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Data Storage Hardware

Hard Drive Prices Slide As Thai Flood Aftermath Subsides 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the dollars-and-bytes dept.
New submitter yeszomgpony writes "For the first time since the Thailand flooding, hard drive prices are finally starting to decrease. The price jump was kicked off in October when drive inventory levels plummeted 90% in less than a week. From the article: 'Over the past few weeks, hard drive prices have leveled off and have begun to drop slowly, according to Dynamite's data. "For first time, less than week after Western Digital's first [fabrication plant] went back on line, drive inventory began increasing at both distributors and ecommerce sites, and index prices began coming down a little too," Kubicki said. IDC has predicted that hard disk drive supply shortages in the wake of Thailand flooding would affect consumers, computer system manufacturers and corporate IT shops into 2013.'"
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Hard Drive Prices Slide As Thai Flood Aftermath Subsides

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  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @02:22AM (#38445428)
    Both are sliding
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @04:50AM (#38446170)
      This is just a guess, but I think that they were so frantically trying to get their production lines back up that they decided to cut some quality-control corners, and that's why they reduced the warranty period. Logically (if true), it means that nobody should buy a drive until the manufacturers get it (back on line) done right, and the warranty periods go up again (since we know they can do better).
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        While most likely true, the problem is that "warranty going back up" is going to be an issue in current dupoly.

        Also the fact that hard drives being actually unreliable will likely impact economy, as many people now rely on their work computer and laptop for some very important data while being very lax with backups. It was sorta workable before provided you switched to a new computer quickly enough, but if your statement about quality is true, it may not be enough any more. And the issue may actually be big

        • by cynyr (703126)

          Well then they will learn. Lots of us are moving to having mixed vendor mix lot raid arrays at home for just this reason.

    • Both are sliding

      If warranties are sliding, costs are *rising*.

  • by Tamran (1424955) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @02:28AM (#38445452)

    This often happens when a process goes off line for a time. It also normally works itself out after a few months.

    I'll be waiting a few months myself.

  • hmmn seems conveniently timed to be more expensive while people are buying Christmas presents and they go back to regular pricing after the Xmas shopping rush, no there is no taking advantage disaster at all here to price gouge the consumer

    • by BlueCoder (223005)

      Weather control is a bitch.

      What is surprising is that prices have come down this quickly. My only guess is that people were hording. Or WD actually was hording back inventory and understating it because they didn't know how long it would take to get their factories running again and they had to be sure they could cover their contracted orders.

      Also was an opportunity for WD to buy back some of their stock.

      But they did lost money. On the other hand we can look forward to cheaper prices and greater capacities

      • by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @05:11AM (#38446284) Homepage Journal

        My only guess is that people were hording.

        Riding round on horses terrorizing people?

        • Where did you get that definition?

          • by karnal (22275)

            http://www.yourdictionary.com/hording [yourdictionary.com]

            First hit in google?

            • Doesn't say anything about horses. Google wasn't so good to me. I wonder if other things I've (or people from my ip address as it shifts around) have searched for have tainted my results. I didn't get anything resembling a definition when I searched.

              Which sucked, because I wanted to make a joke about farding while hording. I couldn't think of one, though, so I guess it's just as well.

              Also, autocorrect sucks. I just want to context click like we used to when a word was misspelt

      • by seibed (30057)

        Huh? they're making huge profits, they didn't 'lost money'

        and no one has re-tooled anything yet, they've cleared some factories of water and gotten some equipment that wasn't to damaged working again.

  • Quality Control? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by divide overflow (599608) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @02:38AM (#38445500)
    I think I'll wait a while until the processing hardware is working perfectly, the power is stable, the factory is fully purged of airborne particulates, etc. Until then I'll let someone else do the QC testing.
  • The market will correct itself after the hype wears off consumer consciousness. Now they just are overpriced inventory like before speculation stimulated sales squeezed the flow down stream of actual flood effects. Take me to the River...
  • The WD20EARS seem to be back around $100.

    And I'm sure that others physiologically have the same urge I do.

    I've been putting off upgrading my ZFS pool long enough.

    • by mark_elf (2009518)
      It does show up on google at around $100 (CDW). When you click on the link it's really $174. Newegg is currently $162. Think I'll wait awhile.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I just did a quick google, prices on that drive are all over the map, $94 to almost $200.

