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Info HGST "Deathstar" - NOT; 15 year old HDD still going strong when it was retired

PianoMan

Senior member
Jan 28, 2006
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We finally moved my mother-in-law to a bit more recent Dell secondary desktop. She had a bunch of hand-me-down parts which suited her web browsing and Solitaire. I've started parting out her (really) old previous PC, and found this HGST Deskstar as her boot drive (totally forgot about it). SMART scan is clean, and it boots just fine into WinXP :oops: - another reason why we moved her over to a Win 10 machine. A fact that she still complains about (so used to XP).
 

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VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Actually, I don't believe that's a "DeathStar" Hitachi drive. Those were specifically the 75GXP series with the glass platters ("pixie dust").

Edit: That's not to say that a 15-year lifespan for a HDD isn't impressive; it is. Hitachi has (almost?) always made some of the best drives on the market.

Edit #2: Weren't they made by IBM, the 75GXP models? Didn't they sell them (their HDD division) to Hitachi AFTER that debacle? Your drive is probably one of the slightly-newer "fixed" models.
 
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PianoMan

Senior member
Jan 28, 2006
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Larry - there's a whole lotta info you give that I wasn't aware of; interesting. I was not aware of the nuances of the older HGST drives, just heard so much of their reputation that I probably gave them an unfair reputation. I do have a couple of their He8s in my server; I plan to replace the other aging Seagates and Toshibas with the same when the latters start to go kaput. Thanks for responding!
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Some of the more recent Toshiba 3.5" HDD models were based on Hitachi designs as well.

When Hitachi sold their HDD division to WD, the regulators made them sell some of the 3.5" technology to Toshiba.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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Actually, I don't believe that's a "DeathStar" Hitachi drive. Those were specifically the 75GXP series with the glass platters ("pixie dust").
That's right. The Deathstars in question were made by IBM. Who then sold their HDD business to Hitachi shortly afterwards. They more-or-less required active cooling to run for any length of time.

I'd be really impressed if a genuine IBM 75GXP lasted 15 years.

Edit: That's not to say that a 15-year lifespan for a HDD isn't impressive; it is. Hitachi has (almost?) always made some of the best drives on the market.
It's not that unnatural. In my own humble experience HDDs either die within the first month, or they run for years without issue. This happens all over the spectrum too. High-end drives dying quickly, while cheap-and-cheerful lasts 10+ years.

Also, Hitachi = quality
 
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Topweasel

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Oct 19, 2000
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That's right. The Deathstars in question were made by IBM. Who then sold their HDD business to Hitachi shortly afterwards. They more-or-less required active cooling to run for any length of time.

I'd be really impressed if a genuine IBM 75GXP lasted 15 years.



It's not that unnatural. In my own humble experience HDDs either die within the first month, or they run for years without issue. This happens all over the spectrum too. High-end drives dying quickly, while cheap-and-cheerful lasts 10+ years.

Also, Hitachi = quality
It was the whole lineup. From the original 45GXP up to I think the 160GXP. About 3 years worth of models. I had a 45/120/160. None of them gave me issues but at the time I was swapping drives every 8 months or so. I do wanna say I got a couple of years out of my 160 though.

The only drive I had consistently had die on me was the Seagate DM30000010 or something like that. It was a popular 3TB drive and electronically they just start failing after a certain point. I had purchased 3-4 of them because for a 3TB drive back when they were huge they were like half the price of any other 3TB drive. This was before the info on them started to come out. Eventually over a 8 month period they all started to die, first I couldn't write a new file sometimes, then certain files were inaccessible, within a week they would stop working completely.
 
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Insert_Nickname

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The only drive I had consistently had die on me was the Seagate DM30000010 or something like that. It was a popular 3TB drive and electronically they just start failing after a certain point. I had purchased 3-4 of them because for a 3TB drive back when they were huge they were like half the price of any other 3TB drive. This was before the info on them started to come out. Eventually over a 8 month period they all started to die, first I couldn't write a new file sometimes, then certain files were inaccessible, within a week they would stop working completely.
Wasn't that due to the Thailand floods? I seem to recall there was a period where every drive manufacturer had all sorts of issues because of those.

