Why OS X crashes and destroys hard drives

Discussion in 'macOS' started by OldCorpse, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #1
    A friend of mine just had a 6th(!) hard drive replaced in his G5 iMac. I myself wondered why OSX seems so much slower than a well-optimised XP and actually (in my experience at least) crashes a lot more than my XP laptop.

    Well, apparently it's an incurable consequence of terrible filing system choices made by Apple - choices which the NextStep people opposed, but which OS X was saddled with nonetheless. The consequences are horrible on both the hardware and the stability of the system. Here's a good rundown on why this is:

    Quote:

    "Had Apple used UFS instead of HFS+, OS X might have been released several years sooner, Mac hardware would today last a lot longer, and Mac file systems would crash a lot less often."

    http://rixstep.com/2/20031102,00.shtml

    Hmm. That explains a lot :(
     
  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #2
    That one system you speak of is a perfect example of every Mac in the world. Well argued case!
     
  3. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #3
    That is a bunch of BS. I have never had a HD crash EVER. Nor has anyone I know. Considering the wide variety of drives used, I question the validity of what you have posted.
     
  4. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Location:
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    #4
    If it is truly such an issue I am surprised all you can find is only an unknown reference from a puny web site.

    Anyway here's your chance to upgrade to the latest ZFS that is coming with Leopard! Huzzah to Opensource!
     
  5. Bobdude161 macrumors 65816

    Bobdude161

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    N'Albany, Indiana
    #5
    ZFS huh? Just looked it up. Getting pretty excited about it even though I only have a small clue to what it is. :eek:
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #6
    Uh-huh, this must be true. The G4 Cube I run probably an average of 12 hours a day, every day of the week, last crashed in May, 2004.

    It was caused by bad RAM.
     
  7. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #7
    We have 4 Macs here including a PowerMac G5, we have never had a hard disk problem.

    I think the original poster has a large wooden spoon etc. etc. :eek:



    FJ
     
  8. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #8
    Look, no anecdote, mine or anybody elses is by itself "scientific proof". I just thought it might be an explanation of the crashes I've seen (my iBook hardware has been perfect, though I've experienced crashes on numerous occasions) and bad hard drives - but maybe not. So our experiences cannot count as final proof.

    I am however curious if there's been any studies published about the rate of crashes per user period in different OSes - objective studies (not funded by Microsoft).

    Meanwhile, I suppose, my attitude is always to say: never mind your anecdote, or my anecdote - do you have any objective studies or statistics? And as a followup - do you have any technical counterarguments on the merits to the article I linked to... mind you, not ranting and ad hominem attacks, but rebuttals to actual arguments.

    I'm only interested in truth, not axe-grinding or fanboism. For the record, I'm using my iBook 95% of the time since I bought it a little over a year ago... that does say something of my personal preferences - but doesn't mean I'll close my eyes to flaws.
     
  9. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #9
    Seems reasonable... I'd still like to see actual studies.

    Oh, I don't know. First, maybe NTFS is no better - we know it is significantly worse than HFS Plus in some respects (filepath naming limits etc.), and I think what the article was implying was that UFS was the better filing system (compared to HFS+), rather than NTFS. Second, let's face it, Apple is no threat to MSFT when it comes to OS - it's barely 3% of the market world-wide. If anything, it's in MSFT's interest to keep OSX around as an anti-monopoly insurance (they bailed out Apple, after all, when Apple was in a desperate fix). Besides, if they drive OSX down to 0% market share, whom would they steal their inspiration from... have you looked at Vista lately?
     
  10. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #10
    How about - http://www.macintouch.com/reliability/pmg5.html - 3.9% of PowerMacs in the survey had to have the drive replaced. That's June 2003 - July 2006, i.e over three years.

    Then there's this Microsoft document that estimates a 3-7% drive failure rate (requiring drive replacement) per year.

    You may draw your own conclusions.

    Perhaps there's something else wrong with your friend's PM - is it overheating?

    Edit: oops, for some reason, i thought you were talking about the PowerMac - anyway, here's the iMac reliability survey. It's not as detailed. http://www.macintouch.com/reliability/

    And the first generation iMac G5 had issues with HD heat. You don't say what version of iMac your friend has.
     
  11. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #11
    What is odd is the fact that I've been using the same 30 GB hard drive in my iMac since the release of Mac OS X Public Beta (September 2000) and haven't erased, reformatted or repartitioned it since... more than 6 years of using it with Mac OS X and HFS+ (running 24/7, with the last few years of it playing iTunes constantly... in other words, tons of disk accessing going on).

