Dead or Dying IBM 75GXP Drives
Page last updated: December 9th, 2001 @ 4am
Go to The Tech Report to read stories from others who have experienced this problem and get news about this problem and the pending lawsuit against IBM.  If you own one of the drives below, BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE! -- Backup your drive in its entirety whatever it costs!  I would run out immediately and purchase a new drive the same size or bigger and copy everything from the soon to be defective drive to the new one.  80+ Gig drives can be readily purchase for $140-$200 (with rebates).

I have sent this story to Consumer Reports, the MN AGs office, the CA AGs office, the BBB,, Ontrack, All the major tech news orgs and IBM.

Below is my story:
Posted at
on Dec 8th 2001 at 12:51 pm.
All I can say is WOW!  And IBM is in for a ride on this one.
I *stumbled* across this page while looking for a replacement controller board for my 75GB DTLA-307075 pn 07N3935. (I put all the numbers and keywords in so others may stumble across this faster than I did)
Short story:  My drive died - no backups, I was hopeful of data recovery -- Until 5 minutes ago when I found this site!
Forgive me if a rant a bit and this gets long - but its a good story and may save others the anguish I am going through!

Dec 1999 - IBM press release:  IBM to release biggest, most reliable drive ever a 75GXP 75Gig drive!  I was so excited!  I talked my wife into letting me spend a chunk of our change on a computer part.  I put in a pre-order for this thing about Jan 2000.  The order went through about March 2000 and I received the drive in May 2000 (I put my order in so early I thought it was great that I probably got #10 off the line).  I was leery about buying an IBM HD.  I have been in this business as a consultant [got that IBM?] for 17+ years (since I was 15) and remember stories/rumors of IBM getting caught dumping boat fulls of poorly manufactured drives in New York Rivers, but 3-4 years ago when I saw the performance of a few newer drives and that IBM was on the cutting edge of new technology for the first time ever, I thought IBM had gotten its act together and I would give them a try. 

After my drive arrived and I installed it, I was in happy land. The drive was awesomely fast, easy to install and I couldn't even believe I had a 75Gig C: Drive.  I stored a ton-o-data on there.  Because this awesome feeling was new for an IBM product I was careful at first, I backed everything up, I didn't put anything critical on it (after all It seemed normal that these new 50+ Gig drives ran very HOT - too hot to touch most of the time), but 6 months went by (no probs), 9 months went by (no probs), 1 year went by (no probs) and I gradually moved things to it.  I started recommending the drives to friends and customers,  I moved my 6000+ MP3s to it, I discovered I could rip DVDs and stored those on it, It was the holy grail of HD heaven, no other Manufacturer even offered anything close.  As I ripped more and more DVDs I started running out of space quickly so DVD movies started filling up the drives I *use to* use as backups for this drive (after all IBM made the most reliable drive ever).  I was giving this thing raving reviews to other techies and customers.  Almost two years has went by...

And then... one day two weeks ago I had dumped a 2 Gig image from my 75Gig to a customer's HD like I had done a million times before and shut down my PC.  I unplugged the other HD and setup the other computer.  [You can see what comes next a mile away]  The next morning my wife turns on the computer and bang "No Operating system found!"  This happens all the time with the crappy Microsoft Operating systems we have to choose from so I wasn't too worried until I got home, flipped on the computer on and heard that all too familiar grinding noise.  I turned off the computer instantly, prayed, took the HD to another PC, plugged it in and nothing!  NO Spin, NO Grinding, nothing but warm chips on the board.  YIKES!?!  After I picked my head up off the desk I went to tell my wife the bad news.  So there were no expectations (she thinks I can fix anything on a computer) AND realizing I had NO BACKUPS for anything on it AND that I didn't want to be killed in my sleep, I gave my wife no hope of getting anything off of it she needed (accounting records, x-mas mailing lists, etc.).  BUT, being in this business for quite a while I secretly hoped I could craft some miracle.  After all, in the old days (8-10 years ago) HDs had been known to seize-up and require a whack or two to get them spinning again. 

