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Data Storage IBM Hardware

More on IBM 75GXP Drive Fiasco 371

Posted by michael
from the quality-control-is-priority-one dept.
FolkImplosion writes "Internal documents have been released suggesting that IBM was well-aware that its click-of-death 75GXP hard drives had a failure rate of as much as 10 times that of its competitors. IBM apparently sold drives it knew were faulty into distribution, and reportedly planned to deal with any issues with marketing spin rather than a fixing the problem. This new information should help bolster a class action suit that accuses IBM knowingly shipped defective 75GXP drives with abnormally high failure rates." The lawfirm pursuing the class action suit has a page of information, including the latest news report (pdf) on information coming out in the suits. See also our original story about the drive failures.
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More on IBM 75GXP Drive Fiasco

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  • Reputation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by radionotme (742163) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:00AM (#8314702)
    This can't do IBM's reputation much good - fortunately for them the damage should be minimised since they no longer sell hard disks directly (so little loss of business)
    • by yobbo (324595) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:16AM (#8314795)
      But don't we all love them now because they support linux?

      Ah, this gets so confusing.
      • Re:Reputation (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Flywheel (23961)
        No - we fear them!
        We know that IBM is capable of turning against strategic platforms overnight - they have done so in the past.
        We are glad they're here, due to their ability to stabilize the world. But we love their technology (Primarily Designs and Fab's) - but we do not love IBM - we fear them!
        • Re:Reputation (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tedgyz (515156)
          To put it another way, "The enemy of my enemy [MS] is my friend."

          And, yes, I have RMA'ed 2 deathstars. I have a 60GXP waiting to be RMA'ed.
        • Re:Reputation (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rolo Tomasi (538414)
          So they're like the U.S. of the IT world. Which country would SCO be then ... I leave that to your imagination.
      • IBM is big (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:02PM (#8316897) Journal
        IBM is a huge company. The people making hard drives probably have very little to do with the people making Linux other than the same style of standardized HR forms. IBM in particular seems to operate divisions with a good deal of modularity, from what I've heard from people working there.
    • Re:Reputation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ob1knob777 (700881) <gothdudeNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:21AM (#8314830) Homepage
      I wonder if this was why they sold the hard disk business off to Hitachi in the first place. Maybe they knew about the high failure rate and wanted to wash their hands of the whole mess before it got too bad?
  • Never a problem (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:00AM (#8314708)
    I've had one of these babies in my Dell 4100 for
    years and never a problem. There was a firmware
    update released ages ago.
    • Re:Never a problem (Score:2, Insightful)

      by _Pablo (126574)
      What is the point in posting that you have no problems?

      IBM admit that the failure rate was a maximum of 6.5% - so you are one of the 93.5%, big deal. If everyone of those 93.5% who read these comments respond like you did, then it's going to be a hell of a big pointless thread!
  • by Artifex (18308) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:02AM (#8314717) Journal
    Any comments from pactical experience as to the quality of the drives after Hitachi bought the division and started selling them under its own name? I currently have one of the 160GB, and I bought it at Fry's back in January.
    • I have 3 of the 3-year warranty 120GB/8MB models and 1 has failed within a year. Hitachi apparently doesn't do advance-replace so I bought a new drive to replace the failed one (they are in raid5) and shipped the failed one back. When I get a replacement I guess I'll have a 4-drive array. :) I think these drives are pretty good though, and a 3-year warranty makes me feel better.
      • by Warpedcow (180300) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:27AM (#8314860) Homepage Journal
        I'm in a similar situation - I have 4 of the 3-yr-warranty 180GB/8MB models in a RAID 5 array (with the addonics scsi to ide adapters). I've had them for about 8 months now, no problems. I also have an older IBM 120GB drive that still works fine. My parents and sister have had 40GB and 80GB IBM drives with no problems for years, except when I dug around in my parents system and when I put it back together, their 40GB seems to have some really bad sectors... I was able to recover most of the data off the drive though... I blame this incident on myself and not IBM (since it failed right after I dickered around with it).

        Also, I should note that my RAID 5 of the 180GBs gets VERY heavy use.

        I wonder if drive temp has anything to do with these problems? My 180GBs and 120GB are right next to two case fans, they stay really cool...

