back to article Bought a new Mac Pro? 1-in-100 chance it'll destroy your data

Apple is recalling a batch of Mac Pro towers in the UK after a "small number" sold last month turned out to have defective hard disks, Channel Reg has learned. The dodgy drives put fanboys' data at risk, Apple said in its recall notice. One UK biz boss told us that he was chasing down a small number of the several hundred Mac …

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  1. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    More importantly

    Who made the HDD? I'm not a fanbois (no apple stuff at all), but I'm pretty sure they don't make HDDs.

    1. Annihilator

      Re: More importantly

      True, however IIRC they have built their own custom firmware in the past for their hard drives (iMacs) in the past.

      1. Davidoff

        they have built their own custom firmware in the past for their hard drives (iMacs)

        No, they haven't. All Apple ever did was ordering OEM drives with firmware that comes with a different device ID.

      2. Seb123

        Re: More importantly

        And an iMac is a not a Mac Pro. The HDDs in the Mac Pro are off the shelf and user replaceable. The iMac is the only one with custom firmware HDDs

    2. Chris 190

      Re: More importantly

      My Mac Pro that I got in August last year has Western Digital drives which was a nice surprise given that my last MacBook Pro had a Fujitsu drive in it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait for all the Apple-haters to make a big issue when of course it's a problem with the HDD manufacturer and how many other manufactures would offer to replace the whole system.

    1. kode
      Angel

      When I still was a mac user my 3000+ € powermac had various hardware faults during its lifetime, e.g. a faulty motherboard and a faulty graphics card already in the first two years, and Apple never offered to replace the system. I had to buy a stupid 300 € Applecare for it just because I wasn't sure when the next part would get broken.

      When Apple plays the PR game of "it just works" and "much better than the pc's" and makes its products much pricier than its pc counterparts you can expect that they must provide the quality. But of course they know that the cultists don't care, because in their eyes Apple does no wrong, it's always someone else's fault. Sure the hard drive in this article was from the 3rd party, but Apple sold it to them with a nice extra in the price.

      I can happily say that once when my powermac was one again being repaired I made an Applecare dude almost cry because the repairing was taking them forever and I told it to him not so nicely. He probably was used to starstruck Apple worshippers' apologetic calls to the mothership when their mac had *gasp* a problem. My view of Apple was already then pretty bad and it didn't take that much longer to finally get rid of all its hardware after that. Been happy with my pc's, and the thought that I once saw Apple through fanboy's eyes makes me so ashamed of myself. The least I can do is once in a while remind the fanbois that Apple is just another tech company, with a better than average marketing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I never had problems with my MacBook other than that Filevault screwed up at some point.

        However, the machine is now 2 years old and I'm certain the spin noise of the HDD is louder than it used to be. I guess I'll better swap it out for a hybrid drive, as an SSD is IMHO still too expensive..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "However, the machine is now 2 years old and I'm certain the spin noise of the HDD is louder than it used to be."

          Hard drives get louder with age. But they are cheap and extremely easy to replace in a MacBook. Plus, you can use a free program like SuperDuper! to copy the contents of your old drive to the new one and probably have the swap completely done in less than an hour...

          1. Tchou

            2yo

            You mean you pay thousands € for a system that need some hardware replacements a mere 2 years after purchase?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I can happily say that once when my powermac was one again being repaired I made an Applecare dude almost cry because the repairing was taking them forever and I told it to him not so nicely."

        The fact that you take so much pleasure in having yelled at another grown man enough to almost make him cry makes me assume that you're kind of a douchebag and I'm guessing that the situation was probably out of the Applecare guy's hands, for example, maybe they had to wait for parts or tools to be shipped from Apple.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Obviously you haven't heard of the E.U. Consumer Rights Directive (the one prior to the new 2011 proposal).

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My experience is basically exactly opposite - been a PC user for more years that I care to remember and had ready made machines (Dell, HP and many others) as well as ones I have built myself. While I agree you can get more performance per £ it is not the full cost.

        Applecare is actually fairly cheap compared to most 3rd party warranties and covers the hardware and software - fair enough if you don't need it - don't buy it - but for many normal users / small businesses being able to go into an Apple store or get assistance over the phone it is invaluable. Certainly compared to the level of support taking your PC into PC World, Currys or even John Lewis it is far superior.

