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Hard Drive Prices Up 150% In Less Than Two Months 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the up-and-up-and-up dept.
zyzko writes "The Register reports that hard drive prices (lowest average unit prices) have rocketed 151% from October 1 to November 14th. The worst days have seen over 5% daily price increases. This is commonly attributed to the floods in Thailand, but there are concerns of artificial price fixing and suspicion that retailers or members of the supply channel are taking advantage of the situation." The number varies when you break it down to individual drives, but it seems to be in the right ballpark. Anecdotally, the drive I picked up on Oct. 14th would cost me 135% more today. The flood waters in Thailand have partially receded, but aren't expected to be completely gone until early December. The damage to the country's economy and property is measured in the tens of billions.
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Hard Drive Prices Up 150% In Less Than Two Months

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  • No, no, no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lightknight (213164) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:17PM (#38169924) Homepage

    They aren't up 150%.
    They're up 400%.

    Never thought 500 GB drives would come back into style...and yet they're what my friends are specc'ing into their machines these days.

    • by imamac (1083405) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:20PM (#38169960)
      That's okay. We just store stuff in the cloud nowadays.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by macwhizkid (864124)

        That's okay. We just store stuff in the cloud nowadays.

        And what, pray tell, do you imagine the cloud stores data on? Turtles?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:47PM (#38170278)

          It is clouds all the way down.

        • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:48PM (#38170294)

          And what, pray tell, do you imagine the cloud stores data on? Turtles?

          It's turtles . . . all the way down.

          The trouble with storing stuff in the clouds, is that it falls back to the ground when it rains, and causes floods. But in the case of Thailand, it will get recycled back into new storage, so we will have renewable storage.

          Probably.

          Does that make it Green?

          • The trouble with storing stuff in the clouds, is that it falls back to the ground when it rains, and causes floods. But in the case of Thailand, it will get recycled back into new storage, so we will have renewable storage.

            Not only that, but with reduced CO2 emissions as a direct result of fewer spinning hard drives drawing power from the electrical grid and the increased albedo from all that data being stored in clouds, we've also solved global warming! Go team!

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Yeah, Drop Box dropped my storage 150%!!

      • Re:No, no, no (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DrVomact (726065) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:09PM (#38172214) Journal

        A more serious question occurred to me in response to the joke: Has the price of quantity purchases of hard drives skyrocketed like the retail prices? If Amazon or Google want to build another server farm, will they be paying much more than they would have paid a month ago? —If it's only the retail prices that have increased so drastically, then I'd see that as a sign that someone in the supply chain is just taking advantage of a chance to reap a windfall profit. Big purchasers naturally have more clout with suppliers than do individual buyers; if they thought they were being ripped off, they'd buy from another vendor, and no vendor wants to lose that kind of business—so no sensible vendor would jerk around a major customer by raising prices when they didn't have to. However, wholesale suppliers can't afford to sell huge quantities of drives at a loss, so if there truly is a general shortage of drives, they'd all have to raise prices for even the big buyers. Can anyone involved in purchasing large lots of hard drives supply any insight with regard to this question?

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          The biggest cost of new hard drives, will be rebuilding the hard disk drive plants in regions, with stable weather, low tectonic incidence and politically stable. That the hard disk drive plants were built in flood prone locations means that a group of people need a good butt kicking. Brings to mind things like saved pennies to spend pounds and stupid is as stupid does.

    • Re:No, no, no (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:21PM (#38169988)

      I read an article last week about how they are on average, 25% more expensive. Looking at many of the online retailers and some local vendors, most are 3x more expensive.

      I bought a 2TB WD20EARS in September for $69, they are $299 at every local store now. The WD RE4 and Seagate ES drives are $399 for 2TB, which is only about 2x.

    • I bought a 3TB Deskstar for $130 on Sept 28. Current price is now $250.

      The current price is 192% of the old price.
      That's a price increase of 92%. Colloquially, the price is up 92%.

      • by skids (119237)

        Back during the flash glut I bought a couple 64G USB sticks. They have to be the only piece of computer equipment I have ever owned that appreciated in value.

        Congrats to anyone who bought a large number of drives for a home fileserver before they spiked but never got around to installing them.

