IHS: Hard drive supply won't recover 'til third quarter

To say the floods in Thailand have wreaked havoc on hard drive supply would be an understatement. Drive makers have quoted various time frames for recovery, but their estimates vary. Market research firm IHS has now crunched some numbers that sound a little more definitive. According to IHS, the hard drive market at large will return to normal by September.

The firm says shipments of mechanical hard drives fell by 26% last quarter compared to the same time frame a year before. This quarter's shipments are expected to see a smaller decline, 13%, and second-quarter shipments should only end up 5% below their 2011 level. The tide will turn in the third quarter, when IHS expects shipments will rise by 2%.

Shipment growth is one thing, but does that mean the shortages will end? Yes, says IHS Storage Analyst Fang Zhang, who expects supply and demand will "return to balance by the end of the third quarter." Let's hope prices return to normal by then, as well. Back-to-school gaming rigs with Ivy Bridge CPUs and next-gen GPUs would be a little lackluster without oodles of cheap mechanical storage.

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