        Over the last few years I have owned quite a few Macs and can certainly say they are easier to look after and seem to be more reliable. Windows 7 is good - OS X Lion is still better for most users - just nice features like built-in (and good) full disk encryption and Time Machine to help keep your data safe. Sure Windows has improved and there are plenty of great 3rd party apps (Truecrypt etc.) to add this functionality to Windows - but it's 'standard' on a Mac.

        As for the Mac hardware - sure you can pick and choose faster PC components but the Mac stuff is certainly pretty good. I'm sure you pay a bit of a premium for the design but they seem more durable as well and this is something I am using 8+ hours a day. I still use plenty of Windows PCs - they are cheap(er) but are just not made the same.

      5. mike2R
        Flame

        "I can happily say that once when my powermac was one again being repaired I made an Applecare dude almost cry because the repairing was taking them forever and I told it to him not so nicely. He probably was used to starstruck Apple worshippers' apologetic calls to the mothership when their mac had *gasp* a problem. "

        No, I think he was just stuck in a position familiar to anyone who works with the public. Dealing with an abusive customer who insists on taking out his frustrations on the nearest target, and obliged by his duty to his employer to take your shit without response. I could be generous and say that perhaps you didn't realise that he personally neither caused your problem nor had it in his power to solve, but I strongly suspect you knew that. Much more likely you are simply someone who enjoys tormenting people who are unable to defend themselves. There aren't many like you in the world thankfully, but there are enough of you that anyone who regularly deals with the public will recognise and loath the type.

        Thankfully I work for a small company, and we have decided that people like you are not worth the money they bring in. We have a rule that you can tell one customer to fuck off per year; out the door, full refund given for their purchase, all future business refused. I've not had to do it anything like once a year, but by God having the option there helps my stress levels when dealing with misanthropes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Mike2r

          You may have a policy that allows you to tell a customer to "fuck off", but by making that policy, you also have a policy that will ensure you stay a PC salesman in a company that will never make the big time, for the rest of your career. Unless, that is, you grow up and realise that it's just human nature to get annoyed when you get poor service you've payed through the nose for. That's not to excuse it, that's just how it is.

          1. mike2R

            Re: @Mike2r

            Dreams of my own 50 story tall glass fronted office tower died a long time ago. I find I'm pretty well adjusted to that.

            That said, I'm unsure how refusing to serve a small handful of extremely rude people over the years could be considered the cause of that. These are retail transactions, for fairly expensive items sure, but there's no way they've cost the company as much of a week's worth of my salary.

            Have you ever been on the wrong end of a conversation with someone who is using the power inherent in a customer-salesperson relationship to verbally abuse you? I am not talking about people with genuine complaints here.

            As an example: the guy who we fitted a new hard drive for six months previously who's printer had stopped working, and who attempted to tear me a new arsehole when I ventured the opinion that the connection between the two events was less clear than he was making out. Oh and told me I was endangering his health by being confrontational.

            If your career requires you to suck the cocks of people like that, then you are welcome to it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Mike2r

              I have been on the wrong end of people who are behaving like complete arseholes, I have worked in retail. The trick is to learn how to diffuse the situation, and make the customer think that he's got a good deal.

              I have to say that your representation of the conversation with your problem customer, doesn't really ring true since you just said you worked for a company where it was acceptable to tell customers to "fuck off".

              In short, remember: Always be nice to people on the way up, because you never know when you'll meet them on the way down.

              1. mike2R

                Re: @Mike2r

                Its true enough. I didn't actually tell him to fuck off of course. I gave him a full refund for the work we'd done and the products we'd supplied, without asking from them back, and told him we no longer wanted his business.

                The point is not to be rude, the point is to break out of the master-peon relationship that such people assume exists whenever they pull their wallet out. To make it clear to them that I have more respect for myself than that, and I don't need or want their money if it requires me to allow them to humiliate me.

                Or, with the majority of difficult customers, to know that I can do that if I want to.

                1. Mark 65 Silver badge

                  Re: @Mike2r

                  Indeed Mike, some people just aren't worth the effort. Some customers are definitely not always right.