      • You do know that there is more than on drive out there, right? Some of the WD2TB drives went from $70 to $200.
    • Re:No, no, no (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:50PM (#38172424)
      The funny thing SAS drives haven't gone up much at all so I've ended up with a system booting off SSD and storing on SAS which is within about $20 of doing the same thing with all SATA. That sucks in a way because the box with the least important job ends up being the fastest.
    • I'm just amazed that for the first time in my entire life I'm on the RIGHT side of a price shift! I've always been the unlucky bastard that bought the $200 drive that ended up $80 two weeks later. the bitch is if Samsung hadn't have sold their HDD business i'd probably be screwed right along with everybody else, but when i heard they were gonna be gone and saw 1Tb EcoDrives for $35 and 2Tb for $65 I went ahead and bought me 6Tb worth of drives just so my desktops would all be Samsung. I just looked online t

  • What a crock. (Score:3, Informative)

    by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:18PM (#38169940)

    I'm too lazy to look it up but the figure I remember seeing is that 25% of the world's hard drive manufacturing capacity has been impacted by the floods so the markup shouldn't be anything like 150%. It's just like the time RAM prices went thru the roof years ago, far higher than should have been caused by whatever problem caused a temporary shortage and they stayed artificially inflated for years. Same thing's going to happen with hard drives. Manufacturers will milk this for years.

    • Re:What a crock. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:23PM (#38170020)

      I'm too lazy to look it up but the figure I remember seeing is that 25% of the world's hard drive manufacturing capacity has been impacted by the floods so the markup shouldn't be anything like 150%.

      Why not? If demand is sufficiently inelastic, prices could go up 1000% if even 5% of the production capacity disappears.

      • Re:What a crock. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:45PM (#38170262)

        Actually, I think demand is very elastic at this point. It spiked like crazy over the last few weeks as people scrambled to buy as many drives as they could lay their hands on before all of the vendors jacked their prices. The high inflation caused a run on the existing supply. Now demand is going to plunge as people who were adding capacity, just because they could, stop buying drives. But I don't expect prices to come down even as the supply recovers. Insurance will pay to rebuild (and relocate if they're smart) the factories but we'll have inflated prices for a long time.

        • Re:What a crock. (Score:5, Informative)

          by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Friday November 25, 2011 @07:06PM (#38170452)

          Well, hard drives are commodities, like orange juice, gas, oil, etc.

          Prices are inflated now simply because everyone's got the "OMG I NEED A DRIVE NOW!!!" fever. Then again, drives today aren't any more expensive than they were just a year ago.

          So if you have no need for a spare hard drive, don't be a sucker and buy now. If you find a sale, great, if not, hold off.

          And yes, drive supplies will rebound because of one fact - a 2TB spinning rust costs way less than a 2TB SSD, and since drives are going 3TB+, I don't see SSDs catching up until drive size expansion slows below Moore's law. (SSD's fundamental capacity is driven by Moore's law - double the transistors in 18 months - double the capacity - SLC or MLC).

          I'm guessing everyone's in a frenzy, but they'll recover in a few months and if it's been sitting on the shelf the whole time while you "stocked up", you'll look silly.

          In short - buy if you really need it (and take notice in that drive prices really aren't sky high - they're just where they were last year or the year before). If you don't, just wait it out.

          We thought we'd be stuck with $150 barrels of oil. They dropped under half that a year later.

          • Yes and no, some drives have tripled in price while others have seen modest gains. Checking local stores, I see that the WD Caviar Green 2T drive that used to be on sale for $65 every week is now $180. However, the WD Caviar Green 3T drive that used to be in the $220 range is now... *drumroll* ...$250. Now, I'm pretty sure the 2T drive was significantly less than $180 when it was released several years ago.

            It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I guess people are still buying the 2T drives instead of the

            • by ultranova (717540)

              It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I guess people are still buying the 2T drives instead of the 3T drives, even though the latter actually is ~10% cheaper per gig now.

              You can't boot from a 3T drive under Windows unless you have EFI instead of the normal PC BIOS, which most systems don't have. So once again, it's all Microsoft's fault.

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                Sure you can, you just stick in the Win 7 DVD and set the partition size to less than 2.2Tb. why would you want a 3Tb C: drive anyway? What the hell are you installing that you need THAT kind of space for the OS? I personally put 300Gb for Windows 7, 90Gb for WinXP, 2Tb for my data drive and 540 for my video and audio editing drive.

