Davin

IBM Deskstar 180GXP

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Guest russofris

It would be nice to see the drive on a Pacific Digital controller to see it Overlap/Queue makes a difference to performance.

Thank you for your time,

Frank Russo

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The drive is extremely interesting. Combing Barracuda's silence with near-Caviar SE performance presents IBM with a very solid solution. And I really hope now IBM has worked on their reliability problems... :)

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Funny thing, I've got a 60GB model and it comes in a clearly different casing. I wonder if there are more differences than the cache size and casing. Hope you get the 120GB and/or 60GB for testing someday.

Oh, and the drive really is as quiet as Barracuda IV :)

Hege

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It would've been nice to see a smaller capacity under review, with the 2MB cache, so as to compare with the existing 120GXP.

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Nice review: I think the IBM 180 deserves to be put at the top of the leaderboard. The 2000 JB is OK for desktop use. But for the everything drive, I think that this new drive will set a new standard for hard drives.

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Too bad I just got me a WD1200BB... But then again I'm only using it for storage. I wonder when the 180GXP series becomes widely available in Europe. It's pretty hard to get ANY disk this time of year.

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Interesting comment Eugene:

"Our first evaluation sample turned in a rather nasty-looking sawtooth transfer rate graph. The dips are similar to those experienced while running the transfer rate test with a stray background test running; even so, this drive was tested in conditions identical to that of all others. A second sample rectified the problem. Our first unit was likely defective."

I guess we still have a 50/50 chance of getting a good IBM drive...

Impressive performance, but Big Blue reliability still makes me nervous.

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Why isnt this the second 7200 disk on the leaderboard? It is clearly better then the 120GPX, no?

Whats up with the comments about the defective disk? I think we all know he dint mean there is a 50/50 chance with IBM. But it does not look good to send out defective parts, be it to review sites or ordinary consumers. I for one think IBM still has a lot to prove with regards to the functions of there disks.

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But it does not look good to send out defective parts, be it to review sites or ordinary consumers. I for one think IBM still has a lot to prove with regards to the functions of there disks.

It could have gotten a knock in transit, maybe a fat lady sat on it or something, it could have been zapped by static electricity that made it behave oddly, who knows. Speculation of any kind is just silly when nobody KNOWS. GXP180 failures certainly aren't anywhere near 50% in the wild, it would be total and utter BS to even suggest something like that.

What I find a bit intriguing about the GXP180 is the lack of a central motor hub nut in the top cover. Previous deskstars have had it. Maybe it's a noise reduction feature, to prevent the hub to transmit vibrations straight to the cover and thus making it act as a resonator. IBM used some kind of anti-vibration material on the actuator in the GXP120 (its seeks are much more muffled than the GXP60 for example), I would not be surprised if much of, or even the entire inner side of the cover is treated this time 'round.

I'll get one of these babies for my rig (parallel ATA drives will be a dying breed in the months/years to come and IBM sold their harddrive division anyway, so I may well get one while I can), but I don't intend to pop the top first thing I do, hehe! My *speculation* will thusly remain unconfirmed until someone tells me if I'm right or not. :)

-FaaR-

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What I find a bit intriguing about the GXP180 is the lack of a central motor hub nut in the top cover. Previous deskstars have had it. Maybe it's a noise reduction feature, to prevent the hub to transmit vibrations straight to the cover and thus making it act as a resonator. IBM used some kind of anti-vibration material on the actuator in the GXP120 (its seeks are much more muffled than the GXP60 for example), I would not be surprised if much of, or even the entire inner side of the cover is treated this time 'round.

-FaaR-

The lack of a screw is because it's a fluid motor. They are rarely tied to the cover, unlike ball-bearing motors. I don't think they used an anti-vibration material in the actuator itself, but a damping material between the VCM and cover (fairly common design in drives), and quite effective for quieting seeks.

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I was hoping for more information on the "tag 'n seek" features IBM is pushing. If the technology was truely beneficial, shouldn't the 180GXP been more competitive with the WD in the SR Bootup DriveMark 2002 where higher than normal queue depths exist?

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Our first unit was likely defective.

...yes, it could be a flukey thing, but I would be interested to know how many review unit SR gets that are "slightly defective" as this drive was. Given the snake-bite sting that many people still feel about the Deathstars (my skin is still red from the last bite)...I would be willing to bet that Deathstar drives are handled nowadays with "kid-gloves" and still are showing up busted.

....reminds me of the old saying "...it don't matter how fast the car is if it's at the side of the road, dead."

...just a thought.

Spinme

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Guest Eugene
I was hoping for more information on the "tag 'n seek" features IBM is pushing.  If the technology was truely beneficial, shouldn't the 180GXP been more competitive with the WD in the SR Bootup DriveMark 2002 where higher than normal queue depths exist?

The thing is that this logic doesn't necessarily hold upon empirical evaluation of the data. Shouldn't the SCSI Barracuda 36ES2 compare more favorably to the ATA IV/V in the bootup drivemark? How about the Ultrastar 36Z15 vs the WD JB units?

Hard to say.

Regards,

Eugene

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Ah, but you said you tested it on a Promise controller; I believe they support command queuing. Is there any way to enable or disable it in the Promise BIOS ?

Perhaps you could ask Promise for more info on this ?

