are new and working fine 1 is broken and I can't be bothered to send it back as I know they will send me another dodgy 2nd hand drive and the final one is noisy and I am sure would fail if it were used as a RAID drive. My advice therefore is to look elsewhere. When I upgrade my system shortly I shall buy 2 120GB drives from another supplier but I shall research carefully first.
Hard drives go bigger and faster and you would hope get more reliable as better manufacturing techniques come into place. IBM have built up a reputation over the last 2-3 years for making fast and very reliable hard drives so this reputation should put them right at the top of your list in the event of you needing more storage space. My personal experiences with "Deep Blue" go back approx 5 years when i was the proud owner of a 3.4 drive. I was amazed at the speed increase over my old western digital drive and it served me very well until i sold it on to a friend. The drive is still going strong to this day with not a hint of trouble. My next IBM's came in the shape of two 13.6 7200rpm drives , samne story to report as they where faster again over the 3.4 offering and i also noticed a nice drop in the decibel level . Used as single drives they worked fine and they have run on a ide raid card for the past 12 months with a good increase in speed. So the picture looks good , 3 drives all work great and not one single hint of possible problems. Enter the 75gxp , nice drive ,fast speeds and nice and quite, infact i thought the drive was doa at first as i did not sound like it was turning!. Three months pass and then a hoorible knocking sound errupted from the pc!!. I had dreaded this as i had begun to see several reports of this drive failing. The pc was switched off and that is the last act the drive ever committed due to it refusing to power up again. Thankfully i bought this drive from a friend of mine who is a dealer and on taking it back to him the horrible failure rate became all to apparent as he had approx a dozen dead IBM's on his desk readfy to go back under warranty. Things did not improve , it was not just a bad batch that had problems and a search on the internet and various computer sites will confirm that this drive is a dodo if ever there was. I am now running a Maxtor 740x and find that it is upto speed with the 75gxp if a little noisier. IBM have a lot of hard work to do to get back the reputation they once had as i believe they had similar problems with another dirve 60gxp ? My adivce ? go with Maxtor or give IBM's new drive the 120 6 months before you part with your money.
Here’s a joke for you, what comes in pairs, is square, black, round and makes strange clicking noises. My rather non-functional pair of 30 gigabyte (1024 megabytes if you’re buying, 1000 megabytes if you’re selling) IBM hard drives which are, or rather were, in a RAID array (RAID 101 – join two disks together and get twice the speed and capacity, although that’s a very simple definition) that in itself wasn’t working to well (But that’s another story). But I’m getting ahead of myself, I first got these drives last November (Indeed it was the first thing my writing bought for me), when life became to cramped on my 17gig Fujitsu drive that came with my computer. A brief bit of calculator work informed me that I could get two 30gig drives and a RAID card for the same price as a 60gig drive by itself. So, all duly purchased I whacked it all in and was completely unimpressed by RAID performance, and indeed reliability. A brief trip round the web later I realised the RAID controller can have problems working with my Sound Blaster Live so I told the card to work in span mode which works a bit like sticky tape in that one drive follows on from the other (twice the capacity but the same speed). And that is how my drives worked up until last Friday and work well they did. Flawless right up until sudden hard drive death syndrome. At first I didn’t realise that my RAID card was under performing, such was the native performance of the drives – it wasn’t until I compared benchmarks with reviews of my RAID card I realised something was up. In fact, SPAN and RAID modes produced pretty much the same performance! These drives were no slouch and yet they did it quieter than my old drive, both in terms of spinning (The high pitched whine you only tend to hear if you have expensive quiet fans) and head noise (The clicking noise you get when the disk is reading/writing) which I really like