I know someone at Ontrack so I did some research.  I knew that it probably wasn't the actual drive mechanics that failed and that it was probably just a dead board, so I asked them to just quote a recovery cost to replace the board temporarily and get my data to a new drive which I would provide.  It would be $100 to tell me if the drive was salvageable and somewhere between $700 and $5000 to see my data again.  The tech felt very bad for me (yeah right).  Just to replace the board, make sure the firmware was the same as the dead one, he estimated about $1200.

So... I hung up and called IBM to see how their customer service was.  The tech was very friendly (he also felt very bad for me) and said they no longer cross ship replacement drives {hindsight: Geez, I wonder why} and couldn't just send me a board, but as the drive was still under warranty they could send me a new blank drive promptly.  I asked him if it was ok to wait for a while and try to get my data back.  He said "Sure, as long as you don't open the seal."  I hung up hopeful to track down another drive and just try a new board.  I spent about 8 days looking for another 75Gig IBM drive and telling my friends this sad story.  They all felt bad for me, but liked to make fun of the fact that I spend all day telling people to backup their data and I hadn't backed up mine recently.  I took all this in stride because sometimes drives just fail out of nowhere, no warning, no nothing, just dead!  Poor Me and my 15 years of data!

OK... now we are to today.  I looked on the internet to find a few part numbers I found on the board and the drive.  I find nothing but those pretty pictures up there of my wonderful dead HD.  I did find that a new drive goes for about $215 now (I paid $522 for it new).  After about an hour of digging around on the net I trip across this link:
"Dr. Evil asks: GXP problems?"   it was dated October 20th, 2001
WHAT!!!!  October -- That was 2 months ago!!!  GXP problems -- WHAT!!!  I have been looking for two weeks and have never seen this before... hummm... You see... GXP is not anywhere on the label OR the drive OR the board.  Turns out GXP is a family name not a model number.  So I click the link and see this headline:
"75GXP class-action suit filed"  it was dated October 22nd, 2001
WHAT!!!  Others are having problems too!!!  WHAT!!!
I could not believe what I was reading!  It was hundreds of articles of people hearing grinding, clicking and all sorts of funny noises from their IBM HDs as well as LOSING THEIR DATA.  WHAT!!!  ok... now I was starting to get angry. 

I was a little confused by all this.  I watch the tech news sites religiously and never saw any mention of this at all back in October or November or when was on IBM's site for two days looking at every link I could find for some kind of answer as to why a 2 year old drive would croak.  When I called IBM two weeks ago THEY never mentioned any of this to me.  WHAT!!!  Can a company really do this and get away with letting possibly thousands of people loose their precious data and not own up to a problem?  Then I though I must have just missed something back in October.  I did a few more searches with 75GXP in them and low and behold two little articles pointing back to that same "Dr. Evil" web site.  Nothing from IBM.  No response, no denial, no "it was a fluke", no nothing.

By then/now I had realized if I would have seen anything even hinting at a problem like this I would have immediately backed up my drive and prevented the data loss.  AND IF IBM had somehow been involved in getting me that information I would have been much more inclined to recommend their drives in the future.  THERE IS ABSOLUTELY no chance in hell of that happening now.   Well maybe one,  If they issue a recall, get it in the news AND offer to pay for Ontrack to data recover MY data - - I would think about it!  But wait there is more...

It looks like there may be a simple fix for those who are so far lucky that their drive has not grinded to a halt (time will tell - as I am sure the drives still run way too hot).  Others have posted a firmware upgrade that at first glance may help somewhat (check the posts at Dr. Evil's forums).   But there are posts in there about people RMAing drives and having to get 4-5 replacements before they got one that is working.  What the heck is going on?  We should not have to put up with this crap! We are use to this "you have to pay to beta test our products for us" from MSoftware companies but I was hoping that was starting to change at least a little.  As excited and positive as I was about IBM and thier products in May 2000, I am 4 times completely and utterly shocked and dissapointed.  Unless that miricle happens, I will NEVER buy or recommend another IBM product!