The ST3000DM's were just the most prominent example.
 

Topweasel

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Oct 19, 2000
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Wasn't that due to the Thailand floods? I seem to recall there was a period where every drive manufacturer had all sorts of issues because of those.

The ST3000DM's were just the most prominent example.
Not really those drives were the first to rebound after the flood. Partially because it was one of the first that they dual sourced in China and was able to just average them out. So while 2-4tb drives were still over $200 at the time, those 3TB drives were selling for like $140. I think other drives in the family had the same issue, specially the ones 3TB and over. But they were really popular for 1-2 years because it was just such a great deal $/GB and as a 7200 drive were an enthusiast favorite. Though I should note that the problem existed for both Thialand and Chinese variants. So this wasn't a case of one location not showing some care. It was all in the logic board and something they did wrong.
 

crashtech

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Jan 4, 2013
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While it's just anecdotal of course, I've only had 1 Hitachi die since 1994. The most that have died have been Seagates. Lots of those have died. So I just buy Hitachi/HGST spinners now when big cheap storage is required.

Edit: In the early years, I hadn't even heard of Hitachi HDDs, and it's because they apparently didn't exist yet, so it might be misleading to say "since 1994." Also I don't really know if the recently allowed full on merger with WD (WD has owned them for a while but they continued rather autonomously until last year) has affected quality.
 
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Mr Evil

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Jul 24, 2015
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I had a couple of IBM 75GXP DeathStars. I bought two to use in RAID 0 as they were substantially faster than any other drive at the time. They both developed the "click of death", and one of them died not long after. The second one remained in service for quite a few years. Though I never trusted it with anything important, it lasted until I replaced it only because it was too small to be useful anymore.
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
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While it's just anecdotal of course, I've only had 1 Hitachi die since 1994. The most that have died have been Seagates. Lots of those have died. So I just buy Hitachi/HGST spinners now when big cheap storage is required.

Edit: In the early years, I hadn't even heard of Hitachi HDDs, and it's because they apparently didn't exist yet, so it might be misleading to say "since 1994." Also I don't really know if the recently allowed full on merger with WD (WD has owned them for a while but they continued rather autonomously until last year) has affected quality.
That's been my experience with Seagate and also with Western Digital; those have been the only brands which have ever failed me. I have some HGST (pre-WD), Toshiba, and Samsung drives going on 5+ years, and all still running strong. A few notable exceptions to my rule of failures are the Seagate ST4000VN000, WD RE4, and WD Velociraptor 2.5in series of drives. Those are all a different class of drive compared to consumer level drives though.
 
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Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
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I still have my 750gb hitachi.. i believe its from 2006, still running.. I dont use it daily but sitll working
Nice, my oldest drive still in use currently is the WD Velociraptor 300GB. It's actually the boot drive of the computer I'm making this post from. It has 7.4 years of power on time on it, but only 133 power on counts, and I've owned it for about 9-10 years. The Seagate ST4000VN000 drive has 4.6 years of power on time, which is the point I moved it from an external enclosure to 24/7/365 duty. The real trooper is a 2TB Samsung drive with 6 years of power on time and 2300 power on counts. The 2TB Samsung handles regular system image backups and pulls double duty as a DVR disk for Plex.
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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Sep 28, 2005
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it was drive made by IBM not hitachi, that got the label Deathstar.

They were called IBM Deathstars, i believe when hitachi bought them out, they improved a lot in quality.

And now i live by HGST drives, He8's are my absolute favorite.
 

Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
5,239
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IBM was pretty good till the GXP lineup as well. It was on product line with one change where the failures didn't really start on the first drives till they were in the second generation. That said it was a huge screwup. How could they not have caught that the glass platters expanded to much when they got hot.

Its kind of funny in retrospect. HAMR and MAMR involve packing things so tight that they use localized heat to actually cause expansion to get to and write the data.
 

mikeford

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
5,144
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Hours and cycles, vs how well the drives were designed and various components quality at the time. I've got some OLD systems and what seems to die first is power supply or motherboards, hard drives often last a long time if they make it past the first few years.
 

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