HDD shipments rebound, exceed pre-flood levels

A little less than a year ago, devastating flooding in Thailand decimated the hard drive industry. Entire factory floors were submerged under several feet of water, drive production slowed to a crawl, and drive prices rose accordingly. The industry seems to have finally sorted out its production issues, though. IHS iSuppli predicts that hard drive makers will ship 524 million units this year, a modest increase from 502 million units in 2011.

Looking further ahead, IHS iSuppli expects moderate but continued shipment growth through 2016. By that time, HDD shipments will purportedly top 575 million units. These numbers refer only to drives shipped for the PC industry, by the way. They don’t include drive shipments for consumer electronics devices, which are expected to be down from their 2011 levels. The increasing popularity of streaming video services may be lessening the demand for local storage in products like PVRs.

Despite the fact that hard drive shipments appear to have rebounded nicely, prices remain high. We’ve been watching the slow decline of hard drive prices since last year, and there’s still a ways to go. Today’s prices are still above their pre-flood lows, often by substantial margins.

In addition to costing more, hard drives typically come with shorter warranties than they did a year ago. WD has cut the warranty period for its mainstream drives to two years, and equivalent products from Seagate are covered for only one year. Fortunately, premium models and enterprise-grade drives still come with five-year warranties.

Comments closed
    • Krogoth
    • 7 years ago

    I blame the weakening USD for the current reason as to why prices have not dropped back to pre-flood levels.

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    2TB WD sell for 99$ on newegg with free shipping and 3 year warranty.

    I can see people being upset at WD having to rebuild its factories from the flooding disaster and passing the cost to us, but 2TB where not that much cheaper before the flood.

    $89 was the going rate, with occasional coupons. Now they are 10$ more without coupons.
    “OMG, lets buy SSDs instead and show them”, drama queens…

      • ish718
      • 7 years ago

      But that price is for “slow” green drives. The WD Black prices have yet to recover.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Yup, before the flood I was picking up 2TB WD Blacks for $124.

        • Bauxite
        • 7 years ago

        I was picking up 2TB samsungs and hitachis for $60-70 shipped last summer, both of which were better suited for cheap storage servers than WD’s glitchy “green” crap.

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    According to my calcs that’s ~900 EiB which is:

    a) 12 000 the content of the deep web; and
    b) 6.3 x 10^6 the content of the surface web.

    Every year.

    That’s a heck of a lot of Linux distros.

    • Walkintarget
    • 7 years ago

    I sorta miss:

    Conner
    Quantum (except their atrocious Bigfoot line)
    Micropolis
    IBM (Deathstars are not missed tho)
    Samsung (F3 is still my fave HDD)

    I’m sure I missed a few, but the less players that are selling, the higher the prices.

    In the market for a 2-3TB drive, but no point buying until I see what BF offers this year. I still find it amazing that an external HDD is almost always cheaper than an internal one. Given the fact that in some cases the drive in the external is identical to the internal, what is up wif dat ?

      • ZGradt
      • 7 years ago

      I forgot about Conner. I always found the sound they made strangely soothing.

      Most external drives are cheap because they use the slow 5400 rpm models, don’t they? You have to be careful what you’re looking at these days because there are so many variations. It used to just be size and spin rate, but now they’ll have different # of platters, cache, SATA version, or they won’t even specify the RPMs! It’s annoying now that HDDs are used in more than just PCs.

      I narrowly avoided getting the old 2TB barracuda for my last build. Luckily I did a search on the model number. The new 2 platter mainstream 7200 rpm drives are better than the old “performance” ones in most benches.

        • Walkintarget
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]Most external drives are cheap because they use the slow 5400 rpm models, don't they? You have to be careful what you're looking at these days because there are so many variations. It used to just be size and spin rate, but now they'll have different # of platters, cache, SATA version, or they won't even specify the RPMs! It's annoying now that HDDs are used in more than just PCs.[/quote<] Sometimes, but I specifically keep my eyes peeled for that, and I found a Seagate ext. that uses the same drives as the internal priced $25 less than that same internal. Target currently has a clearance on the 2TB Seagate external enclosures that (if you can find any left) are selling for $49.99. I'm off to the local Target to see what I can find. At that price, even a 5900 rpm drive will work for my HTPC, as it is paired up with a 96GB SSD.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      What? Why do you hate the Bigfoot? They’re the spiritual predicessor to the ‘green’ drives of today! Lower performance drives with lower price/storage. Heck, we still have 5.25″ bays, maybe someone should start cranking these out for ‘nearline’ storage. 8TB for $150 at 3600 RPM. That’d be an interesting proposition.

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        The problem with this plan is that the increased air resistance of the larger platters will probably negate most of the energy savings from the slower rotational speed.

          • mcnabney
          • 7 years ago

          It isn’t just energy. Replacing 3.5″ platters with 5.2″ platters only increases surface area per platter by 225%. That might sound like a lot, but the volume of a 5.25″ drive itself is 325% of a 3.5″ drive. So staying with 3.5″ drives save energy, have faster access speeds, and have more capacity per cubic inch.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]and equivalent products from Seagate are covered for only one year.[/quote<] For shizzle? That's a direct infringement of the EU law regarding consumer electronics warranty period (minimum 2 years).

      • Bauxite
      • 7 years ago

      They will most likely have an equivalent retail boxed drive with 2, 3 or 5 year for a nice premium.

      The OEM packaged stuff would be exempt.