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Good job Eugene, you really managed to get some interesting reviews out in a hurry.

Now it would be very interesting to know about the real life performance differences between the 180GB/8MB drive and the 120GB/2MB drive. The latter is much cheaper and where I live, both drives carries a 3 year warranty. So if the performance difference isn't substantial, the 120GB version will probably fit most peoples bills. Furthermore, beeing a two platter drive, it should run both cooler and be even more silent than the 180GB drive.

When do you plan to do a 180GXP 120GB/2MB review ?

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I was missold one of these by Watford Electronics recently who told me it had an 8MB buffer (rather than the actual 2 it has). Anyway, the pain is that I didn't work this out until I installed the drive and put 10GB of data on it. Now I'd like to return the drive but have nowhere to put the stuff. :cry:

Anyway, I have a comment about the noise. I don't know if it's different on the 2mb buffer version, but when I first installed this drive it was NOISY!! I used the drivefeature utility available from IBM to go into the drive settings and set it to manage the noise level automatically (it was set to a default of a mid level of noise I think). It's now a lot quieter but I wouldn't say it was whisper quiet. In fact the other IBM drive on my system (a 60GXP 20mb) is just as quiet.

Any comment?

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Anyway, I have a comment about the noise. I don't know if it's different on the 2mb buffer version, but when I first installed this drive it was NOISY!! I used the drivefeature utility available from IBM to go into the drive settings and set it to manage the noise level automatically (it was set to a default of a mid level of noise I think). It's now a lot quieter but I wouldn't say it was whisper quiet. In fact the other IBM drive on my system (a 60GXP 20mb) is just as quiet. 

There is two kinds of drive noise. The AAM setting provided by a number of harddisk manufacturers normally reduces the noise caused by the drive heads moving around (seeking/reading/writing). The other kind of noise is the "idle" noise, i.e the whining/singing which the drive emits when it's doing nothing other than spinning the platters at 7200 RPM. I'm particularly annoyed by noise emitted during idle, because it's always there.

The reason for this is that the rest of my system is rather quiet (around 17 dBA adding the noise produced by all moving parts excluding any form of drives). I only have 3 fans in my PC and all are of the very silent type: 1x80mm Power Fluid fan with fluid bearings (21CFM/9dBa) used as case fan and 2x80mm Pabst 8412NGL fans (19.4CFM/12dBa), one located in my power-supply and the other mounted on top of my ThermalRight SLK800 CPU heatsink. This allows me to run my 1400MHz Tualatin Celeron @ 1666MHz with a lower temperature than when running the CPU at stock speed with the stock cooler.

My overclocked GeForce 4 MX440 graphics card is completely without a fan, as I have mounted the ultimate passive cooling solution: A Zalman ZM80A-HP VGA heatpipe. In such a low noise system, the idle noise from the harddisk (WD800JB) suddenly becomes a little bit annoying, even after reducing vibrations with an innovatek InnovaVIBE.

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I hope this model/series doesn't end up with consumer confidence problems from it's previous generation. I counldn't believe it when I read articles suggesting "8 hours per day" or 333 hours/month for the 120GXP. Maybe this one will boost my faith in IBM "desktop" drives. Oh well.

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I do not understand the constant bagging on IBM for the problems with the 75GXPs, as well as for the far less common (possibly normal rates with extraordinary scrutiny b/c of the 75GXPs...) problems with the 60GXPs.

There have been no such problems with the 120GXP's, and the 60GXP claims seem to be residual publicity from the 75GXP fiasco, IMHO.

Why is it that people are acting like IBM has a terrible quality issue? They closed the plant in Hungary that was responsible for the huge quality issues with the 75GXP, in case those of you who keep making anti-IBM comments were not aware. I do not know why they opened a plant there, however, because Hungarian products are notoriously poor in quality according to my friends in Eastern Europe. I only wish they were not selling the division to Hitachi. IBM literally contributed an unusually high percentage of the technology advances that have led to today's ATA drive performance levels. Their researchers at their Almaden Research Center are among the best in the world, if not THE best, and they have never had significant, unusually high volume quality problems other than the 75GXP.

Are we so quick to forget the Western Digital horror stories of the mid nineties? I have only owned five WD drives, and three of those failed within the first year. While they do hold a performance advantage on many benchmarks, it is not worth the risk to me. I will never purchase WD again. Seagate is the only drive manufacturer that seems to have maintained a clear quality lead over the years...IMHO of course.

I am looking forward to the performance levels of the 'cuda 7200.7...too bad SR's staff doesn't already have one in the lab...I am anxious to see if they will finally deliver category-leading ATA performance...and to see the improvements an all-SATA setup will bring.

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Guest russofris
Ah, but you said you tested it on a Promise controller; I believe they support command queuing. Is there any way to enable or disable it in the Promise BIOS ?

Perhaps you could ask Promise for more info on this ?

and

I was hoping for more information on the "tag 'n seek" features IBM is pushing. If the technology was truely beneficial, shouldn't the 180GXP been more competitive with the WD in the SR Bootup DriveMark 2002 where higher than normal queue depths exist?

Only Pacific Digital controllers support ATA style command queueing. As I understand it, this is something that must be implemented in hardware and cannot be added by a driver/firmware update.

Thank you for your time,

Frank Russo

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