                As for TFA you know its bad when Tigerdirect is using SSDs on its $200 barebone kits now. I'm glad i got my drives when they were cheap, along with having a few 200Gb and 320gb f

          • I think the picture is a little more complicated than that. Supplies in certain segments of the hard drive industry may never recover because SSDs do a better job. One such segment is really high performance drives(15k RPM). Given SSDs higher density when compared to 15k rpm drives, the total cost of ownership is already favoring SSDs, so any plant that made parts for the 15k rpm drives may never be rebuilt. The remaining factories will probably only produce enough product to produce spares parts and th
          • by DrVomact (726065) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @01:31AM (#38172880) Journal

            And yes, drive supplies will rebound because of one fact - a 2TB spinning rust costs way less than a 2TB SSD, and since drives are going 3TB+, I don't see SSDs catching up until drive size expansion slows below Moore's law. (SSD's fundamental capacity is driven by Moore's law - double the transistors in 18 months - double the capacity - SLC or MLC).

            That's an interesting point—that SSD capacity is driven by Moore's law, but spinning disk drives are not. If that's true, you might think that SSDs would overtake spinning platters in a few years, wouldn't you? So platters would be out and SSDs would be the ubiquitous storage medium that hard drives are now. (I realize that this point is tangential to your main comment, and that you didn't actually assert it strongly. So I'm not really arguing with you—I just find the idea interesting, and wanted to spend a little time thinking about it.)

            So when will solid state devices overtake mechanical hard drives? The first thing to consider is that while mechanical drives are not subject to Moore's Law, this technology has had an extraordinarily long life, marked by a pretty amazing growth in data capacity, accompanied by a dramatic reduction in size and power requirements, as well as an increase in I/O rates and a steep decline in prices. Being lazy, I just took a look at the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on the history of hard drives. It's a pretty amazing story.

            When they were first invented at IBM in 1956, disk drives had a capacity of 5 Megabytes, and were the size of about 6 or 7 full-size refrigerators placed back-to-back. (See the Wikipedia image [wikipedia.org] of this device.) About 10 years later, IBM's multi-platter drives were up to 29 Meg. This is not quite what you'd get from a device that follows Moore's law, of course: disk drives grew in capacity a factor of 6; Moore's law would have dictated that they increase by a factor of about 20 over the same 10 years.

            However, the growth between 1970 and 1980 was more spectacular. In 1970, the biggest IBM "disk pack" had a capacity of 100 Meg. By 1980, we were up to 2.52 Gigabytes...a capacity increase of about 25 times—a growth in excess of Moore's law!. Significantly, the 1980 device was down to the size of a single refrigerator, and only cost $40,000.

            The Wikipedia article has a graph [wikipedia.org] that plots the growth in capacity of hard drives between 1980 and the present (2011). According to the graph, hard drives have increased in capacity at the rate of about 100 times every ten years. Wow.

            Actually, I could have saved myself some time (and painful arithmetic) by just finding the article on Kryder's Law first. Mark Kryder published an article in Scientific American in 2005, in which he asserted that hard drive capacity doubles annually. From the article:

            A PhysOrg.com article reports on a 2009 study by Mark Kryder.[4] According to the report, if hard drives continue to progress at their current pace, then in 2020 a two-platter, 2.5-inch disk drive will be capable of storing more than 14 terabytes(TB) and will cost about $40.

            So maybe the answer to the question, "When will solid state devices replace disk drives?" is, "never"!

            My own experiences incline me to be skeptical of claims that hard drives will be replaced any time soon by something totally different. Back in 1982, when I first decided to make my living "doing stuff with computers", I took a Data Processing 100 class at the local junior college (hey, tuition was cheap, as I was teaching Philosophy at the same institution). The textbook for the course asserted that while spinning platters were now the best method of online data storage (you put all the stuff you didn't absolutely need to ac

        • Newegg is trying to fight against that, and its rather annoying. They will only sell a single drive per customer. They had no problem selling me motherboards, processors, and superMicro server chassis.. but when I asked for 12 drives (two 6 bay servers) even over the phone.. they said no..

          Very annoying.. I wasn't trying to 'stock up' I needed them for a project..

      • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Friday November 25, 2011 @08:24PM (#38171156)

        Just to add to the parent, you also have to factor in contractually obligated allocations. Western Digital and Seagate already signed contracts with OEMs for Q4 (if not beyond) - at this point they're locked into selling a specific number of drives at a specific price. Short of going bankrupt, breach of contract is rarely the better option.