          2. mike2R

            Re: @Mike2r

            To be clear, I don't tell the people like the poster I was replying to to fuck off. But knowing I can tell them to fuck off is an important release valve. It is my choice to continue to be polite, rather than being forced to endure it or lose my job, like that unfortunate Apple employee.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      how many other manufactures would offer to replace the whole system?

      answer - none because if it's a fault in the hdd it isn't necessary

      1. Darryl

        Re: how many other manufactures would offer to replace the whole system?

        Yup, just tell them to call their friendly neighborhood Genius(!) and they'll replace the drive. For the small amount affected, they could even offer on-site replacement.

      2. kode
        Angel

        Re: how many other manufactures would offer to replace the whole system?

        Typical Apple fanboi attitude: thinking that Apple is better without even knowing that other manufacturers many times have better warranties and repair systems. You really are brainwashed by Apple PR and filled with a feeling of superiority, some of you. Unfortunately it was quite usual among the Apple users in the mac forums I used to frequent.

      3. P. Lee Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: how many other manufactures would offer to replace the whole system?

        and which of those other manufacturers have a 12-core desktop to sell you?

        1. Davidoff
          FAIL

          Which of those other manufacturers have a 12-core desktop to sell you?

          Well, HP and Dell (and others) even sell you a 16-core desktop.With 3 years onsite warranty as standard.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: how many other manufactures would offer to replace the whole system?

          All of them, Macs use standard PC architecture these days.

      4. PassiveSmoking
        FAIL

        Re: how many other manufactures would offer to replace the whole system?

        Guess you're not very familiar with the Mac Pro then. The case is a tool-free design. You can do a drive swap in 2 minutes flat. No screwdriver required.

    3. Crazy Operations Guy
      Thumb Down

      HP and Dell off the top of my head. I've had people from both companies on-site and swapped out entire servers for me, and hundreds of hard disks. All on the standard warranty that came with the system.

      While not a computer company; I've seen NetApp at my door within 4 hours of a drive failing (We do have a nice warranty). They replaced it before I even knew it was dead...

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Eponymous Bastard

      Re: Wait for all the Apple-haters

      I worked not very hard for an Honours Degree in Classics (in the '80s), but you are a TWAT.

  3. Aaron Em

    Well done Apple

    Now just figure out your security process and you'll really be getting somewhere.

  4. Karl H

    an Apple that's rotten to the core?

    sorry , I couldn't resist ;) please forgive me fan-boys (and girls) ....

  5. Mark Allen
    Devil

    iCloud Advert

    This is just a marketing ploy to get more people to sign up to iCloud.

  6. Alan Dougherty
    Windows

    Not a mac fan

    ...but hats off for the replacment machine offer.. maybe Apple is better off without Jobs.. first, a winding in of the neck, in terms of IP suits, now this.

    What's next? A second comming?

    1. Annihilator
      IT Angle

      Re: Not a mac fan

      Erm, hats off for replacing a faulty machine within the first month of operation? I think that's more a trading standard/statutory right.

      1. Stu Wilson
        Coat

        Re: Not a mac fan

        The Sale of Goods Act 2003 indicates that "stores" must offer a refund, repair or replacement, whichever the customer chooses, so unless Apple is the retailer, this is not a factor.

        The story does specifically state that the source comes from at least two resellers.

        The manufacturer of said goods has no such limitation for an item under guarantee. if a item is found to be faulty, they the manufacturer are the arbiter of which method of resolution is required. The manufacturer can repair or replace the item, whichever they want, and the consumer has no choice in the matter.

        So Apple are going beyond their legal requirements in this matter.

      2. Alan Dougherty

        Re: Not a mac fan

        @Annihilator

        They are offering to replace machines that currently *have no fault*, just the possibility of a fault occuring. They could simply say nothing, wait for the HDD's to fail outside the 28 day limit, and then just replace the HDD's.

        But in this case they are offering to replace entire machines, even ones that have no fault.

        So again, hats off.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a mac fan

          I can confirm their replacement standards. I bought a new iMac and it came with a free piece of cruft under the glass front in the middle of the screen. Phoned up and told them, got apology, courier next day to pick it up and new same spec (custom build) sent out. I've had almost as good from Dell to be fair but they're quite quick to push you to reconditioned replacements.

