Users Complain About IBM's Crashing Drives
Users of IBM's 75GB Deskstar 75GXP disk drives are reporting abnormally high failure rates for the product, according to industry sources. But IBM officials say the problems fall within the range of normal failure rates.
The culprit is the 7500-rotations-per-minute 75GB Deskstar 75GXP drive with Ultra ATA/100 interface, sources say. The
Big Blue's Deskstar GXP line of disk drives is designed for desktop PCs, audio/video applications, and RAID controller boards; the drives are available in 15GB, 30GB, and 75GB capacities, according to IBM.
Several users of the 75GB Deskstar 75GXP have reported a variety of different failures, including the development of bad sectors on the drive, the CPU mistaking the drive as a smaller 8GB drive, and the drive simply crashing for no apparent reason.
Several independent Internet test sites, including Guru3D.com, have posted complaints on their sites.
"You would be wise to avoid the IBM 75GB drive with part number dtla307075, which is made in Hungary," one user who requested anonymity says. "Our backup servers use them and I've had three drive failures since Friday."
Another user of the
Technical support personnel for Mountain View, California-based 3Ware confirms that calls have been coming in steadily concerning failures with the 75GB Deskstar 75GXP drive. 3Ware has been referring the calls to IBM technical support.
"What exactly the problem is, we can't tell," a 3Ware technical support contact says. "It's not normal though, and the [report levels] are higher than usual."
IBM spokesperson Kim Nzuyen says that Big Blue is aware of problems with the 75GB drives, but they affect only 1 percent to 2 percent of the products shipped.
"We've been shipping [the 75GB drive] successfully. The failures we are experiencing are within normal ranges for desktop drives. There is no epidemic failure," Nzuyen says.
"We do believe the quality and reliability of [the 75GB drive] is very high," she continues. "If any customer thinks they are having a problem, they should certainly contact IBM."
Rob Enderle, an industry analyst at
"It could be a pressing problem or contamination problem," says Enderle. "It is not uncommon for a brand-new product, a high-density [product like the 7500-rpm 75GXP] to have issues on the first run. I expect more problems like this on first run as the disks spin faster."
Enderle says the performance of high-speed disk drives could even be affected by shipping.
"We had a problem with the single-platter Maxtor drive, and it was an issue with the way the product was being shipping," says Enderle. "The bearing developed a flat spot. These [disks] are now spinning at incredibly high speeds. The tolerances are incredibly tight."
Enderle says any problem with the IBM drive could mean good news for Seagate, which competes with IBM for market share in high-density hard drives.