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Data Storage The Almighty Buck Hardware

Higher Hard Drive Prices Are the New Normal 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
An anonymous reader tips an article looking at the state of HDD pricing now that the market has had time to recover from the flooding in Thailand and a round of consolidation among manufacturers. Prices have certainly declined from the high they reached during the flooding, but they've stabilized a bit higher than they were beforehand. Quoting: "Are things going to change any time soon? We doubt it. WD and Seagate both reported record profits this past quarter. In Q1 2011, Western Digital reported net profit of $146M against sales of $2.3B while Seagate recorded $2.7B in revenue and $93 million in net income. That’s a net profit margin of 6% and 3%, respectively. For this past quarter, Western Digital reported sales of $3B (thanks in part to its acquisition of Hitachi) and a net income of $483 million, while Seagate hit $4.4B in revenue and $1.1B in profits. Net margin was 16% and 37% respectively. With profit margins like this, the hard drive manufacturers are going to be loath to cut prices. After years of barely making profits, the Thailand floods are the best excuse ever to drive record income for a few quarters. All of this means that while we expect prices to gradually decline, holding off on a necessary purchase doesn’t make much sense."
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Higher Hard Drive Prices Are the New Normal

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  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by angryfirelord (1082111) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:06PM (#40110265)
    You mean, companies will collude together in order to raise the price of goods in that market? I'm shocked, shocked I tell ya!
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:17PM (#40110381)

      You mean, companies will collude together in order to raise the price of goods in that market?

      When there are only two or three competitors in a market, actual collusion is no longer necessary. They simply have an unwritten and unspoken agreement to keep prices where they are. Neither WD nor Seagate has anything to gain by cutting prices that they know their (only) competitor will match.

      Regulators should have never allowed the Hitachi acquisition to happen. The HDD industry was already over consolidated.

      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alexander_686 (957440) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:18PM (#40111189)

        Just to extend the argument, Game Theory suggests that there are 2 stables states when you get down to 2 or 3 big players. Either cozy (Biggest firm is the price leader, everybody follows suit. Nobody wants a war) or fierce - no quarter is given by either side.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        I also have this theory that they really want to push for SSDs and are not interested in improving the prices on regular HDDs. I observed that 1 TB laptops are hard to find if the same shop sells high-end SSD-equiped laptops too. It may be anecdotal, I have observed that in 3 shops. Has anyone made the same observation ?
        • I doubt it. They're corporations. What they really want is return on investment. They're unlikley to have any great religion with regard to a specific technology. If HDD's do that, then thats what they want to push. If SSDs, then that's what they'll push. And what is in the manufacturer's best interest may not be the same as what's in the retailer's best interest.

          On top of this, add the fact that what the consumer wants may or may not be the most profitable product, and may or may not be what's actua
      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by R3d Jack (1107235) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:22PM (#40111259)

        The HDD industry was already over consolidated.

        Really, Really? The previous margins were tiny; the current margins are thin. I like low prices, too, but I also like companies that produce quality products to stay in business...

        • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by localman57 (1340533) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:41PM (#40111531)
          Agreed. What you actually want is a business landscape that atracts the occasional new competitor. That's what drives innovation. Look at the fire the Athlon lit under Intel 10 years ago.
        • by Uberbah (647458)

          Duh, duh? Aside from keeping prices higher than they were before the flood, there's also the fact that Segate felt comfortable enough in their marketshare to drop their five year warranty on drives. Like Verizon adding a $30 "upgrade" fee, that should be telling you something about the competitive state of a market.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        When there are only two or three competitors in a market, actual collusion is no longer necessary. They simply have an unwritten and unspoken agreement to keep prices where they are

        Ummm ... isn't that what collusion means??

        If they have any form of agreement to keep the prices high, I kind of thought that was, by definition, collusion.

        Now, it's possible they've all independently decided to leave prices high until the other guys drop them (which might be what you were getting at), but then there's not "agreem

        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

          by DinDaddy (1168147) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:53PM (#40111769)

          When there are only two or three competitors in a market, actual collusion is no longer necessary. They simply have an unwritten and unspoken agreement to keep prices where they are

          Ummm ... isn't that what collusion means

          No, to collude, they would need to communicate in some form, written or spoken. Just guessing that the other party thinks like you and acting on that assumption is NOT collusion.

    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alen (225700) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:20PM (#40110407)

      your annual profit is $483 million. it's going to cost you about that much to build a new plant so you can sell your product cheaper and get your profit down to $200 million

      these decisions aren't rocket science. i bet your're not running a business

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        And? That doesn't mean they're legal, it just means our antitrust people are busy dealing with bigger fish to fry. In the meantime, we all lose by paying ridiculous prices. It's no different than any other big business collusion - the company gains, the customer loses.