        Cheers,
        Dave

        • by 13Echo (209846) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:34AM (#8314904) Homepage Journal
          I've purchased at least 6 of the 60GXP line. I've had a single failed drive in the past three years. I still need to RMA that thing, but I've just been lazy about it.

          I'm not sure that the 60GXP fall victim to the same failured that the 75GXP did. It seems to be that when IBM went to the 20GB platter sizes, and redisigned their drives, things got better.

          I have in the past had data corruptions on one or two occasions. I'm pretty sure that this was from my Highpoint RAID controller though. After I stopped using it, I never had another problem with the drive.

          I still can't help but believe that this is why IBM sold off the mechanical storage division to Hitachi. IBM claimed that they were going to work on some newer types of storage, but we've seen very little so far.
        • Actually, temperature was an issue. If my memory is working right, the issue with the 75GXP disks was in the thermal compensation... that is, they incorrectly compensate for thermal expansion of the platters through r/w head positioning. It seems like this is actually one of the most common problems with 2.5" disks too... I've had many of those fail, and I can read from them for a few minutes until they get warm... Nothing like trying to recover the CEO's laptop using only 'dd' :)
          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:30AM (#8315290)
            There are multiple issues:

            1) Temperature is a big one. At higher temperatures, the lubricant between the platter and the heads thins out so much that the hydrostatic wedge is no longer thick enough to protect against surface irregularities - causing oxide to flake off and pile up on the head. The new firmware upgrade causes the head to wiggle slightly from track to track while idling, thus preventing the loss of lubricant wedge.

            2) Compensation for thermal expansion - this is another firmware issue.

            3) Quality of the power supply. I've never had a problem with beefy name-brand ATX PSUs. Delta Electronics is good, Antec is OK.

            4) The quality of the IDE connector and the molex power supply connector is poor. If you tweak the cables a bit, you risk a loose connection.

            5) Overlooked, but may well be the main cause - the solder bumps on the PCB that make contact with the head electronics in the drive. The quality of the solder is critically dependent on its composition. It needs to be soft enough to maintain contact even after vibrations, thermal cycling, etc. If it's brittle (which happens in high-tin variants), the bumps no longer make contact after a while, causing sporadic failures.
            You will often see one head drop out on multi-platter drives, while it happens less frequently on single-platter drives.

            The fix for this is to unscrew and refasten the PCB, or even better, use a fine-tipped soldering iron to re-melt the bumps before refastening.
        • by Ween (13381) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:57AM (#8315053)
          "except when I dug around in my parents system and when I put it back together, their 40GB seems to have some really bad sectors"

          did you send the sectors to time out?
    • Here at work use IBM through and through. Not many problems with any Think Centres but some batches of them come with Western Digital drives inside. We replace faulty drives with Maxtor drives and have had the best results with them, although there are some that are very noisy (but haven't and won't die). Loads vary due to segment: either workstation (client server and word, no big stress) or student workstation (they've seen the worst).

      Personally, I have had horrid luck with the Western Digital JB (i.e. s

    • by Baron of Greymatter (156831) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:28AM (#8314870)
      I don't know about the desktop drives, but my employer uses the Travelstar 20 and 40 Gb laptop drives. Our manufacturer in Korea used them because they were manufactured there and there was no import duty on them.

      I should say "used to use" them. About 30% of those drives died by the time our customers received the product they were installed into (voicemail systems - 24/7/365 uptime required). Now our customers are pissed and threatening to sue us.

      We ordered our manufacturer to switch back to Toshiba (which is what we used previously). They work.

  • by heironymouscoward (683461) <heironymouscoward@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:02AM (#8314718) Journal
    It's not rarely corporate policy to release faulty products. (Microsoft freaks, step aside, please.)

    What happens is that internal politics turn problems into cover ups. Someone, somewhere decides that it's more logical to ignore the issue than to address it. The falacy continues up the line, since decisions are often based on information from 'down the line'.

    The best thing IBM can do is to issue a general recall, offer generous replacement policies ("bring it in, we'll fix it on the spot") and try to recover their image as a reliable drive manufacturer. Otherwise their HD business is down the drain.

