IBM Drives - Not For 24/7 Use (!)

blakespot

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It is no secret in the storage world that IBM's 75GXP drives have had reliability issues. We've seen stories of users replacing drive after drive of this particular device. There is even a law suit pending against IBM with regards to this drive. The successor to this drive was the IBM 60GXP series, a drive which does not seem to have generated the same, unusual level of user problem reports. Apple has used (is using?) this drive in recent G4 units.
The plot thickened when IBM recently released their high-capacity 120 GXP series, but in the specs indicated that it is only to be used for 333 hours/month (11 hours/day avg). This staggering recommendation makes the drive useless for server use or use in machines that are on 24/7. Well, a recent article on VIAHardware.com delves into this issue and discovers, disturbingly, that IBM has indicated this usage guideline on ALL of the GXP line. While this guideline is easy to for the 120GXP (on that drive's spec web page), it's buried a little deeper for their other drives (to quote the article):
<ul>Neither the 75GXP nor the 60GXP have the 333 hour-per-month specification mentioned in their own versions of that document, however. The 60GXP lists this setting only in its “Functional Specifications” document—a hefty 195 page engineering-level PDF. The specification in question is located ‘prominently’ on page 50 in a relatively small section. The 75GXP, on the other hand, does not have a “Functional Specification” link and does not mention the limitation on its data sheet either. I was unable, in fact, to even FIND mention of such a limitation for this particular model. </ul>
So...as indicated by IBM, if you have any GXP-series drive and are using it more than 333 hours/month (11 hours/day avg) then you are exceeding its spec and failure would seem to lay in wait. Some of the most disturbing news I've heard in quite a while.
 

blakespot

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Sadly this is the main drive in my dual G4 800 with uptimes that run in terms of months. Very disturbing. Very misleading.

This is less than I would expect from IBM. That warning should be in big, red letters emblzoned across the front of the drive and its packaging.


blakespot
 

blakespot

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Re: IBM Drives in G4s

Originally posted by dukestreet
What models?
Apple uses a variety of drives in their machines. Mine came with a 5,400 RPM IBM 40GV. I added a 60GXP to the unit upon receiving it. Arn's Mac came with the 60GXP installed.


blakespot
 

Dunepilot

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2002
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Re-liability

This is something of a return to the dark days of computing when you couldn't rely on any given hardware item 100%, and even though it looked like we had got away from this, here comes a reminder that it isn't just computer software that still has some way to go.

:(

.... and IBM had such a great reputation for its drives only a year ago.
 

Hemingray

macrumors 68030
Jan 9, 2002
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Ha ha haaa!
A Step Back in Technology

That is scary. And I'm sorry, but I can't think of any other regular-use drive like that that has a limitation like that. That is a Step Back in technology. That seems very much unlike IBM... but then what do I know. :rolleyes:
 

blakespot

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There seems to be an assumption of a heat-related issue here. ...and it is _hot_ in a dual 800 mini tower.

I definitely would not have purchased that drive if I had known it was of questionable durability.



blakespot
 

GPTurismo

macrumors 6502
May 4, 2001
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I just purchased four of the GXP60s here at work for servers. Nice work IBM.

I had a 60 GIG HDD come stock in my Dual 800, i need to go home and check the brand now. If it's an IBM I am going to write apple and see if they will replace it :B
 

barkmonster

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Dec 3, 2001
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Is it 333 hours of being powered or 333 hours of being active ?

I'd assume any time the drive isn't reading or writing data that it wouldn't count in the limit because it wouldn't be doing anything to generate any heat.

This is a really bad situation because only one other brand of hard drive comes close the performance of the deskstar drives and they are western digital, if the WD drives have the same limit, what option to people have other than going back to SCSI just for the reliability of the drives.
 

eric_n_dfw

macrumors 68000
Jan 2, 2002
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GXP 75's

I've got a pair of GXP 75 75GB drives in my B&W G3 (with a G4 400 upgrade) and a pair of Western Digital Expert 18GB's. (as well as the stock Apple/Seagate? 6GB)

The IBM drives gave me a little trouble when they were mounted on top of each other in the dual drive bracket in the back of the case. I read somewhere that they need an inch or so breathing room on top so I moved them to the side-by-side mounts at the front and middle of the case. I used one of those round (non-ribbon) style UDMA cables from Fry's (24") so it would reach both drives without crimping. I have had 0 problems since then (about 2 months ago) and I do leave the machine on 24/7 (www.ericsmalling.com)

For those interested, the 2 18GB WD drives are mounted above the DVD-ROM assembly in a bracket from ProMax.com - I'm not sure they still sell it though) I put a small fan up there to keep air moving.) All four are running off a Sonnet Tempo/66 PCI card.