        So while there may be a 25% shortage overall, what we're really looking at is supplies and prices in the retail market (anyone selling "retail" drives), and the spot market (OEMs, white box builders, and e-tailers like Amazon that sell "OEM" drives), the two of which are for all intents and purposes the open market. The result of those OEM contracts means that the entire 25% shortage needs to be absorbed by the open market. And since most hard drives are sold on contract to OEMs in the first place, the actual shortage in the open market is easily 50% if not more.

        This compounded with the portion of drive sales that are inelastic, and some dealer panic/greed are what has driven up prices so high. 150% in these circumstances is quite high (and there's no getting around that), but it's completely rational for such a major shortage.

        If it makes you feel any better, the OEMs will be getting screwed when they start their new contracts. At that point the OEM and open markets will be back in equilibrium - OEMs won't be able to suck up drives for cheap - and the shortage will be better shared by both parties. Drives will still be expensive, but they shouldn't be quite as expensive as they are now.

        • by msauve (701917)

          Western Digital and Seagate already signed contracts with OEMs for Q4 (if not beyond) - at this point they're locked into selling a specific number of drives at a specific price. Short of going bankrupt, breach of contract is rarely the better option.

          Although I don't have the specific knowledge of WDC and Seagate contracts you profess, many/most contracts have "outs" for act-of-god situations, which would apply here.

          • by Kjella (173770) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:14PM (#38172240) Homepage

            Although I don't have the specific knowledge of WDC and Seagate contracts you profess, many/most contracts have "outs" for act-of-god situations, which would apply here.

            Yes, but to invoke "force majeure" - as I know it best - you must be truly unable to supply. You can't just bail on your OEM contracts because it'd be more profitable to sell them on the open market, so the open market has to absorb the whole shortage first and only then, if you're still unable to supply the OEM market can you invoke it. The OEMs would probably also have rights to a delayed fulfillment so any backlog must be cleared first before they can supply the rest of the market. So while what you say is true, it doesn't really change anything the GP said. It really only shields the HDD manufacturers from liability due to breach of contract.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That would require some sort of cartel-like behaviour, wouldn't it? And maybe there might be some of that, implicitly, without the major players explicitly forming an illegal cartel...

      Anyway, this reminds me of how the petrol stations around here say they have to sell of their buffer first, when they don't lower prices if the price of oil goes down, but when the price of oil goes up they don't seem to have any buffers.

      • That's because most stations buy on consignment.when gas takes a steep dip, they still have to sell at the higher price. When gas goes up, they get a brief chance to pad the books until they have to buy the next tank. Here in the US most stations only make about 10-15 cents per gallon net profit. They don't have padding to cover credit card fees by percent, let alone the price changes. Service stations are MLM at its best... That's how the parent companies get rich.

    • Re:What a crock. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lightknight (213164) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:38PM (#38170194) Homepage

      Not going to happen.

      Last I checked, there isn't much overlap for HD / SSD manufacturers. If HD prices remain high, SSD manufacturers will have the advantage.

      Which means the HD manufacturers may go the way of the dinosaur in a few years.

      • Yes, people who don't need a lot of capacity will switch to SSD. But even at the current inflated prices, HDDs still give you a much bigger bang for the buck in terms of price/GB.
    • by epine (68316)

      I'm too lazy to look it up but the figure I remember seeing is that 25% of the world's hard drive manufacturing capacity has been impacted by the floods so the markup shouldn't be anything like 150%.

      You do know that supply and demand is diagrammed with curves don't you? And since we live in a complex world where anything you make has a thousand inputs, the concept of leverage applies here: the other million dollars you spend on your server farm isn't worth much minus all the hard drives. Some people are

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      No, this is the traditional Christmas period.
      Prices are artificially inflated at that time of the year, probably to drive sales on SSD.
      It's similar on other products.

      Prices will decrease after Christmas.

    • by ratboy666 (104074)

      Well, I'm lazy too...

      So, in the same spirit, I won't bother with a reference.

      The motor spindle component manufacturing for hard drives has been almost 100% wiped out.

      And, when the floods are under control, it will be time for another monsoon season.

      It really doesn't look good -- prices on hard drives are going up, and up, and are staying there for (my guess) two to three years.