        • by alen (225700)

          how is it illegal? there is no democratic government that can force you to invest in something that won't return any profits

        • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CannonballHead (842625) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:06PM (#40111047)

          How is it illegal for a company to take what customers are willing to pay?

          How is it illegal for companies to simply not lower prices... without colluding with each other?

          Since when are profit margins required to be low?

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            How is it illegal for a company to take what customers are willing to pay?

            How is it illegal for companies to simply not lower prices... without colluding with each other?

            Since when are profit margins required to be low?

            it's illegal if they've as much as nodded in each others direction to keep to current pricing level.

            the simple reason why the prices are high is that during the hd manufacturing troubles they realised that people will buy the same amount of hdd's even if the cost stays the same.

            (anyhow.. I think 2.5" pricing has gone down).

            • So, realizing that your competitors aren't going to lower their prices == collusion? Somehow, that doesn't seem fair to me. If it's purposeful, where they actually get together to do it ... fine, that's price fixing. But if everyone is just happy with the current price and realizes they don't have anything to gain by cutting the price down below their competitor's ... I don't see how that's illegal.
        • We're talking about profit margins of 6% and 3% respectively here. At those levels, it's absurd to argue that the products are over-priced (unless great heaping piles of profit are being added further down the channel).

          Hard drive pricing isn't about collusion, it's about commodification: there's essentially no difference between the products that competitors sell, so they got into a race to the bottom in terms of their profits in the hopes of capturing larger market share. Now each company is backing off a

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But ... but ... Free Market(tm)!!1

  • by macemoneta (154740) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:08PM (#40110285) Homepage

    Most articles I've seen indicate that rotational storage (and existing flash-based SSDs) will be replaced within 2 years by memristor-based storage or similar non-rotational, non-flash storage. It makes no sense for hard drive manufacturers to "race to the bottom" when they've already consolidated into 2 major manufacturers and sales have such a short term outlook.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:12PM (#40110331)

      Haven't they been saying that for a few decades now? Rotational media will be around for a long time to come, barring any real shattering breakthroughs in solid state media. Some markets, such as laptops and workstations which value speed over capacity, will likely transition to SSDs being the norm within the next 5 years or so, but when you need a lot of storage you'll still turn to hard drives for at least another decade or two. Given that hard drive technology is still having breakthroughs, it will be some time before SSDs can catch up in overall capacity, nevermind price per GB/TB.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:21PM (#40110425)

        Given that hard drive technology is still having breakthroughs, it will be some time before SSDs can catch up in overall capacity, nevermind price per GB/TB.

        Given the rapid decline in the number of write cycles at smaller process sizes, that may never happen with current flash technology.

      • by Khyber (864651)

        "Rotational media will be around for a long time to come, barring any real shattering breakthroughs in solid state media."

        You mean like the currently-planned 1TB SDXC card format? Take that stuff, make a 2.5" drive, you could dump 16TB into a tiny piece of plastic, epoxy, and silicon.

        Rotational media is only going to stick around because it's CHEAP.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          Rotational media is only going to stick around because it's CHEAP.

          Well, duh.

        • "Rotational media is only going to stick around because it's CHEAP."

          Is there any other reason for technology to stick around when it competes with other technology?

        • Yeah... and they also recently announced hard drives that could be as big as 60PB (yes, PB, not TB) within 4 years. A bit more of a jump over current hard drives than your mentioned SDXC is over current solid state capacity.

      • by iamhassi (659463) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:01PM (#40110975) Journal

        Haven't they been saying that for a few decades now? Rotational media will be around for a long time to come, barring any real shattering breakthroughs in solid state media. Some markets, such as laptops and workstations which value speed over capacity, will likely transition to SSDs being the norm within the next 5 years or so, but when you need a lot of storage you'll still turn to hard drives for at least another decade or two. Given that hard drive technology is still having breakthroughs, it will be some time before SSDs can catch up in overall capacity, nevermind price per GB/TB.

        SSDs have already surpassed hard drives in capacity, with 16TB being offered on a single SSD. [guru3d.com] SSDs are less than $1 a gigabyte. [newegg.com] True, much more than hard drives, but 11 years ago when hard drives were $3 a gigabyte [xlr8yourmac.com] and 7 years ago hard drives were 50 cents/gb. [silentpcreview.com] Now hard drives are less than 1 cent a gigabyte, so how long do you think it will take SSDs to get there?

        SSDs have the huge advantage that everyone wants them. Every device needs fast access and transfer rates with low power usage in as small a space as possible. More devices means more sales means lower prices as they ramp up production. I have a feeling that by the end of 2012 people won't even be considering a hard drive in a PC anymore, everyone will just buy SSDs.

