Product Type: IBM hard disk drives
Newest Review: ... with the forementionned DFT, and have to communicate the result of the test to IBM. Only a few days after sending off the 20gig hard... more
Hope the 120GXP and 160GXP are better
IBM Deskstar 75GXP 30 GB
Member Name: isvikthere
IBM Deskstar 75GXP 30 GB
Date: 22/08/03, updated on 28/08/03 (335 review reads)
Advantages: Fastest drives of their era, Readily available, affordable
Disadvantages: Some are unreliable, Return service not completely free, Warranty doesn't replace lost data
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.
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 !
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