      It really is time to look at SSDs.

  • by TheReaperD (937405) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:18PM (#38169946)

    One advantage of all of this is that SSD drives will start to look more attractive price wise. To me, this is a good thing as people start purchasing SSDs the price will start coming down as the cost of components get more commoditised. I would not mind seeing spindle hard drives being a relic of the past.

    • by crazypip666 (930562) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:23PM (#38170008)
      That is only really true for primary drives. Many people have been buying primary drives which are significantly larger than they need because prices are so low. Now this will push people who are on the fence about which way to go to buy SSDs which are more appropriately sized for a primary drive, but for anyone who wants storage space, the price per GB still makes hard drives the better buy.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by lightknight (213164)

        Not if the price for SSDs keep dropping.

        Once prices for 1 TB SSDs drop to something nice, HD will be shown the door.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Once prices for 1 TB SSDs drop to something nice, HD will be shown the door.

          For most people who don't play games and don't store big video files, current sub-$100 SSDs are good enough; 40-60GB will store the OS and office apps and some documents and pictures. For most people who don't fit in that category, 1TB is not enough.

          • Agreed. Which is why we buy multiple 1 TB drives. :-)

          • For most people who don't fit in that category, 1TB is not enough.

            Tell me about it! I've got all-in-all about 3.5TB here right now and I'm constantly running out of space!

            • Slightly more than 4 TB here, with a brand new 240 GB SSD patiently waiting for me in the UPS sorting facility several miles from my home...which I will be breaking into later on tonight to get.

              UPS takes one day off for Christmas, but two days for Thanksgiving (giving them a four day weekend). Now, I am all for lengthy vacations, but my current 128GB SSD is down to 6 GB of free space, and that's a fair chance that won't last the weekend...

          • But what am I supposed to sync my 64GB iPad to?

        • Not until we get that whole "exactly how reliable are SSDs and what is their failure mode" thing worked out, they wont. They will get a lot more popular, but Im keeping my non-IO-bound servers on mechanical drives until we get that figured out. Right now there seems to be way too much uncertainty.

          At least with a mechanical drive you have some indication (SMART, bad sectors, slowing motor) that its about to die, and you have some reasonable expectation that it could last 5+ years; the same is not true of S

    • by Guspaz (556486)

      A combination of the Thailand floods, Black Friday sales, and mail-in rebates created a bizarre situation today... A class of SSDs dropped lower in price per-gig than a class of traditional HDDs...

      15K RPM SAS drives aren't cheap, and since the flood, they're over $1 per gig. NewEgg was charging ~$1.44 per gig or more last I checked, for the Cheetah models.

      Today, NCIX had Intel 320 SSDs on sale with MIR bringing the 80, 120, and 160GB models down to slightly under $1 per GB after MIR...

      Yes, it's comparing th

      • This isn't going to help, of course; but the high end of HDDs was already being squeezed well before the $/GB numbers said that they should. The 15k RPMs have never been very exciting as a bulk storage option, especially now that you can throw dirt cheap SATA drives onto SAS controllers if you want and they get absolutely destroyed on IOPs/$ compared to SSDs. The SSDs in that class are still pretty pricey; but some of them can displace an entire shelf of 15k drives if IOPs are your primary concern...
        • by Guspaz (556486)

          It's getting there, sure, but not quite. SSDs are coming down in costs, but you can't price consumer SSDs based on giant MIRs and black friday sales when you're really in need of enterprise-grade SSDs ;)

          But yeah, it's getting closer and closer. Linode uses nothing but 15K RPM SAS drives in RAID10, I figure eventually they'll probably start moving towards SSDs if they don't decide to go SATA.

          Throwing dirt cheap SATA drives (well, dirt cheap before the flood) onto SAS controllers is exactly what I do on my ho

    • by bfree (113420)
      It's also making BD-R(E) look a lot more appealing. On a 5 year graph I don't expect this event to have much impact on SSD prices, however I do wonder if it might finally bring BD the volume required to get it down to being (at worst) the same price per GB as DVD.
  • Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:19PM (#38169958) Homepage Journal

    This is the reverse situation to a new product hitting the market. When LCDs or Plasma screens first came out, they were basically unaffordable by anybody except the richest people and companies, now everybody has one.

    This is the same situation in reverse - the production capacity fell and the demand needs to recalibrate the prices.