I also have one of those fans that take up a PCI slot to pull heat off the bottom of the case where the IBM and Seagate drives are.
 

blakespot

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Originally posted by barkmonster
Is it 333 hours of being powered or 333 hours of being active ?

I'd assume any time the drive isn't reading or writing data that it wouldn't count in the limit because it wouldn't be doing anything to generate any heat.
I just corrected the main story. That's 333 power-on hours/month.



blakespot
 

Mr. Anderson

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Nov 1, 2001
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Which drives

Are these IDE or SCSI

I have SCSI, and I haven't had any problems yet with them running almost continuously for over a year. Even though I looked at the drives in System Profiler (trying not to have to open the case) the GSX label isn't part of the Product ID or Serial #.

Someone let me know if it is.

Thanks.
 

Mr. Anderson

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Nov 1, 2001
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Ti G4

I just checked my Titanium and the 48 Gig drive is an IBM, but again, nothing in the data saying anything about GXP.
 

blakespot

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Re: Ti G4

Originally posted by dukestreet
I just checked my Titanium and the 48 Gig drive is an IBM, but again, nothing in the data saying anything about GXP.
The GXP is a 3.5" desktop drive. Your TiBook has a 2.5" drive.


blakespot
 

OSUbuckeyefan

macrumors regular
Dec 7, 2001
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Originally posted by barkmonster
\...the only one other brand of hard drive comes close the performance of the deskstar drives and they are western digital...
I know this is a bit off topic, but what about the seagate barracouda IV drives...:confused: I think they are quite highly rated.
 

prechrchet

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Mar 5, 2002
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At the risk of sounding like an idiot: does anyone have any idea which models of Macs are using these kinds of drives? I have a 933 G4, and my system profile doesn't say anything about one of my drives being made by IBM. Does this mean I am out of the woods?
 

elgruga

macrumors 6502
Dec 31, 2001
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My old IBM SCSI's - expensive and fine

We run 3 sets of two IBM 9 gig 7200 scsi drives external to our 3 G3 servers.
2 years and counting, no problems. (Miles Initio 2 cards, also trouble-free)
The drives were not cheap, but they are superb.

I think that IBM is struggling here because of pressure to drop prices and increase drive capacities at the same time.
This is probably an impossible task.

When I go the store to look for a drive for a desktop machine, I am looking for a cheap IDE with huge capacity.
I often wonder why.
Our website has about 2 mb of files, and software accounts for, say a gig at most.
Why do I need 80 gigs?

Average usage on a desktop is about 5 gigs - what the hell do I need 60, or 80 for?

Give me 9 gigs of expensive, well-built SCSI.
We also run a pair of Seagate Cheetahs, 10k rpm, cost more than the IBM's, over 2 years old, running a bit hotter than the the IBM's, but faster and just as reliable.

IDE - we have bitten by the PC cheap and nasty bug.

You get exactly what you pay for.
 

rjgjonker

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Dec 7, 2001
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From the 60GXP manual PDF:
Expected product life is 5 years under typical desktop PC usage conditions:
- 333 Power-On Hours (POH) per month.
- Seeking/writing/reading operation to be 20% of POH at 40°C or lower environmental temperature.
It doesn't say it's recommended to limit the use of the drive to 333 h/month, it's just used as a basis for the calculation of expected lifetime. Probably nothing to worry (at least not for 60GXP owners).
 

blakespot

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Re: My old IBM SCSI's - expensive and fine

Originally posted by elgruga

Average usage on a desktop is about 5 gigs - what the hell do I need 60, or 80 for?
My DP G4 800 has 260GB storage, and 2/3 of it is full.

I suppose I'm not average.



blakespot
 

blakespot

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Originally posted by rjgjonker
From the 60GXP manual PDF:


It doesn't say it's recommended to limit the use of the drive to 333 h/month, it's just used as a basis for the calculation of expected lifetime. Probably nothing to worry (at least not for 60GXP owners).
If you scale that to 24/7 operation, you get 2yrs 3mos life expectancy for that drive. That's doubtless not an accurate way to calculate it--but it would seem the constant heat of the drive without the off-periods could actually result in a shorter life than that. I will have my DP G4 800 2-3 years from now. My G3 400 lasted me 2yrs 8mos.



blakespot
 

eric_n_dfw

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Jan 2, 2002
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Re: My old IBM SCSI's - expensive and fine

Originally posted by elgruga
Why do I need 80 gigs?

Average usage on a desktop is about 5 gigs - what the hell do I need 60, or 80 for?
Do you use iMovie or Final Cut Pro?
Start using them and you'll know why.
 

Choppaface

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Jan 22, 2002
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anybody know where they post this stuff? I'd like to know the rating for a 100 GB western digital caviar


and ya I don't see why people need so much hard disk space. I always burn any media I'm not using onto CDs