  • by identity0 (77976) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @03:15AM (#38445688) Journal

    Someone should do a article or investigation into all the obscure places our hardware comes from, especially concentrations where most of one type comes from a small area.

    We only ever seem to hear about these places when something goes wrong.

    Remember that time in the '90s when a Taiwanese RAM factory caught fire, and it turned out to be a big chunk of world RAM output? Sent prices spiking for a while.

    Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

    • by mark_elf (2009518)
      Good idea. Get started!
    • Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

      Actually, the tsunami appears to have had a significant impact on both Nikon's and Canon's release schedules - outside of point-and-shoots anyway.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Only Nikon's higher end equipment is manufactured in Japan, the rest is in Thailand. This crops up quite frequently in the Nikon vs Canon flamewars as if it actually matters.

        • Only Nikon's higher end equipment is manufactured in Japan, the rest is in Thailand. This crops up quite frequently in the Nikon vs Canon flamewars as if it actually matters.

          True - and Nikon's upcoming dSLRs (the D700 and D3s/x replacements), which initially were universally expected to be released this summer and/or fall, are now likely shipping next spring because of tsunami-related delays.

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @03:43AM (#38445808) Homepage

      Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

      The camera world, OTOH, was hit pretty heavily by the tsunami. All of the big manufacturers lost significant chunks of their production capacity, and the effects are still being felt in terms of shortages, delays in introducing new models, etc...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The SonyEricsson Xperia Pro phone was seriously delayed by the tsunami. Demoed at CES in January, release was planned for mid-April originally, but it hit the shelves worldwide in October!

    • by tloh (451585) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @03:48AM (#38445836)

      Conversely, it's surprising how little the Japanese tsunami affected the tech world. I guess their industries were concentrated further south.

      I seem to recall Japanese auto makers had a tough time dealing with the earthquake/tsunami. Not only were their latest ready-to-ship inventory flooded out, substantial portions of their supply chain for parts and equipment were similarly impacted by quake/flood damage. Given how much electronics are in automobiles these days, it kind of counts doesn't it? Granted, a lot of the tech that goes into cars are not exclusive to the auto industry.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Yeah I never really understood why all these sensitive factories are built in earthquake and flood zones.

      Why don't they build them over here in the UK, where the worst we get is a bit of bad snow every 30 years, a bit of wind that sometimes knocks a few leaves of the trees, or if you're really stupid, a wet carpet because you bought a has that was built on a flood plane.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Because in the UK they have LAWS that are enforced by professional stewards of the public good... and that makes for a crappy business environment where people actually have rights and pay taxes and expect decent treatment etc etc. The truly wonderful thing about building facilities in far away places is that all those things that most people in the West take for granted are merely optional and every legal problem can be solved by means of bribes.
        • by Xest (935314)

          But does the cost of natural disasters really not outweigh the extra hassle of having to adhere to some degree of social standard?

          Or do they just write it off with their insurers? Surely the cost of insuring such factories in such places must be getting prohibitive though?

          • by Skal Tura (595728)

            Normally insurances do NOT cover force majeure such as forces of the nature. But i guess they could get one with a huge premium on it.

            Still, insurances are gambling weighted on favor of the insurer, so you are pretty much guaranteed to make a loss on long run.
            All insurances are a gamble, you are gambling that something bad happens, and insurance co is betting against, larger the pool of insured for the same thing, the bigger the pool of prizes is vs. the cost of gambling.

            As an average odds are badly against

        • by makomk (752139)

          Because in the UK they have LAWS that are enforced by professional stewards of the public good... and that makes for a crappy business environment where people actually have rights and pay taxes and expect decent treatment etc etc.

          Don't worry, I'm sure our current government will do away with all that soon enough.

          • You think they are actually worse than the last bunch? You might try reading the news (tax settlements, phone regulators, bank exchange rates, to name but a few issues that the pervious govenment stood by and watched, while the present bunch are publicly throwing a sop).

            Yay! Vote Gordon Brown - he knows how to spend your money better than you do! (Jobs for the boys is the answer -Mugabe told him so).

        • then fine move the facilities to North Korea where there are no works rights at all and they can be build just for the shipping + parts costs.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Because in the UK they have LAWS that are enforced by professional stewards of the public good.....