    Oh wait! They sold it to Fujitsu! OK, sue their asses!
    • by wiggys (621350) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:06AM (#8314736)
      The best thing IBM can do is to issue a general recall, offer generous replacement policies ("bring it in, we'll fix it on the spot")

      But that's simply not good enough. If it was a graphics card or something then fair enough... it's just another piece of hardware and one is as good as another. But hard-drives are different as the data on them may not be replaceable if the unit fails, and even if you have it swapped for a new one for free then you have to transfer all the data over to the new one... which is a royal pain in the arse if you're multibooting different OSes.

      • by millahtime (710421) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:20AM (#8314819) Homepage Journal
        "...you have to transfer all the data over to the new one... which is a royal pain in the arse..."

        I hate to point this out but should should do the whole backup thing. I mean even a high reliability HD occasionally fails.
      • by Evil Adrian (253301) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:24AM (#8314841) Homepage
        The data probably isn't lost though; "click of death" sounds like the drive is failing because one of the moving parts (most likely the arm or the motor) is burnt out. That shouldn't affect the platter (and therefore the data) inside the drive, so a drive recovery place should be able to get the data off of the drive.

        Data recovery gets expensive, though, so if IBM would foot the bill in addition to a drive replacement, that might make up for the gigantic problem they've created.

        But then you factor in the inconvenience... really, IBM should replace the drive, WITH your data on it, AND issue you a gift certificate or something to make amends...
      • by jdkane (588293) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:26AM (#8314851)
        If it was a graphics card or something then fair enough... it's just another piece of hardware and one is as good as another. But hard-drives are different as the data on them may not be replaceable if the unit fails,

        For this reason it is the user's responsibility to ensure the data is backed up properly. IBM can be blamed for a high failure rate, but not for a hard drive failing. In the end, all hard drives eventually fail. If the data is non-replaceable then no doubt the user has a rigid backup plan in place to ensure safety of the data; if not then the user is acting unwise no matter what type of hard drive is in the machine.

        • by WNight (23683)
          It's your responsibility to save your work too, but if I turned your power off and lost even 15-minutes of work for every employee at your company you'd all of a sudden be calculating the damages I'd caused.

          Unless you've got a constant-running save process that saves multiple levels of undo, and your backup process mirrors this to two seperate locations, on the fly, you're going to lose data if your drive dies. Backing up simply changes this from months to days, or at best, hours.

          What really pissed me off
      • >But hard-drives are different as the data on them may not be replaceable if the unit fails

        So? Its still hardware, legally as equal to a video card. Its up to the user/admin to backup the data. Yes, it is a pain but HDs shouldn't have some special status amongst hardware, if anything we need better consumer reports and reliability data before buying.
    • it is never in the interest of a corporation to stop any product from coming to market NO MATTER WHAT. There are intense pressures from higher management to perform, and to hell with the consequences.

      Sure, this is "just" a hard drive, it can be replaced. What about when corporate negligance leads to permanent damage of people (e.g., health care)? What about deaths at the hands of corporations?

  • I have one ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robnauta (716284) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:02AM (#8314719)
    I had one. After about a year it failed, in summer so I suspect it had been running too hot. More and more bad sectors with the familiar scraping sound.

    But after I got tired of running scandisk for hours to mark bad sectors daily, I erased it with IBM's DFT (drive fitness test).
    And it has been fine ever since.

    It looked like the heat made it lose its calibration, unable to find the exact position on the disk for some sectors.
    • Re:I have one ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phrasebook (740834) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:19AM (#8314813)
      I had mine fail after about 9 months, and it was also pretty hot in my case, and during summer. I also had a 60GXP in there so I was worried. After it failed I bought a new case with fans right in front of the hard drives. The 60GXP is still going fine but is extremely noisy now (not clicking, just whine).

      IBM's DFT thing didn't work for me. It cleared the drive for a little while but the noises came back and it wouldn't work.

      Didn't seem related to heat. Sometimes it'd occur as soon as it spun up, sometimes it would be fine for days. I think if it spun up normally, it would keep going ok until it was next powered on.

      Ever since then I've been paranoid about hard drives and went to the trouble of mirroring all the partitions on my server using linux software RAID-1. Works nicely and boots off either drive.
    • Re:I have one ... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SpinyManiac (542071)
      I've also had a IBM drive fail due to heat.
      Hitachi honoured the warranty, but I had to pay for postage to the Netherlands (I'm in the UK).