        • rpsgc
        • 7 years ago

        What do you mean “would be exempt”? Everything has to have a 2 year warranty. It doesn’t matter if they sell the drive wrapped around old newspaper, the law is the law.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Damn Europeans..

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            Thick French man laugh “Huh Huh Huh”

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            I always thought it was spelled “Hau hau hau!”

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            I meant a laugh like this:
            [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtlKZZDufeY&feature=plcp[/url<] Go to 1:05.

          • Bauxite
          • 7 years ago

          Everything sold to [i<]consumers[/i<], the law is never simple. You aren't an OEM, none of the hard drive makers sell to you. (I'm not defending the practice, its just reality)

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            Pretty sure OEMs are the ones that will give the minimum 2 years warranty in that situation. The end consumers needs not worry it’s little head how the OEM manages the parts upstream.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    I think these drive makers should be investigated for price-fixing. Not saying they’re guilty but it just raises the question.

      • eofpi
      • 7 years ago

      At minimum, some competition regulators dropped the ball in allowing both of the mergers to proceed.

        • ronch
        • 7 years ago

        If you ask me, it’s not just a monopoly regulators should avoid, but duopolies as well, and probably even industries where there are less than, say, 5 players (that’s a quick guess). It’s obviously not that simple especially in industries where a high barrier to entry exists (i.e. CPU and HDD).

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    Thank you Seagate/WD duopoly. I’ll be supporting the SSD vendors thank you very much.

      • Scrotos
      • 7 years ago

      How long do you think until they get bought out by Seagate and WD?

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        I’ll freak out if WD buys Intel

          • Geistbar
          • 7 years ago

          Or Samsung, for that matter.

        • Shambles
        • 7 years ago

        I’m hoping that it takes longer than it does for SSDs to become obsolete and new tech takes over creating a plethora of new companies springing up again to compete.

        • Bauxite
        • 7 years ago

        Never, at least not the big players.

        Intel, Micron and their joint flash factory aren’t getting bought out, lol.

        Samsung already dumped its HDD business to Seagate along with its slim margins, so I seriously doubt there is a credible threat there either.

      • Farting Bob
      • 7 years ago

      Yes, i am totally going to move my 6TB of local storgae over to SSD’s because HDD’s are a bit more expensive than they were a year ago!

        • Shambles
        • 7 years ago

        If you have 6TB of HDDs that all died at the same time I’d probably be leary of buying the same units again. By the time my current HDDs bite the dust and force me to buy new drives SSD prices will have tumbled quite a bit further.

        • Bauxite
        • 7 years ago

        I’ve already moved all my “local” storage on to the network, its not as local as it used to be. Don’t really miss it, spinning platters are just too slow to be a 4th level cache so now they are L5 🙂

        The gap between RAM and HDDs got to be so wide that it allowed another niche to form once flash got cheap and effective enough. Drives can stream >100MB/s without sweating, but their IOPs and random access is just plain [b<]garbage[/b<]. SSDs for systems, HDDs in a NAS or SAN.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Do you know what the ‘L’ and LAN stands for?

            • egon
            • 7 years ago

            Do you know what quotation marks mean?

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    You see, even if PCs are “dying” (they really aren’t) all those “cloud” applications that you use on your “post-PC consumer device” need to talk to servers. And servers need storage. And while it’s cool that your iWhatever uses iFlash, if you want to store petabytes/exabytes of data in the “cloud” then hard drives are still going to be around for a very very long time.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      iAgree.

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah but not the low end drives they hawk to consumers. Thats the market thats going to disappear. A 2TB SATA drive for enterprise is still a LOT of money. And most new SAN and NAS don’t use 3.5″ drives anyway. I just loaded up 2 new shelves of 25 600GB 15K NLSAS drives today, and those shelves are $35K a piece.

      You get a usable disk space of 2.1TB out of 5 drives in R5, so thats 10.5TB for $35K, and the DAE is ~ $5000. So $3000 per usable TB. Not exactly the same as $50 per TB in the consumer space.

        • Bauxite
        • 7 years ago

        Those are for database/application/VM storage that probably cares about nearby racks using it and getting decent IOPS.

        Bulk storage still uses the cheap stuff, often over quite slow networks. (much of the internet cloud crap) Otherwise they just pissed away a lot of money for no benefit.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    Die, PCs, die!!

    Fist

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      Public posting of
      [quote<] die!! + Fist[/quote<] = call from local Law Enforcement (and maybe Homeland Security too)

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        Good that somebody got the connection. I was gonna do *Fist* but thought that was too obvious.

        Hmm.. maybe I should start calling those hidden puns NeelyEggs

          • DancinJack
          • 7 years ago

          I really like the term NeelyEggs.

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            OMG kill it with fire, before it lays them. Oh sh*t, he already did. We’re scr*wed.

      • Grigory
      • 7 years ago

      Whatever happens next is all a blur
      but you remember fist can be a verb.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I guess you love typing on your tablet or running Photoshop on it.

        • stdRaichu
        • 7 years ago

        Donut bee ridiculous none likes a smart ask.Im typing this on my tablet now nd autocorrect mean I donut bake any spelling Eros. An you can do all you’re photo editing in apps likes instagram anyway no need for stupid adobe

        The penis mightier then the swore.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          It’s even funnier when you read it in your best Anaheim Albert voice.

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          Oh man, +1

          You have won the Internets today.

          • ronch
          • 7 years ago

          ROFL

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