The Deskstar is the name of a product line of computer hard drives. It was originally announced by IBM in October 1994. The line was continued by Hitachi when in 2003 it bought IBM's hard drive division and renamed it Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST).
The last of the Deskstar series produced under the IBM name was the 180GXP; the first was the DALA-3540
HGST continued the product line after the acquisition, selling the Deskstar 120GXP and Deskstar 180GXP under its brand for a short time and selling new models thereafter.
The IBM Deskstar 75GXP (as well as several other models made around the same time) became infamous for their reportedly high failure rates. This led to the drives being colloquially referred to as "Deathstars". Due to this, the drives were ranked 18th in PC World's "Worst Tech Products of All Time" feature in 2006.
Despite failures being reported within the manufacturer warranty period of three years, Michael T. Granito, Jr., an American user of IBM's 75GXP hard drives, filed a class-action lawsuit against IBM on 16 October 2001 for defects in the product causing it to "crash", with both of the drives he'd bought having failed within a short time. IBM was found to have misled its customers about the reliability of the drives. Without admitting responsibility, they settled this lawsuit in 2005, agreeing to pay $100 to every user whose Deskstar 75GXP drives had failed.
A firmware update gives a clue to some of the issues:
- Possible data corruption due to a problem with S.M.A.R.T. background operations.
- Application of wear levelling to avoid the heads dwelling too long over the same area
The drives were also known for an unusually high rate of head crashes, due to the magnetic coating soon beginning to loosen and sprinkle off from the platters, creating dust in the hard disk array and leading to crashes over large areas of the platters. The combination of two technologies that were quite new at the time, GMR heads and glass platters, are said to be largely to blame for the issues.
In addition to the failure that had led to the lawsuit, additional flaws were found in the Deskstar 60GXP, 75GXP, 120GXP and 180GXP, caused by the way the Giant Magneto Resistive read/write heads interact with the stored data, and the easily corrupted NVRAM chip. It was even discovered that IBM had used a badly designed and laid out printed circuit board and had used a soldering alloy of a poor quality on them. Over time, the contacts of the chips loosened, in turn causing firmware corruption. The circuit boards were also quite susceptible to burn damage.
For a contrary view, the Storage Review user-survey reliability database  shows that although the 75GXP is unreliable, the 180GXP is considerably less prone to failure, as is the 120GXP. However, their failure rates were found to be higher than many of the models on the market at the time.
After the filing of lawsuit, IBM unveiled the Deskstar 120GXP, and the Travelstar 60GH and 40GN on 7 November 2001. The Deskstar documentation was updated to show that the drives had been rated to 333 power-on hours per month (45 percent), leading to speculation that this was the result of the lawsuit. However, an IBM spokesperson replied that the rating was not new at the time.
A list of all Deskstar Models, including both IBM and Hitachi GST (Hitachi Global Storage Technologies) manufactured drives.
- Deskstar DALA-3540
- Deskstar DALS-3540 (SCSI)
- Deskstar DJAA-31270/31700
- Deskstar DSAA-3270/3360/3540/3720