      I bought a 120GB while I waited for my 60GB to get back, and stuck the PC in a new case with four 80mm fans. One fan blows over both hard drives, and I haven't had trouble since

      On the other hand, my laptop has had a 20GB Hitachi (pre IBM) drive, a IBM 40GB and a Hitachi/IBM 60GB. None have given any trouble, despite getting pretty hot. It looks like laptop drives do
  • by millahtime (710421) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:02AM (#8314721) Homepage Journal
    Don't we build cheaper things that are less reliable so that you have to buy new ones more often. Many industries already do that. They can make a light bulb that goes for 10 or 20 years no problem. And I can buy one that is garunteed to go for 5 years. But there are still ones that have 2500 hours. This concept isn't something new.
    • I don't know if that's a real factor when it comes to computer components. I mean, I have an old 200MB HD lying around that works great. I don't use it anymore, not because it's broken but because it's 200MB!

      My current drive is 60GB but I'm still eyeing a new 120GB despite not having filled my 60GB halfway. In other words, you'll get the geeks to upgrade no matter what.

    • Don't we build cheaper things that are less reliable so that you have to buy new ones more often?

      Sure, we build cheaper things, but not for the repeat business. It is because people want to spend as little money as possible.

      Your example with the light bulbs are an example of this. The average consumer looking at two bulbs: one at fifty cents and one at ten dollars. Never mind the fact that the ten dollar bulb will save more than ten dollars in energy and last many times longer than the cheap bulb. Averag

  • by boaworm (180781) <boaworm@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:04AM (#8314730) Homepage Journal
    that two of three HDs failed within 2 years.. :)

    Atleast I want to give credits to IBM for an excellent replacement procedure, I have received two new drives without any hazzles what so ever. Impressive actually, considering the trouble I've had trying to get replacement ASUS Graphic cards etc...
    • I have received two new drives without any hazzles what so ever. Impressive actually, considering the trouble I've had trying to get replacement ASUS Graphic cards etc

      Have you thought about buying an anti-static wrist strap, that sure seems like a lot of repalcements :)

    • by n3k5 (606163) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:15AM (#8314791) Journal
      I have received two new drives without any hazzles what so ever
      Replacing drives, even if you can stay at home with your computer and have them delivered to your front door quickly, is always a hassle. Of course, if you don't have a backup, it's your own fault, but for most people it wouldn't be reasonable to do a _daily_ backup (automatic incremental backups are convenient and don't use up much space, but most users don't want to set them up and test if they really work), and also most people don't have images of their drives, but only copies of their data, so they have to reinstall their OS and all their apps. I haven't had a hard drive failure in over ten years, so I think it's very reasonable to spend a day or two recovering if and when it happens instead of spending a lot of time on cloning my drives every day. But the day it does happen, it will be a hassle.
  • IBM... pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by darth_silliarse (681945) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:05AM (#8314733) Homepage
    Forget IBM drives, Seagate [seagate.com] or Maxtor [maxtor.com] produce the best quality hard drives
    • Western Digital (Score:5, Informative)

      by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:11AM (#8314764) Homepage
      Western Digital drives have been extremely reliable for us: No failures. I haven't needed drive technical support for a long time, but a while ago WD had the best technical support. 3 year warranty on Retail boxed drives.
      • Re:Western Digital (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fafaforza (248976) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:16AM (#8314798)
        We've had worse luck with WD. Every month it seems we have to send back a drive after diagnosing a problem with it with WD's software. We've moved to Seagate and Maxtor as a result.
        • I've had terrible luck with WD drives starting around 2000. Three friends had WD drives die, then I lost one a month later. Lost another one about a year and a half later, and another one six months ago. They seem to frequently die around the one-year mark in my experiences.

          I've stopped buying WD as a result and now buy Maxtor when possible.
        • They ALL suck. I've had within 90 day failures for all of the big name ATA drives. It's an inevitable byproduct of the ever-increasing data densities and the ever-tighter profit margins. They all have decent customer service (so far) when it happens as far as replacing the drive, but that doesn't help for the data.

