Hard drive prices in slow, slight decline

The cost of mechanical drives shot up sharply in late October, after record-setting floods in Thailand took out numerous factories. Prices have since fallen from their peaks, and we've been monitoring the situation to see when we'll be back to the days of uber-cheap storage. More than a month has passed since our last update, so it's time for another look.

The graph below illustrates the Newegg prices of numerous hard drives since the beginning of October. To make things manageable, we've only pulled pricing data from the Monday of each week.

Alas, it seems we still have a long way to go before multi-terabyte drives are readily available under $100 again. Prices have fallen slightly since our January update, but most of the cuts have been in the $10-20 range. Of the drives we're tracking, only Western Digital's Caviar Black 1TB is substantially cheaper now than it was in January.

WD's Caviar Green 3TB has actually increased in price, briefly hitting $300 before dropping down to $270. A number of other drives have held the line over the past few months, including Hitachi's Desktar 7K3000 3TB, Seagate's Barracuda XT 2TB, and Samsung's Spinpoint F3 1TB.

I've been toying around with putting together a similar graph for SSD prices, but the fact is they bounce around far too frequently. There is a clear downward trend over the last six months, though. All of the most popular SSDs have become steadily cheaper, in part thanks to heated competition between rival drive makers. With some Thai facilities still not back up to speed and the hard drive market largely split between two players—Seagate, which now owns Samsung, and WD, which is completing its deal to acquire Hitachi's storage division—I can't help but wonder if we'll ever see prices return to pre-flood levels.

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