        Hard drives will never win the capacity war, not when they can currently put 64 gigabytes on a space smaller than your fingernail [newegg.com] and that includes the memory controller and case.

        • You may want to check your math... at $0.01/GB, a 1TB drive would be $10... and I'm still not seeing them cheaper than $70 on sale. Most of them are around 6 to 12 cents per gig.

          I really don't see the cost of SSD's dropping to 1/10th of their current price (the price point at which they're comparable to hard disks) in 7 months. 7 years is much more likely when you consider hard drives are also getting larger and cheaper at the same time. Oh, there's also the fact that cheaper SSDs still seem to have a relat

          • by iamhassi (659463)

            You may want to check your math... at $0.01/GB, a 1TB drive would be $10... and I'm still not seeing them cheaper than $70 on sale.

            You're right, meant less than 10 cent/GB.

            I really don't see the cost of SSD's dropping to 1/10th of their current price (the price point at which they're comparable to hard disks) in 7 months. 7 years is much more likely when you consider hard drives are also getting larger and cheaper at the same time.

            Very few people need 4TB, the current largest hard drive. I'd argue most people are happy with 500gb. With SSDs less than $1/gb now, down from $4/gb just 2 years ago [anandtech.com], 500gb SSDs will be somewhere south of $200 by the end of 2012 or early 2013. You can already buy a 240gb SSD for $190. [newegg.com]

            Oh, there's also the fact that cheaper SSDs still seem to have a relatively poor MTBF and don't deliver the performance gains that most people associate with SSDs... have to pay a bit more for a *good* SSD

            That's not really a fact though, that "cheap PC hardware price = poor performance and poor MTBF", that's your opinion.

            • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:37PM (#40112363)

              Very few people need 4TB, the current largest hard drive. I'd argue most people are happy with 500gb.

              Where HAVE I heard this before?

              Oh, yeah, now I remember!

              Me: We should go ahead and buy the 85MB HD for the new comp - we'd fill up a 40MB too fast..

              the Wife: No, it'll be YEARS before we could fill up 40MB - why pay the extra couple hundred for space we'll never use?

              We had a similar discussion a few years later, with the players swapped, when we were debating 300MB and 500 MB.

              And again when we debated 2GB v. 3GB.

              And 20GB v 50GB

              And 500GB and 1TB....

      • by na1led (1030470)
        Rotational media will always return more revenue because of their limited life cycle. These companies see no benefit in selling SSD's cheap when they may outlast standard hardrives by 10 fold. Most consumer goods are designed to last only so long.
        • by goeken (22166)
          You are forgetting that most HDs do not get replaced because they ware out they are replaced when a new computer is bought or they become to small to be of any use.
    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:20PM (#40110409)

      Most articles I've seen indicate that rotational storage ... will be replaced within 2 years ...

      Most articles I read during the 1980s said the same thing.

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:49PM (#40110793)

        It's called the "SSD" section on Newegg. You are right that head-in-the-clouds type tech people have been saying that magnetic media will get replaced, but it has just been wishful thinking. However now it is. SSDs sell quite readily. They aren't going to displace HDDs tomorrow or anything, and I'd say that 2 year timeline is a bit optimistic, but they are already making big in roads.

        While they don't compete in terms of storage/$ they are getting to the point where they are cheap enough for enough storage that people find them worthwhile. That's all it really takes. Few people actually need 2TB of storage, the idea that SSDs have to be dead equal to HDDs is silly. Many people will decide they can get on just fine with 160GB and would rather have the speed.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Few people actually need 2TB of storage

          The unfortunate side effect is that we're going to lose the economies of scale involved in producing these drives. Expect the home file server to disappear into the cloud.

        • While they don't compete in terms of storage/$ they are getting to the point where they are cheap enough for enough storage that people find them worthwhile. That's all it really takes. Few people actually need 2TB of storage, the idea that SSDs have to be dead equal to HDDs is silly. Many people will decide they can get on just fine with 160GB and would rather have the speed.

          Yeah, they don't have to compete on a $/GB basis against magnetic HDs in all sectors. Once they got cheap enough for big enough (
      • by reub2000 (705806)

        Except this time it's actually happening. When is that last time you saw someone using an mp3 player with a spinning disc?

    • by alen (225700)

      its already happening, people are buying smartphones and ipads. even my wife's macbook rarely gets used. she's always on her iphone.

      the computer is mostly a paperweight at home that i turn on once a month to copy photos from my iphone

      • This doesn't say anything at all - just because you and your wife don't use computers doesn't mean that the rest of the world will stop using computers. As adorable as the ipad is, it is a computer replacement only for people who don't use computers. It's great for media consumption, but an ipad is not a computer.