          As a result, I now require all new desktop computers for the college department I work for to come with three hard drives; a RAID-1 mirrored pair for the OS, and an external hard drive (ATA to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:08AM (#8314747)
    People, get real. This is all about the lawyers.

    The lawyers are suing IBM. They are paying all the costs. The "class" is made up of losers who lend their names by affirming they bought a "defective drive."

    In the end, the lawyers will get to keep 30% to 50% of the settlement or award (the cash component); the losers will get a coupon for discounts on the purchase of IBM stuff.

    If you feel you have been wronged by because your 1,000,000 hour MTBF drive will only last 900,000 hours, simply tell 10 of your friends and don't buy any IBM stuff.

    Believe me, that's a lot more painful to IBM and a lot less destructive to our society.
  • Not only the 75GXP (Score:5, Informative)

    by Troed (102527) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:09AM (#8314751) Homepage Journal
    .. the same problem applied to the 60GXP and the earliest 120GXP drives (a friend just had his 120GXP click to death the other week) aswell.

    The problem can be solved with a software upgrade in the drive.

    This site has it all: http://www.pheuron.de/index.htm?deathstar.htm
  • Any still running? (Score:5, Informative)

    by eamber (121675) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:09AM (#8314752) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone still have one of these? I purchased two 30 gig 75GXP's - first one died after about 2 months. The second after 6.

    I RMA'd them - drive 1 was RMA'd a total of 6 times; drive 2, 7 times.

    I got so disgusted with dealing with them that I replaced them outright with larger Maxtor drives and haven't had a problem since.

    I sold one of the IBM drives on ebay to some poor sucker - the other one is sitting on a shelf waiting to be taken to the firing range.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:17AM (#8314805)
      Runs great A+++++++ Seller BEST Hardrive Ive ever owned!!!!!!!!!!
    • Does anyone still have one of these? I purchased two 30 gig 75GXP's - first one died after about 2 months. The second after 6.

      Yeah, I bought a 46GB one and it initially lasted well, for almost three years, but now it's been RMA:ed 3 times. I now only use it for scratch space. I'll try the firmware upgrade that was mentioned earlier. The last RMA:ed drive didn't last two months.

      I've bought three Seagate Barracuda's since, and one Western Digital. Won't touch IBM/Hitachi with a ten foot pole.

    • by ehanneken (18998)
      I've been using a 30 GB 75GXP as the sole drive in my main home PC since 1999. Its firmware has never been updated, and it has never given me any problems.
  • And 60gxp? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PipianJ (574459) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:09AM (#8314754)
    Yes yes, we know the 75gxp drives were defective. But I've known about 60gxp drives dying too (And I've had one happen to me. Not a pleasant sight.) Yet noone seems to care about that. What's MY recourse?
  • by Glenda Slagg (464228) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:10AM (#8314758)
    If a manufacturer only guarantees an item for one year (thought I notice 90 days is often the case in the US - it would be illegal here), as what point does a failure rate occuring after that first year constitute a problem with the product. If 50% fail within two years can this actuallt be seen as a problem with the product. In our modern-age ,Just what does guarantee actually mean...???
  • Google cache (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Google cache [216.239.59.104], for those who need it.
  • by The-Perl-CD-Bookshel (631252) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:12AM (#8314767) Homepage Journal
    I have a 10 drive array (75GXP series) plugging away at about 20% load for a full year now, no failures. I have always had luck with IBM drives when I keep them chilled. If you want to keep your 75gxp drives happy, or any drives for that matter, keep them cool.
  • by Nakito (702386) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:14AM (#8314777)
    IBM and Hitachi are two of the few manufacturers that still offer 3-year warranties on IDE hard drives. They are also two of the few mainframe manufacturers. I had thought that there was a correlation between these two facts -- perhaps that mainframe manufacturers regard storage as something more sacred or mission-critical than your average hard drive manufacturer. I am disappointed that IBM would knowingly ship drives with a too-high rate of failure. This is not consistent with their mainframe heritage.
  • Not surprised (Score:3, Informative)

    by GeckoFood (585211) <geckofoodNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:15AM (#8314784) Journal

    I worked for a large retailer until recently and the hard drive of choice for our proprietary systems was an IBM drive of some sort. This drives were not the specific drive in question, but IBM nevertheless, and we had an unusually high and consistent number of failures with them. We finally switched to Seagate drives and the issue vanished.