    Of-course don't forget that there is a fixed cost associated with rebuilding the factories and all the new equipment and tools now are more expensive, given so few harddrive manufacturers even exist and all of the inflation that's rampant in the world.

    If the price holds, it sends a message to rebuild the production and maybe add even more, clearly there is unfulfilled demand at lower prices.

    • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lightknight (213164) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:42PM (#38170238) Homepage

      There's no reason to rebuild. The HD market is under assault from the SSD market; hence, investing in HD manufacturing is seen as a losing proposition.

      The current HD manufacturers can milk the shortage for all its worth, then their companies will die and be forgotten.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Could china's stranglehold on rare earths have prompted any of the present price increases?

        • Could it have increased the price? Probably.
          Could it have increased the price by this much? Unlikely.

          Hard drives use, to the best of my knowledge, only a small amount of rare-earths (I believe the magnets are typically Neodymium). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium_magnet

          Perhaps a better way of saying this is, the introduction and competition from hybrid vehicles (which use Nd) should have had a more profound impact on the market than a more limited supply from China; have hybrid vehicle prices tripled?

  • Here in Germany (Score:5, Informative)

    by maweki (999634) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:25PM (#38170044) Homepage
    prices are up 300%. I work at a B2B-reseller and the 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green which was 0.05€/GB in September is now up to 0.16€/GB. Other drives are similar. Some drives have even seen 400%.
  • by macwhizkid (864124) on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:30PM (#38170102)

    hard drive prices (lowest average unit prices) have rocketed 151% from October 1 to November 14th... The number varies when you break it down to individual drives, but it seems to be in the right ballpark.

    (emphasis mine)

    Yes, I'm glad we have rediscovered what it means to find an "average". [facepalm]

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:32PM (#38170126) Homepage

    Price fixing is nothing new in the manufacturing world. I would not be surprised one bit. In my case, I've made a very simple and rash decision: I'm not buying any hard drives until prices come back down to normal. A SAS expander I built two months ago for $15k would now cost $30k. My clients aren't going for that, so I'm waiting it out.

    The manufacturers knew what they were getting into, when they built their factories on flood plains. The burden for that mistake should not be born by the customer.

  • RE: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:33PM (#38170136)

    The main reason is because of the floods at WD, the only major supplier of heads is Seagate in Derry. They are pushing up their prices to the makers because they can because demand is higher on them. A temporary blip because WD will be back up and running soon (i.e. by the end of 2012). Still, SSD's don't have the reliability nor will the increased price of HDD's scare people off, SSD's are still expensive.

    • by denzacar (181829) on Friday November 25, 2011 @07:19PM (#38170588) Journal

      Or by March 2012, tops. [nationmultimedia.com]

      Personally, I'd rather take the estimates of people doing their best to fix the problem... [marketwatch.com]

      Plant managers at Nidec Corp. (6594), which makes motors for disk drives and also has a factory at Rajana, decided not to wait for the water to subside at its seven flooded factories. According to company spokesman Masashiro Nagayasu, they cut a hole in the roof of the Rajana factory, sent divers into the toxin-laden waters to unbolt some heavy equipment, and lifted it onto waiting boats. Some of the equipment is now being used in Nidec factories in China and the Philippines.

      ...than of CEOs like Seagate's Stephen Luczo [bloomberg.com] who are gleefully rubbing their hands together at the price hike, predicting a year-long shortage of hard-drives.

      "People are going to appreciate the complexity of this business," he says.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday November 25, 2011 @07:40PM (#38170760)

        Jesus Christ. If that ain't the gold-standard of examples for why american business is fucked I don't know what is - productivity vs rent-seeking.

        • Yes we should force our employees to swim through toxic water so that production doesn't slip this quarter. THAT is the kind of society that we should be trying to create. Hopefully the west can work smarter, and not just more dangerously as you seem to be advocating.

          Im sure they have wonderful medical plans to deal with the employee getting sick as well.

          • Yes we should force our employees to swim through toxic water so that production doesn't slip this quarter.

            Get a grip. It's called a drysuit.

  • Only 150%? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @06:53PM (#38170344)

    As a Seagate reseller in Canada, our cost on the most popular model we sell is up 191% (roughly triple). Seagate didn't even have a factory in the flood. WD (who did) is typically even higher, and many models simply can't be bought anywhere for any price.