          Japan is exactly the same way: high cost of living, strong government, strong rights for workers, etc. Of course, Thailand isn't, but the earthquake/tsunami hit Japan. The simple fact here is that the Japanese are very strong in engineering, and the British simply aren't. The British haven't been very big on engineering since the early 20th Century; after WWII, it was all straight downhill for them. Before

        • by grim4593 (947789)
          I'll have you know that all of those legal problems can be solved by bribes in the Great US of A too!
    • CONSUMER tech wasn't necessarily affected( and as others point out automotive and camera production was adversely affected), as the only PC parts still produced in Japan are a small % of hard disks, a significant though not overwhelming amount of SSDs, and some batteries and screens for notebooks. However to say the computer industry wasn't affected isn't true at all. Japan still makes a very large % of the world's embedded chips, used in everything from portable media players to factory control systems.
    • by sootman (158191)

      > Remember that time in the '90s when a Taiwanese RAM
      > factory caught fire, and it turned out to be a big chunk of
      > world RAM output? Sent prices spiking for a while.

      IIRC, that was more or less a cover for price fixing.

      http://tech.slashdot.org/story/05/04/22/1850250/ram-manufacturers-fined-for-price-fixing [slashdot.org]

      http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/10/5429.ars [arstechnica.com]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DRAM_price_fixing [wikipedia.org]

      Many more links available if you search for 'ram price fixing'

  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @03:37AM (#38445784)
    /. disks are getting full.
  • Redundancy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vencs (1937504)

    This news reveals an important piece: The is no real redundancy in the suppliers when in comes to important parts of todays' devices. I often see* that the hard disk array suppliers keep buying them from a couple of asian outfits thinking they will be safe hands. But the asian hardware vendors themselves buy/order from the same manufacturer of platters/board/NAND creating a single point of failure scenario.

    There should be a clear visibility of the supply chain of not just the end/whole product but also th

    • Actually, I think world is full of operations where there really isn't proper redundancy or backup plan. It would simply be too complicated or expensive to make it worth it. Life works in an optimistic manner.
    • The markets seem to create such bottlenecks. Hell, regional specialization in certain types of production is one of the supposed benefits of global free-trade.

      This effect is behind one of the arguments for using government to create less "efficient" but safer, more distributed production for certain things, especially food and products vital to national defense; e.g. the market may dictate that 100% of your farmland would be better used for mining, housing, factories, basically anything but farmland, but i

  • I wonder why Seagate chose to slash their warranty even though its plants weren't affected by the floods.
  • by Guppy (12314) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @08:16AM (#38447260)

    From the article:

    Data from DRAMeXchange also showed that rush orders for SSDs increased after the Thailand flooding disrupted hard disk drive supplies.

    According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, rush orders for SSDs rose even as shipments of end-market products, including PCs, smartphones and tablet PCs, remained slugish because of slow economic conditions.

    Despite SSDs not being an exact replacement for spinning rust, it looks like the HD shortage is indeed having the predicted effects on the SSD market.

  • What can I say, market is a price discovery mechanism [slashdot.org] and this truth still holds [slashdot.org], even though so many in those previous stories disagreed because they completely miss the understanding of most basic economic principles.

    Price discovery and profit are market principles that send signals to manufacturers to increase or decrease production, and the profit is the engine of progress - goods is what people want and are willing to trade their time (money) for them, thus the more profit one is making by supplying pe

    • by geekoid (135745)

      ", the absence of government regulations prevents possibility of a monopoly"

      that is incorrect. I suggest you look at history. Robber Barons and EITC might be a good place to start.

      It is the natural position of a corporation to use it's power to stop all competition at any cost.

      "thus the distribution becomes more and more efficient with prices falling and quality increasing."
      also False.

      Why do you say that? all evidence throughout history disagrees with those statements.

  • I know that WD announced the acquisition of Hitachi's HDD business back in March of this year. Has this been completed yet? Is Hitachi still using their own factories? Were those factories also in Thailand? The reason I'm wondering is because I'm concerned about quality on the new drives made from reclaimed flooded equipment – and the fact that both WD and Seagate are slashing warranties is definitely not a good sign. Hitachi has a reasonably good reputation and I've been using one of their 2TB drives

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