    The idea tat IBM might have a drive that fails even more than the drives we had in our stores is unnerving.

  • by obi (118631) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:19AM (#8314814)
    I have two 75GXP running without any apparent problems. I've lost a 60GXP, but IBM replaced it instantly with a 180GXP that's been running non-stop without any problems.

    So, all in all good experiences. The thing is, with capacities increasing as they do, a small problem can have increasingly disastrous consequences. That's why I've started using RAID1 setups for all machines containing non-expendable data. It's just not worth running the risk - failures happen, simultaneous failures are less common.

  • Failure Rates. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sentosus (751729) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:23AM (#8314834)
    The biggest question is whether or not IBM knew the drives were failures and decided to make money on the drives selling them and then dump the business when lawsuits and RMAs were getting greater than the profit generated by their sells.

    To those that RMAed more than 1 time, don't you feel like you are humping a pillow when that just can't give you satisfaction? Okay, bad part makes it to you. Okay, the replacement part is bad then we have a Quality Assurance issue. It is time to prevent the continue loss of time and break down to a new purchase.

    In addition, those that RMAed the drives should not be part of the class action since IBM would not have profitted on a low margin being compounded with continuously replacing the drives. We make $2 each, but spend 70$ building them. We are 68$ in the hole for each one RMAed. See what I am saying?

    At that point it is just Punative.

  • by philthedrill (690129) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:24AM (#8314842)

    I think the problem was obvious when looking through forum posts of users who had 75GXP drives. It wasn't the number of failures as much as it was the number of failures per user. Sure, some people didn't have any problems, but many others had multiple drive failures, and the failure distribution was statistically abnormal.

    As much as I'm happy that this is out in the open and that there's a class action suit, what will the users get out of this? In the tech world, two+ years is an eternity. Will they get the typical $20 voucher towards a new Hitachi drive while the class action lawyers get the millions? I had two fail on me in two months (on my VIA 686B south bridge while they worked fine on someone else's AMD south bridge). I had to fight IBM red tape as they kept trying to pawn me off on Acer but couldn't even give me the right point of contact at Acer (but I finally got through after six months).

    You know what they say... in a lawsuit, the only winners are the lawyers.

    • I don't know much about them, other than the fact that we have a snap server that we use for daily backups for our webservers. It came with 2 of the IBM drives. Both failed within a few weeks. We got replacments and those failed as well within a few weeks. We made sure the next replacements were not the same brand, and we havn't had any problems since.
  • by ozbird (127571) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:25AM (#8314846)
    We had a 20GB IBM Deskstar (probably 60GXP series) HDD fail at work recently; it was part of a mirrored (RAID 1) array, so no serious harm was done.

    Being inquisitive folk, we cracked open the case to see what was inside. The cause of the failure was abundantly clear: the head assemblies had scraped the shiny, magnetic coating off about 2/3rds of the disk surface (on both sides) revealing the glass platter. I've never seen a glass platter before - they are so cool! :-D

    The extent of damage was equally impressive; our "museum" of salvaged bits includes various head-crashed platters of considerable vintages, but this disk will certainly take pride of place in the collection.
    • If you want reliable glass platter drives, try Toshiba laptop drives. I think my 810MB drive is glass, and it only has ~200K in bad sectors, due to the laptop being stored in a truck in the middle of August :-(... Before that, it had ZERO bad sectors.
  • ...if it's a wednesday then IBM are evil, otherwise they are good? ;o)

    Or it could just be: support OSS=good, rip off consumer=bad.
  • I have had MANY IBM drives from that time period that failed horrible with the click of death from 15 gig to 40 gig. they ALL suffered the same design flaw that caused them to die 10X more than the same segate purchased at the same time and used the same.

    I still have a pile of "out of warrenty" drives that are the replacements for the origional dead ones and some that are replacements for the replacements that are also dead now. as they certinaly did not extend the origional warrenty and made sure to te
  • I mentally switched to IBM drives a couple of years ago so whenever I bought a server or configured one for a client to purchase, I spec'd IBM drives. Now I'm back to Seagate. A friend was pro-maxtor all the way. Out of 100 drives in various servers, he's had to replace about half of them. Most of them upwards of twice each. He's disgusted. Another one of my clients spec'd a RAID array out of 120G Maxtors. 2 out of 4 disks have already been replaced..