- Deskstar DSAS-3270/3360/3540/3720 (SCSI)
- Deskstar XP
- DPES-30540/30810/31080 (SCSI)
- Deskstar 3
- Deskstar 4
- Deskstar 5
- Deskstar 8
- Deskstar 14GXP
- Deskstar 16GP
- Deskstar 22GXP
- Deskstar 25GP
- Deskstar 34GXP
- Deskstar 37GP
- Deskstar 40GV
- Deskstar 75GXP
- Deskstar 60GXP
- IC35L010AVER07, IC35L020AVER07, IC35L030AVER07, IC35L040AVER07, IC35L060AVER07
- Deskstar 120GXP
- IC35L120AVVA07-0, IC35L100AVVA07, IC35L080AVVA07-0, IC35L060AVVA07-0, IC35L040AVVA07-0, IC35L040AVVN07-0, IC35L020AVVN07-0)
- Deskstar 180GXP
- IC35L180AVV207-1, IC35L120AVV207-0, IC35L120AVV207-1, IC35L090AVV207-0, IC35L090AVV207-1, IC35L060AVV207-0 (40, 40 optimized, 60 GB), IC35L030AVV207-0)
Hitachi GST models
- Deskstar 120GXP
- Deskstar 180GXP
- Deskstar 7K80
- HDS728040PLA320, HDS728080PLA380 (SATA)
- HDS728040PLAT20, HDS728080PLAT20
- Deskstar 7K160
- HDS721616PLA380, HDS721680PLA380 (SATA)
- HDS721616PLAT80, HDS721680PLAT80
- Deskstar 7K250
- HDS722540VLAT20, HDS722580VLAT20, HDS722512VLAT20, HDS722512VLAT80, HDS722516VLAT20, HDS722516VLAT80, HDS722525VLAT80
- HDS722540VLSA80, *HDS722580VLSA80, HDS722512VLSA80, HDS722516VLSA80, HDS722525VLSA80 (SATA)
- Deskstar T7K250
- HDT722520DLA380, HDT722525DLA380, HDT722516DLA380 (SATA)
- HDT722525DLAT80, HDT722516DLAT80, HDT722520DLAT80
- Deskstar 7K400
- HDS724040KLSA80 (SATA)
- Deskstar 7K500
- Deskstar E7K500
- HDS725050KLA360, HDS725050KLA361) (SATA)
- Deskstar T7K500
- HDT725050VLAT80, HDT725040VLAT80, HDT725032VLAT80, HDT725025VLAT80
- HDT725050VLA380, HDT725040VLA380, HDT725032VLA380, HDT725025VLA380, HDT725050VLA360, HDT725040VLA360, HDT725032VLA360, HDT725025VLA360 (SATA)
- Deskstar 7K1000
- HDS721075KLA330, HDS721010KLA330 (SATA)
- Deskstar P7K500
- HDP725050GLAT80, HDP725040GLAT80, HDP725032GLAT80, HDP725025GLAT80
- HDP725050GLA380, HDP725040GLA380, HDP725032GLA380, HDP725025GLA380, HDP725050GLA360, HDP725040GLA360, HDP725032GLA360 (SATA)
- Deskstar 7K1000.B
- HDT721010SLA360, HDT721075SLA360, HDT721064SLA360, HDT721050SLA360, HDT721032SLA360, HDT721025SLA380, HDT721016SLA380 (SATA)
- Deskstar E7K1000
- HDE721010SLA330, HDE721075SLA330, HDE721050SLA330 (SATA)
- Deskstar 7K2000
- HDS722020ALA330 (SATA)
- Deskstar 7K1000.C
- HDS721010CLA332, HDS721075CLA332, HDS721064CLA332, HDS721050CLA362, HDS721032CLA362, HDS721025CLA382, HDS721016CLA382 (SATA 3Gbps)
- HDS721010CLA632, HDS721075CLA632, HDS721064CLA632, HDS721050CLA662, HDS721032CLA662, HDS721025CLA682, HDS721016CLA682 (SATA 6Gbps)
- Deskstar 5K1000
- HDS5C1010CLA382, HDS5C1050CLA382 (SATA)
- Deskstar 7K3000
- HDS723030ALA640, HDS723020BLA642, HDS723015BLA642 (SATA)
- Deskstar 5K3000
- HDS5C3030ALA630, HDS5C3020ALA632, HDS5C3015ALA632 (SATA)
- Deskstar 7K1000.D
- HDS721010DLE630, HDS721075DLE630, HDS721050DLE630, HDS721032DLE630, HDS721025DLE630 (SATA)
- ^ a b Bob Francis (October 17, 1994). "IBM's disk drive family has three new members". Infoworld: 40.
- ^ CNet review of the IBM Deskstar 75GXP
- ^ Spotlight on IBM Deathstar Again
- ^ Dan Tynan (26 May 2006), "The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time", PC World.
- ^ Users Complain About IBM's Crashing Drives
- ^ IBM hit with hard drive class action suit
- ^ Hard Drives: Recovery
- ^ Data Recovery from IBM Deskstar hard disk drives (advertising link)
- IBM Deskstar 75GXP Class Action Website on Internet Archive
- Official HGST Deskstar Page
- Dead deathstar dissected The loss of recording layer from the glass platters is clearly shown.
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