Free advice to IBM:
If someone somewhere influential happens to have one of these doorstops and loses data when YOU knew about the problem and didn't make an effort to let your customers know...  WOW!!!  I would not want to be in your accounting or legal departments!

75GXP Specs:
DTLA-307015 15.36GB 7200RPM
DTLA-307020 20.57GB 7200RPM
DTLA-307030 30.73GB 7200RPM
DTLA-307045 46.11GB 7200RPM
DTLA-307060 61.49GB 7200RPM
DTLA-307075 76.86GB 7200RPM
Data transfer rate  444 Mbps
Interface transfer rate  up to 100 Mbyte/sec
Data buffer size (see note)  2048 KB
Recording density (Kbpi) 391
Track density (Ktpi) 28.35
Areal density (Gbits/square inch) 11
Note: Upper 132K used by firmware.


<< Snips from interesting Posts>>

"...forgot to mention. The tech on the phone yesterday asked me if I was running in RAID. I said yes. He asked me if I was running 24/7. I told him I'd been running my computers 24/7 since my first PC in 1991 and this is my first drive failure. I don't run a server or anything with it. It's just my home computer. He said the drives were not designed for 24/7 operation."

Post 213.
"Hi, my 45gb 75GXP was dying. It was making noises and the DFT said it was defective and needed to RMA. I read about the firmware update here, so I had a try. Well, as the guy below, I've had no problems since then. I had to do a low-level format, but my drive seems to be in a perfect shape now. Haven't benchmarked to see if it's faster, I'm happy enough now that it's not dying.
All of you with problems, should try it.

"Hi, I'm the guy from post 213. My drive has failed again. Bad sectors and noises, the same problems as before the update. So, no luck."

"How do you get the firmware update for the 75GXP? Nothing on IBM's web. "

"My 75GXP 45gig is starting to fail right now...
I read a good artice on anandtech that said the problem was caused by unequal heating of the platters."

"An informed source tells me that the following are factors in this failure:
I have asked for more details and will post when I get them.

"I'm now on my 3rd RMA for 30gb 75gxp drives. There's nothing special about my setup and definitely no overheating problems. The drives did the things enumerated below and when put to the dft test, were reported at least once with bad sectors, then the next time were not even found by dft. Average lifetime for these 3 drives was about 2-3 months and I'm awaiting the RMA for the third one atm.
I also have 2 60gxp 40gb drives. While there's certain things that seem better (faster, quieter, etc) about them, I also have rma'd both of them now for the same reasons as most of you.
After this last one, I suppose I've hit the a point somewhat past diminishing returns and will switch brands. No matter how consistent their Rma Policy, it doesn't come close to covering lost time and data. (for me, the RMA's have all averaged 2-3 weeks back to my door).

" As the head of tech for a small animation company, I've seen a lot of hardware come and go over the years, a fair amount of it in a way I'd call 'coyote ugly'. My personal DTLA-307075 belongs to that esteemed catagory."

"This may or may not help those that havn't crashed their 75 GXP's yet, so here goes. I am currently running two 45GB 75GXP's in Raid 1. About a month ago they started to make some horrible screeching noises but no failures except for occasionally sticking, with clicking sound, during file finds. The drives were stacked together with no additional cooling. After doing a little research I decided to place a thermistor on them and was stunned to see that the drives were reaching critcal temperature (50+ deg C).....Ouch!!!!"

I work @ gateway--we no longer sell any IBM drives in our PCs because of the HUGE failure rates we got (and STILL get)with the GXP75 aka TELESTO. Nearly 1/2 the RPL drives (direct sealed from IBM & stamped with "Servicable Used part" on an orange sticker are also bad ."
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