    I can't believe no one is going after Maxtor.

  • I had two 75GXP's in my main desktop machine. A 45GB for win2k, and a 30GB for linux. The windows drive died about 6 months ago, so I pulled it out and went merrily on my way with gentoo only. Then the other night gentoo hung up on me. I power cycled, and the root FS was crapped out (ext3). So that machine is now a paperweight until I get off my lazy ass and go buy another drive and sit through the painfully long gentoo installation/build process. Oh well, no harm done, all my important data lives on
  • by digitalgimpus (468277) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:43AM (#8314955) Homepage
    I bought one, and admit it was fast, loved it.

    Read the article on the drives being defective, and didn't want to believe it.

    Then my drive made a few clicks, but didn't crash imediately.

    Turned my computer off, and ordered a new Seagate Barracuda IV. Copied data over. Never used that 75GXP to this day. Still sitting in a box.

    IBM owes me. I had to get 2 HD's in a year, rather than one.
  • by Mikey-San (582838) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:47AM (#8314986) Homepage Journal
    ". . . A plus B plus C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one."
  • by CompWerks (684874) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:51AM (#8315003)
    I personally owned three of these drives and returned them under warranty on three seperate occasions with a lengthy letter that I did not want refurbs as replacements.

    The last time I sent them back, I had high hopes that Hitachi (who bought the hd business from IBM) would finally read my letter and send me some new replacements but no luck.

    They are now on their way to the nearest landfill.

  • (although I have never owned an IBM drive so that could be why :)

    Only time I know of where I lost hard disk data was with a 40gb (I think it was 40gb, may have been a 20gb though) and that failure coincided with a blown motherboard & a fair amount of repair cost.
    Plus, there was what looked like a burn mark on one of the large surface-mount ICs on the hard disk circut board. So, in this case, I can say that it probobly wasnt a manfacturing defect :)
  • I have a IBM deskstar with firmware ER4OA44A, and the firmware utility recommends I update the firmware to A45A version. I downloaded the update, however, I don't have access to a floppy-drive to boot the update disks.

    So, is there another way to do this? (ie. I have a CDR recorder).

    Anyone got a tip for how to flash without a diskdrive? I promise +5 karma :)
    • You need access to a PC with burning software and a floppy drive.

      Create a boot disk (floppy) image with your burnware.
      Use the image to create a bootable CD and put the firmware update on it.

      The other PC doesn't need a CD burner. Just the burnware. You can copy the floppy image to your PC and do the rest there.
  • by Stavr0 (35032) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:02AM (#8315099) Homepage Journal
    Take them apart with a Torx#0 and get the bitchin' strong rare earth magnet inside.

    - You can use it as a fridge magnet. Keep a pry bar around to detach it
    - Stick one on a toolbelt, it's strong enough to hold a magnet!


  • Fujitsu's MPG-Series HDDs experience a similar problem (>90% failure rate due to defective chips; see The Register [theregister.co.uk]).

    Fortunately, there is an unofficial tool available [storagereview.net] to recover all of your lost data.
  • Most people I know associate "IBM IDE drive problems" with "DTLA". Is the GXP series the same as the DTLA series, or did IBM have two different IDE disk product lines which suffered from severe quality problems?
    • Re:DTLA? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The most problematic is the 75 GXP, which was available from 1 to 3 platters in capacities of 15, 30, 45, 60 and 75GB. The 75GB model has the most problems, the 15 GB the least. These have names like DJNA-30.., etc.

      The 60GXP solves some problems, but still has issues in multi-platter configurations. These are available in 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 GB capacities. The 20 has very few problems, the higher capacities have higher failure rates. These have names like DTLA-30.. or IC35..

      The 120GXP also solves some
  • Unfortunate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ktulu1115 (567549) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:30AM (#8315285)
    As most people have agreed, this is a bad mark on IBM's record. I respect them for their pro-Linux attitude (despite the fact it may partially be due to retaliation on MS) and think they have contributed a lot to the field, this is why it's so unfortunate.