  7. Annihilator
    Happy

    1 in 100

    "Bought a new Mac Pro? 1-in-100 chance it'll destroy your data"

    It's a hard disk. It's more like 100-in-100 chance it'll destroy your data, given enough time.

  8. heyrick Silver badge
    Happy

    "The dodgy drives put fanboys' data at risk, Apple said in its recall notice."

    Really? They said that? Word for word?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "The dodgy drives put fanboys' data at risk, Apple said in its recall notice."

      Apparently everyone using a Mac who thinks they're "quite good" is safe.

  9. Chronos Silver badge
    Devil

    Isn't that a "feature"...

    ...of HFS+ anyway? You know, fill it up with tunez from iWotsit and it goes mams vertical with no space left just as you finish ripping your last CD.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1-in-100 chance? Why spell it out in such a long way in a title?

    You mean a 1% chance.

  11. LinkOfHyrule
    Joke

    This aint a news story it's just hater and fanboi bait! The only people who give a flying toss about this is surely the owners of said computers - and me of course for taking the time to comment!

  12. Eponymous Bastard

    Customer service

    I have yet to meet ANY Apple consumer who, when their prized possession fails, has enjoyed anything other than a poor response from their local re-seller or those dweebs in Cupertino. Add to that the insult that they have paid an amount of money for components for which Wintel manufacturers would charge roughly half and inevitably they feel pretty disappointed or worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Customer service

      Well, you just met one, because all my experiences with the "Genius Bar" at the local Apple Store have been excellent. I've bought two used MacBooks that suffered from the chipped plastic at the front edge of the case, took them to the Apple Store, and they replaced the top case assemblies for free within 20 minutes each time.

      I also know two people who dropped their new iPhones and cracked the screens and the Apple Store replaced them for free. Of course this is not standard policy but they won two customers for life by doing that.

    2. Franklin
      Thumb Up

      Re: Customer service

      I've had splendid success on those occasions when I've had a problem with an Apple product. Had a G4 desktop system power supply go titsup on me some years back, with the machine about two weeks out of warranty, and Apple swapped out the power supply in an afternoon and didn't charge me for it even though the warranty had expired.

      One of my sweeties has an aluminum Macbook Pro system that developed a graphics fault; when she brought it in *several years out of warranty) she was told that that model had a problem with its graphics chip, and that her problem wasn't related, but they'd swap out the logic board for free anyway.

      The only company I've had as good experiences with is IBM, actually, back when they still made PCs. A client had an eServer system that had developed leaky capacitors; IBM shipped out a replacement system overnight the next day, and didn't even want the old system back.

      Worst customer service experience I ever had, by way of comparison, was with a Gateway that developed a bad RAM socket. Gateway never did honor the warranty on it, even after weeks of struggle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Customer service

        A friend just took his Macbook Pro back to an Apple store with a failed drive - it is well out of warranty, probably about 4 years old. Apple looked at it for free and are replacing the hard drive for barely more than it would cost to buy a bare drive - plus they are re-installing the OS - can't really grumble with that.

    3. Andy Watt
      FAIL

      Re: Customer service

      I'll add my voice to the "you've just met one" brigade - iPhone 3GS replaced after GPS issue, no quibble, applecare does the job. Next machine's a Mac, in part thanks to their attitude towards the consumer.

      The trolls in here really are miserable and haughty, aren't they?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    Hardly fanboys

    I doubt it's the fanboys who have them. I have a tower myself and it was eye wateringly expensive.

    On the upside, drives in my 2008 model are a doddle to swap. Really easy. Even your usual dumb ass Apple user could manage it as it's just four screws that actually don't need a screwdriver as you they are designed for finger use. All very nice. As someone who used to earn money building PC systems in the 90's and regularly used to cut my hands to shreds, has to be said the Mac towers are a pleasure to work inside as long as you are getting at the bits Apple want you to get at.

    And for the 2008 model at least, there was no Apple custom drives with special firmware. All off the shelf drives and in fact all of my drives have been upgraded since. Things may be different for SSD's though.

    As for 1 in 100 failure rate, you are looking at someone who had 5 out of 5 80GB IBM Deskstars fail on him 10 or so years ago. Frankly while those drives were failing on me I'd have happily taken 1 in 100 odds! :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hardly fanboys

      Indeed, Apple customers are often derided as fanboys or cult worshippers but they have 15% of the computer market share now and 30% of the smartphone market share. Either that's the biggest cult ever or, Occam's Razor, a lot of regular people are using Apple products.

