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SubjectRe: National Semi 87306 IDE support
> Most of the WD drives are not that fast. Except for one flakey Dell at work
> I've been impressed with their reliability so far. I've got some that have
> run 24x7 for about 6 years now.
> Alan

Here at my company we just stopped using WD drives. The reason is
that WD support in the face of a problem is VERY bad.

It seems that a bunch of WD drives have a bug in their micro-code.
The bug allows mis-behaved BIOSes to move the drive head before the
drive has spun up to full speed. If the drive isn't spinning properly,
then the thin air cushon the floats the head safely above the disk
surface isn't quite there. The result is that you most inner tracks
(highest numbered) get physically damaged.

The fact that they shipped a bunch of flawed drives wasn't our big
complaint. The big complaint is that they never told us that there
was a problem. My company was shipping computer systems to customers
and the hard drives where failing in the field. We repeatedy asked
WD what might be wrong. They provided no information. We asked WD
to please examine the faulty drives and determine why they failed.
WD doesn't examine faulty drives, but they would be happy to exchange them.

Well, from our point of view, exchanged drives that may also fail is no
solution. When your reputation is at stake, you can't continue to
hope that the failures stop. You have to determine what the problem is
and fix it. WD would do nothing to help us.

What finally blew open what was going on is a customer in Germay found
a published article that mentioned WD's problem with their micro-code.

Eventually, WD suggested that we get a diagnostics program from their
internet ftp server and run it on the drives and see what it finds.
It found faulty tracks near the end of the disk. It also somewhat
quietly upgraded to micro-code on the drive. If you look kinda close
the program gave some indication about if the drive had the micro-code

When you add up personel time and hardware costs, not to mention the
effects on our reputation, WD has cost us a large bundle of $$. We are
no longer a WD customer. In the long run, they are too expensive.

If WD had only been bold enough to mention their bug in the beginning
there would have been very little problem and we would likely still
be buying their drives.


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