    Thankfully this problem doesn't effect me as I use almost all SCSI devices [njit.edu], however I have noticed my IBM SCSI [hgst.com] drive hasn't quite been up to par recently. And I had to RMA it already once... hmmm. I think I'm sticking with Seagate from now on, I love my ST336607LW [seagate.com]. :)
  • Stick it to Aiwa (Score:3, Informative)

    by seven5 (596044) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:32AM (#8315307)
    The best part about this post was going to the lawyers' website and seeing that they also sued Aiwa for their crappy mini systems. I owned 3 of them and every cd player on them broke. To this day when i see one at someone elses house, i ask them if their cd player works. And they say, "no..."... Glad to see that someone went after them for that.

  • It constantly amazes me how bad technological companies are at relationships. Having sold bad drives damages IBM's reputation enormously. Many managers of tech companies seem to believe that business is 98% technology and 2% relationships. Probably it is more like 50-50.

    Relationships with employees are part of the relationships of business. Perhaps 10 years ago, Intel forced employees to take a pay cut just before business became extremely profitable for Intel. In my opinion, Intel has a history of pushing its employees too hard. Look at the result. Look where Intel is now: AMD is ahead in 64-bit processors.

    Of course, Intel managers undoubtedly have rationalizations for this, but in extensive conversations with Intel employees, I have developed the idea that there is a connection between Intel's lack of interest in good relationships and Intel's recent poor performance.
  • by xTK-421x (531992) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:17AM (#8315753) Homepage
    Having worked on many bad HDs, I keep this list of links to all the manufacturers HD testing programs:

    Maxtor/Quantum
    http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/downloads/powerma x.htm [maxtor.com]

    IBM/Hitachi
    http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm [hgst.com]

    Seagate
    http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html [seagate.com]

    Western Digital
    http://support.wdc.com/download/#dlgtools [wdc.com]

    Fujitsu
    http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/ [fujitsu.com]
  • Risk analysis (Score:3, Insightful)

    by failedlogic (627314) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:42AM (#8315981)
    I think on IBM's part they've used risk analysis to weight the cost benefit ratio of doing a recall vs lawsuits and other expesnses. Whereas in the automotives industry, you can issue a recall by replacing a defective part, HDDs need to be completly replaced. I guess IBM might have seen this as being cheaper; if so, they might be wrong.

    I've read of many other industries that participate in these practices .... lawn mower , childrens' toys, mattresses, automotive manufacturers the list is endless. It won't come to an end any time soon.
  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:14AM (#8316311) Journal
    It's funny. We have fora such as Slashdot and Groklaw, where information gained from hundreds of dedicated people are put to the common good. We have systems like Linux and GCC that are similarly the result of large common effort.

    What is lacking is a good system for tracking hardware failures. All we have are anecdotes, until somebody gets sued and we can see their internal documentation.

    Imagine, though, that there was a system for tracking hardware. Whenever you would get a drive, you'd put it into the common database. Serial number, model number, date and place of manufacture. Granted, this would take a few minutes. When (not if, they all die eventually) a drive fails, you would call up the record and mark it, along with (perhaps) the symptoms associated with the failure.

    But, if tens of thousands of people did this, you would quickly build up a spectacular database of hardware reliability. You would be able to instantly see what drives were better than others, or see if quality was slipping or improving for popular drive makes as time went on.

    Soon, much like the moderation system of Slashdot has truly raised the level of discussion here, you would find that the reliabilty ratings driven by this database would force manufacturers to make higher quality drives -- they'd know that they could never force crappy drives on the market as IBM is alleged to have done here.

    Now, I'm not volunteering -- yet. But I could be interested. There would be insane pressures from the manufacturers to influence the results, and there would no doubt be some attempts made to stuff the ballot box. But, it would be a good thing.

    Thad
  • Well in theory (Score:3, Informative)

    by rabtech (223758) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:16PM (#8318368) Homepage
    In theory the problem was mostly the heads accumulating some of the platter lubricant on them from continuously moving back and forth in the same area, leading to an eventual head crash (click of death.)

    Again, in theory, the firmware update fixed that problem.

    Did this help in reality? I don't know. I haven't bought an IBM hard drive in a long time thanks to this mess.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:21PM (#8318438) Homepage
    Where I come from, IBM DeskStars are now known as Death Stars.

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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