  • For some reason, when the STAN500100 appeared in Sept for $99 I jumped on it.

    For once I am on the right side of a price change. The $99 with free shipping I got is looking pretty good now.
  • by Genda (560240) <marietNO@SPAMgot.net> on Friday November 25, 2011 @07:55PM (#38170890) Journal

    Is any of this surprising??? A caribou in Alaska passes gas and ALL gas prices jump forty cents in the US (of course there's no price fixing or collusion going on.) In 2000 Enron screwed with the supply of electricity to the western US, precipitating the Dot Com crash (the tech bubble sustained the collapse, but it was the rolling black outs that started massive business failures.) Enron's affiliates were able to bump prices to mind numbing levels, then got caught with internal memos laughing about how they reamed California for billions. An article comes out that oat bran reduces cholesterol and suddenly a bag of granola needs to be stored in a bank deposit box.

    We are haunted daily by "Whatever the market will bear..." [rhdefense.com], which is just code for "The piggies are at the trough and if I don't gouge out a piece for myself I'll miss out on the feeding frenzy." Sadly it has become the norm. Our society has put profit ahead of everything, ahead of dignity, compassion, even sanity. We've been caught in a terrible race to the bottom. This is why we debate about the sane limits to gutting economies and ecosystems. Because somebody, somewhere isn't yet done raping what remains of some vital resource.

    Perhaps its time we acknowledged the darker aspects of primate behavior and started designing our society to limit the damage they can do. Checks and balances were expressly designed into our government to limit the dangers of concentrated power. Sadly we've allowed power to concentrate elsewhere and the wisdom of our founding fathers now ring louder than ever before. Corporation is the failure and its time to put things right. The price of drives is just a blip on a landscape of unbridled greed and avarice destroying the very things that make life worth living.

  • Best Buy Canada I bought a Seagate Expansion 500G for $69.99 about three months ago. Its $99 now., the 1TB was $99 and now is $139.99

  • by The Optimizer (14168) on Friday November 25, 2011 @08:06PM (#38171018)

    Something I noticed for the last three weeks was the absence of hard drives specials or sales in the weekly adverts from retailers like Fry's electronics.

    When newegg sent out their "November Madness" and "Black Friday" emails to subscribes, there was *not a single* hard drive to be found in the sales.

    Normally I'd try for a witty or insightful comment here, but I just don't have much more to say as I don't know if it more due to profit taking on the retailer's part, or if they are more concerned about running short/out of supply in the near future.

    • Me thinks it's a combination of a number of factors, resulting in a 'perfect storm.'

      Western currencies aren't doing so hot compared to Eastern currencies. That hurts.
      China has cut back on exporting of rare-earths. That hurts.
      Gas prices have probably increased the demand for hybrid vehicles, which use Nd, a typical element also used by HD manufacturers. More competition for limited resources. That probably doesn't help.
      Floods have occurred in Thailand, knocking out 25% of the manufacturing capacity for HDs.

  • What a windfall for those mom and pop stores with unsaleable old stock in the corner, like 20-30-40 GB HDs. Jr can have a home build for Xmas, just that disk drive #2 is going to have to wait awhile.
  • I bought a 3TB drive from Best Buy for $150 or so. By the time I received it in the mail, about 3 or 4 days later, the price was already up to $250. Glad I bought when I did.
  • by xlsior (524145) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:30PM (#38172006) Homepage
    Expect it to take a long time for prices to come down to the 'old' levels again: We're down to just three harddrive manufacturers in the world now, and only two of those make 3.5" drives.

    - Western digital (which just got the greenlight to acquire the Hitatchi HDD division)
    - Seagate (which took took over the samsung HDD division)
    - Toshiba (which only makes 2.5" HDDs)

    The only real pressure to drop prices again would come from competition with SSDs, and those can't compete at all in in TB-range

    Now, if you are in the market for a new HDD, your current best bet is to look at the brick and mortar department stores: Much of their remaining on-the-shelf stock hasn't caught up to the rapidly raises prices yet, which currently makes them a lot cheaper than online vendors... Provided you can still find them. Earlier today I saw a bunch of 1.5TB western digital elements drives on the shelf in Target for $79, while Amazon.com wants $129 for the same drive. 2TB for $89, instead of $159. But with the christmas shopping season starting, I'm sure that the department stores will run out of their cheap stock pretty soon.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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