d as I have a thing about noisy computer. Going all techy for a moment, the specs for the 75gxp series of drives are as follows… ATA100 interface that’s backwards compatible 2mb onboard data cache 7200RPM disc speed (My old drive was 5400RPM and still manages to be noisier) 8.5ms access time (on average) I bought my brace of drives on the basis of many positive reviews, especially the one on Toms Hardware, which makes what happened last Friday all the more inexplicable. It was the end of the day before my computer was due to be taken to bits and rebuilt with faster and quieter components. Myself and a friend (coxy123) had been messing around trying to sort out a niggling problem in his computer as well a fit a new hard drive (I told him IBM’s were reliable and he bought one!). Problem sorted he plugged his computer into mine and copied some files off that he had backed up to my computer when he ran out of space. The first sign of trouble was when one of the files failed to copy with a rather ominous “Device read error”, however as my drives had behaved faultlessly for months I wrote it off as a dodgy file to begin with. However shortly after I had to reboot my computer for some reason (Probably because windows 98 is a bit poo). Instead of watching my computer boot I was confronted with a rather scary error message from the RAID card along the lines of Hard Drive Failed. Now I had seen this a month or so earlier when it was in fact a “Mark you’ve knocked the cable out” error, only this time all the cables were in. I recreated the RAID array in the RAID card bios and it stopped moaning, although the process did blank the drives (Not a problem as I was planning to do that the next day anyway and what little important data was kept on them had been backed up that morning). But when I tried to fdisk (Create partitions) I was confronted by a strange c
licking sound that could be used by an inventive skiffle group. OK I thought, maybe one of the drives is faulty. I began a process of trying different drives with different cables on different controllers (The motherboard and the RAID card) and came to the sad conclusion that they were both faulty. One drive wouldn’t partition without making sick noises while the other wouldn’t format (The final step before the drive is usable) without making the noises. Naturally I was somewhat less than happy! Although their timing was good, a few hours after I backup yet just before I pretty much build a new computer from scratch – if they had failed then it may have taken ages to determine what the problem was. So now I’m in the process of getting them replaced, IBM seem happy to do it themselves but want me to ship them to Holland which would cost me in the order of £40 – the drives were £100 each!! Meanwhile, Simply who I bought if off seem to have moved to the town of Incognito – I shall phone them tomorrow and quote bits of the sale of goods act at them, a tactic which has proved effective in the past! I don’t know what they will be replaced with though, IBM now make the 60gxp which despite having a lower number is actually slightly better, having a maximum transfer rate 3mb/sec or so faster. Maximum is of course theoretical only. To be honest I wouldn’t mind if I got two 75gxp drives back as I’m sure I’ve just been very unlucky. That doesn’t mean I’m happy though. http://www.storage.ibm.com/hdd/desk/ds75gxp.htm
This hard drive is quick! I bought it a little while ago, whilst looking for a HD around the 30GB area. I bought this drive OEM from Dabs and so cannot comment on its retail packaging. When I bought this drive, about 1 year ago it was brand new and was only available as a 30GB or 60Gb drive, however it has since branched out a bit more and is now available as a 76GB drive as well. Recently, other HD manufacturers have released dives which can beat the cost per pound of this drive, however at the time it was the cheapest available. On to its specs. Well it has the usual “Big drive” 2MB buffer it also has a spindle spin speed of 7200RPM, this makes a lot of difference for HD intensive work, such as playing games or ripping music or compiling Movies etc, you get the idea! It also has a UDMA100 interface. If you have an older motherboard that only supports UDMA66 then it will work fine on your board however you will not be getting the best performance out of the drive and I would suggest that you either got a new motherboard OR bought yourself a PCI UDMA100 controller card, these can be found quite easily by looking through magazines such as “MicoMart.” And can be purchased for around £45. This drives other good features include it being very quite in operation, so much so that I often have to actually check my HD activity LED to make sure that its actually doing something. In fact, IBM has a tool which will allow you to make the drive even quieter this comes at the expense of speed however and speed is the name of the game with this drive. In a recent magazine review I read it actually outperformed most of the 10,00 RPM SCSI drives they had on test, no mean feat for an IDE drive. For those of you interested in benchmark scores, I managed to get a Sisoft Sandra Pro 2001 score of 24,967 out of it, now that aint slow! Its worth remembering when you buy a hard drive that the actual data size isn’t going to be the sam
e a the formatted data size. As far as I can tell, most format down in the same way as this drive did, it went from an “official” size of 30.7Gb to a formatted size of 28.9GB. Still not small. You may have guessed by now but I thoroughly recommend this drive as an alternative to going SCSI or just as one of the fastest IDE HD’s money can buy, even if now there is a little bit more of that money involved!