    As for the delays in bringing out Mac OS X... none of them had anything to do with running on HFS+. Transition from UFS (which, I would add, isn't readable by any other OS... it was a unique version of UFS) to HFS+ was a few day step for the Mac OS X team (HFS+ was supported in Mac OS X Developer Preview 2 as I recall).

    What caused years of delay was Carbon.

    Apple (now run by former heads of NeXT) had gotten the impression that the replacement application environment for Copland based on the Mac Toolbox was almost completed when Apple pulled the plug on Copland. That was why they thought that (in 1998) they'd be able to get Mac OS X out the door in less than a year. Adding to this misconception was the fact that AppleWorks, SimpleText and even Photoshop 5 had been ported to a special version of Rhapsody which had this early version of Carbon... all within a few weeks.

    What Apple soon found out was that the work from Copland was no where near as complete as they had originally thought, and that Carbon was going to need a lot more work. This not only set Apple's plans way behind schedule, it also spooked many developers.

    To ease the concerns of developers who were afraid that Carbon was technology that Apple was going to discard in the near future, Apple decided to build the single most important application on the Mac in Carbon... the Mac OS X Finder.

    On the plus side, building the Finder in Carbon helped Apple discover (and resolve) many of Carbon's short comings... but the cost was a slow and unresponsive Finder for versions 10.0 and 10.1.


    Anyone who tells you that HFS+ was why Mac OS X took so long to ship has gotten some seriously bad information.

    ... and as you are siting rixstep as your source, I can't say that I'm at all surprised.
     
  12. lamina macrumors 68000

    lamina

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    From Canada, living in Seoul
    #12
    The hard drive on my 17" iMac died...

    So did the hard drive on my eMachine...

    It's a fact of life. But in this special case, it might have been a bad power supply or something that was frying 6 hard drives... It would have happened had XP, Ubuntu, or OS X been the OS.
     
  13. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #13
    Where did you get my photo??? (LOL)



    FJ :) :)
     
  14. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #14
    I suppose it's hard to evaluate for those of us who have only experience with a few filing systems: the vast majority of us know NTFS, which has its flaws, and HFS+ and a few here may have experience with various Linux FS.

    In any case, in my - admittedly limited - experience of only being able to compare to a few filing systems, I must say, OSX is not as snappy as some. Why I don't know. The article takes a stab at an explanation.

    Who knows, if we knew more filing systems, we'd all agree: system "A" is blazing fast compared to OSX! But if all you've ever dealt with is OSX how can you tell if you have nothing to compare to?
     
  15. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #15
    It isn't OS X that is the problem, it is the way Open Firmware boots the drive.

    If you corrupt the OS/drive enough, it won't allow the machine to boot to the DVD to recover the drive.

    And it can be recovered, but not inside the iMac.

    For Apple, it is likely easier to swap the drive under warranty.

    But, yeah -- I doubt 6 drives have died in the machine.

    Bad RAM, outlet power, or running some App that corrupts the drive is likely the problem.

    NOT OS X.

    NOTE: The problem of not being able to boot with a open firmware machine also happened with corrupted OS installs, pre-OS X.
     
  16. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #16
    I tell you what's funny - I told my friend that he's simply got a lemon. And the Apple techs who came to his house would simply do the easiest thing... it's like a car mechanic who doesn't try to figure out why the alternator (or whatever) keeps failing, cause it demands too much time to investigate, and it's easier to replace the part that dies (can you tell I'm bitter about car mechanics :) I had 2 alternators replaced in the same car within one year).
     
  17. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #17
    For me, I've never noticed any difference in speed in reading/writing to UFS and HFS+ on my Rhapsody systems. But then again, Rhapsody doesn't try to work with all the metadata stored in HFS+.

    The main objection to HFS+ by former NeXT engineers was the need for metadata, which NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP/Rhapsody didn't have to deal with. But considering that most of the developers for the Mac platform had made use of these types of features, Apple stayed with a slightly modified version of HFS+.

    :rolleyes:

    Now if you want to see a really slow system, install Mac OS X on a UFS partition... there is a mistake few people make twice. :eek:
     
  18. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #18
    Aah, RacerX, good to hear from someone with first hand experience of the issues. That counts for a lot more in my book, compared to uninformed speculation and secondguessing we've seen so far (including from me).

    I'm checking out the links in your sig :)
     
  19. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #19
    The other thing to keep in mind was that Apple had started modifying UFS soon after acquiring NeXT. While the general structure of the file system hadn't changed, the changes were drastic enough that NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP systems couldn't read Rhapsody's UFS.

    I haven't added anything to either site for a couple months... between school, work, and now being sick for almost two weeks, I feel like I've been neglecting them. :eek:
     

Share This Page