  14. MrOrotot
    Joke

    "New" Mac Pro?

    I doubt anyone has actually bought a "new" Mac Pro (Mid 2010) recently ;)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    oops

    They probably forgot to pour the water out of those "very special deal" drives they got from Thailand.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1 in 100 - I would be surprised if that were not the normal failure rate anyway. If you had 100 desktops in your business - how many drives would you expect to replace every year - probably far more. You see these MTBF figures quotes but we have about 100 RAID edition / quality (not standard desktop) drives spinning in a data centre and it would be a nice surprise NOT to have to replace at least 1% each year.

  17. g e

    1%

    Sounds like a bloody high fail rate for HD's

    Maybe the pallet was dropped or maybe apple are just lying, they have plenty of previous in that respect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1%

      Really - so if you had 1 hard drive you would expect it to last 100 years before failing or at least to only have a 25% chance of failure after 25 years?

      If you had 100 machines in your office - do you find it that unreasonable that on average 1 hard drive may fail per year - so if you owned those machines for 5 years - perhaps 5 would fail.

      Actually sounds pretty reasonable to me.

      1. Jediben
        FAIL

        Re: 1%

        Apple aren't going to give a crap if it fails any time after the EU 2 year warranty, or any extended warranty - once it's past that you haven't much of a leg to stand on. If it's 1 in 100 that fail within the 2 years, that's a pretty terrible rate

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1%

          Well clearly they do 'give a crap' as they are replacing them now. Do you genuinely believe (in the real world) the actual failure rates for drives is around 1 in 100 over 2 years anyway.

          What you are saying is that is you had 1000 desktops (to make it a bigger scale) you would not expect 10 drives to fail over a 2 year period? When I looked after a network of a few thousand 'branded' PCs it would not seem that unreasonable for 0.5% of the drives to fail each year. I've seen worse failure rates on RAID certified / edition drives in a data centre.

          1. Jediben

            Re: 1%

            Yes they give a crap because they are failing within a MONTH of sale. Desktop drives and datacentre drives have very different workloads.

  18. jason 7
    Trollface

    Mac Pro Towers?

    So chances are only 100 folks have actually bought one?

    So lot of fuss for one person?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Mac Pro Towers?

      Doubt it since their laptops are in every movie and tv show these days, probably millions all with television/movie studios

      1. jason 7
        Facepalm

        Re: Mac Pro Towers?

        ..just...face/palm.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Bad batches of hard drives

    Bad batches of hard drives are nothing new. I remember the guys who ran the hundreds of servers at the place I once worked complaining about certain batches of drives they had purchased being better than others. These guys had hundreds of drives on the go.

    Or, as I mentioned previously, 5 IBM Deathstars purchased together all failing. Not sure if the full fall out of that was ever felt by IBM as our drives never went back as we didn't want the inevitable refurbs they would send us.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some examples of Apple

    It's nice to hear positive stories about Apple support, but I have had less than positive experinces:

    1) The system fan on my partners iMac got very loud, so we called up Apple and asked it be fixed under the system's Applecare, the answer: "No, it's not covered". I tried to persuade them it's a serious issue as it was louder than the speakers when anything above idling, but no, nothing doing.

    2) We lost the system restore disk and needed to re-install MacOS. I called up Apple and asked them if they could send us a copy of the disk. They said they would be happy, but their price was more than the current version of the OS, needless to say I wasn't very happy because the Mac was a G5 and on the last version of MacOS which was G5 compatible.

    3) A friend bought a 2nd hand refurbished iphone from the local Apple store, he got it with Applecare, when he needed it fixed it turned out that the Applecare ran from the day the phone was made, not the day he purchased it and consequently had run out.

    4) A guy at my company has a macbook from 2011, there is a known issue -it's even on the apple forums - whereby an external monitor crashes the machines dead. The "genius" at the applestore checked it out, agreed that there was a problem, then told him it would be £500 to replace the mobo and you guessed it - "It's not covered by your Applecare".

    I like Apple hardware, I like MacOS, but their customer service is a total joke.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have never used Apple but I know they are much better.

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