This drive is superb. Period. The HD is very quiet and very fast. IBM support is very good as well. You can even download a Drive Fitness software to test whether the HD is working as it should. So far, I have had no problems with this drive. Note that these drives are ATA-100 compatible. So, if you want to use it with you ATA-66 IDE controller, you'll need to download a program from IBM's website to change the mode to ATA-66. If you are looking for a reliable, very fast and quiet HD, I cannot recommend this drive enough!
This is one fast peice of kit.After installing i loaded windows 98 which took only 16 minutes from start to finish.Programs open without hesitation and its so quiet! Anyone looking to upgrade go for this, i guarantee you will not be dissapointed, just so happy you read my opinion. I did benchmark it on Norton Utilities straight away to see it go right of the scale.My previous Maxtor 4.3gb marked at 4, the fastest Norton shows is 8, this thing benchmarked at 45. Its definately worth paying that little extra for the quality,speed, and quietness. Just go for it!!!!
IBM in my eyes is the best makers of hard drive, they are built to a very high standard, and the Deskstar 75GXP is one of them I bought it in the 75GB model at a good price. It is a very fast drive with so good specs to its name. It has an Average seek rate or 8.5msec and a rotational speed of 7200rpm. It has an interface using EIDE (ATA-100) and its size is 101.6x146x25.4mm. It also comes with a nice warranty of 3 years. It also has easy install instructions with the drive and a ribbon cable. IBM have a very good reputation for being reliable so if your looking for a fast cheep reliable hard drive for a server or desktop then this hard disk or any of IBM’s hard drive is a good choice
After using this drive you will never want to change it for another manifactures model. Fast efficant and very quite makes this high capacity drive well worth it's cost. Installation of the drive was very easy indeed with no problems in setting the drive up from the installion disk supplied from the IBM web site . But make sure that you take full advantage of the drive by using the correct IDE cable and better still a motherboard that runs at ATE 100 speed .
I bought the IBM Deskstar 46Gb version of this disk when looking for a new hard disk of about 30Gb+ to go in my AMD450Mhz PC. I went with this one because it had good specs (7200 RPM Spin speed, 2Mb cache, long warranty, 45Gb data, ATA100, etc). After installing it on my UDMA33 Motherboard (upgrade was due soon) I presumed it would make copying files and so on a bit faster even though the Mobo was limited to UDMA33. The reality of this was it made me wonder if an the Mobo & CPU upgrade was necessary, the performance improvement was astounding. It was as good as upgrading the CPU. Loading applications like MSWord seemed instantanious compared to previously waiting 5-10 seconds. Now I have upgraded my system, and the disk is working at full spec - it's lightening. Never been a fan of IBM, but when it comes to hard disks they can't be beaten.
Gamers tend to think of hard drives in terms of capacity- no suprising considering todays' games occupy more space than Vanessa Feltz's ar*e. I blanched when I realised Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 packed a full gigabyte on my ioncreasingly decreasing hard drive. Picking the best hard drive is a difficult choice given the array of options. In the old days, you'd pick a drive with a large memory cache, fast rotational speed (5400 RPM or above) and a decent seek time. In practice it's not that simple. Quantum has made a song and dance about how unimportant rotational speed is in day to day use, and there are other factors to take into account such as reliability and temperature. Modern drives run very hot and, in my experience, they don't last anywhere near as long as older drives which are cooler and les mechanically intensive. After deep thought, I picked out the IBM Deskstar 75GXP in 30Gb capacity. It's a 7200 RPM beast, supports ATA 100 (so it fits nicely into the ABIT KT-7 RAID motherboard), and has an excellent 8.5ms seek time. Sorry a woman's just won a million quid on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire... Where was I? Oh yes, hard drives. Couple this performance with the fact that the IBM drives are well known for reliability - I've had a few that have outlived many others - and it's a winner.