        I have an ipad. I am not much of a media consumer: I don't like watching movies on a tablet, I don't subscribe to magazines, I don't read digital books and I'm not too big on facebook/twitter scen

    • by kidgenius (704962)
      SSD will probably completely replace regular drives at the consumer level in about 5 years. Though external backup systems for the consumer market will probably still use regular drives for 5-8 years. Memristors, mram, etc have been touted as the Next Big Thing for years now and nothing has come up yet.
    • by MLCT (1148749)
      With rotational manufactures proving technology up to 60 TB on a disk (seagate I think), I don't see SSDs touching them for a long time.

      We wan't more storage - and the more storage we get the more we want. SSDs just can't get on the right growth curve - the price/size ratio for SSDs just doesn't scale. Look at the class of "mobile" devices (phones, tablets etc.) - they are topping out for onboard starage at numbers that are pretty poor in a modern context - and the sizes aren't growing. You don't see
      • We want more storage

        Speak for yourself ; for my work, which has some fairly heavy data sets, I muddle through on a 64GB SSD. I'm tempted to upgrade to a 128GB model, because it's sometimes a bit tight and I'd like to have room for my music collection (12GB).

        Games ; I currently have a 1TB partition devoted to game installs. It's not remotely full yet.

        Video : this is the biggie. My HTPC currently has 1TB of storage as well. Paradoxically, I think it would probably be better if it had less storage - we just tend to accumulate a h

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          The people who do need all this storage, I'm sad to say, are probably torrenting a lot, because that's the only way a consumer accumulates that much data that they don't have a read-only media copy of already.

          I have 4TB of video storage on my MythTV box because my girlfriend complains if it's deleted the CSI episode she didn't watch from six months ago.

          Usage expands to fill the available space.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Seagate was saying (that is, it's vapour) they might have 60 TB disks by 2016. Not now.

        At the moment I have a 256 GB SSD in my notebook, along side a 512 GB hard drive. Guess which one is being used at the moment? With more people streaming things, the average person's need for storage is probably not going to grow at anything like it used to. Once that happens, capacity becomes a secondary concern, and the speed of SSDs make them very attractive.

        SSDs aren't going to kill of hard drives entirely, but th

    • by ArcherB (796902)

      Most articles I've seen indicate that rotational storage (and existing flash-based SSDs) will be replaced within 2 years by memristor-based storage or similar non-rotational, non-flash storage. It makes no sense for hard drive manufacturers to "race to the bottom" when they've already consolidated into 2 major manufacturers and sales have such a short term outlook.

      Disk drives may be replaced, but they won't be going anywhere. What we are starting to see is SSDs replacing HDDs as the primary, boot, OS and application drive. HDD's are kept around for mass storage for photos, videos, music, documents, and even some larger applications. I see HDDs replacing tape drives in the future for readily accessible backups.

    • by iamhassi (659463)

      Most articles I've seen indicate that rotational storage (and existing flash-based SSDs) will be replaced within 2 years by memristor-based storage or similar non-rotational, non-flash storage. It makes no sense for hard drive manufacturers to "race to the bottom" when they've already consolidated into 2 major manufacturers and sales have such a short term outlook.

      This. Hard drives are dead. SSDs are less than $1 a gigabyte. [newegg.com] Down from $4 a gigabyte just 2 years ago. [anandtech.com] At the rate SSDs are dropping in price why even consider a hard drive when you can buy now for $1/gb or wait a few months until it's 50 cents/gb or another year until it's 10 cents/gb? Few hundred gigabytes is more than enough for the average user.

      Good-bye rotational media, I will not miss your slow access times.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        And HDDs are $150 for 3,000GB.

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        That's not going to happen. SSDs aren't going to shrink much anymore; they can't make the transistors significantly smaller as Flash doesn't perform well at such small sizes. We're already seeing SSDs becoming less and less reliable due to this. (Okay, they might release Flash drives at 10 cents/GB but I certainly wouldn't trust those drives with my data. Not without a backup to a more reliable drive.) Besides, HDDs are still under active development so the goalposts keep moving.

        I'd love to see HDDs getti
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Such as? What technology do you realistically expect to provide similar capacities to spinning discs for similar prices in 2 years?

    • You say this hot on the heels of the report of 60TB HDDs by 2016 [slashdot.org].

      HDDs aren't going anywhere. I think the near-term future is hybrid systems like Intel's Smart Response becoming more advanced and commonplace--moving the files (and/or entire operating system) that you actually use onto the SSD while keeping the big stuff on the HDD.

  • I haven't been keeping up on this subject the last couple of months, but I was under the impression that the operations at the drive manufacturing plants were going to return to normal sooner rather than later. I would think that would cause prices to drop, even with the consolidation of the vendors. Otherwise, I'd suspect price-fixing.

    • by fnj (64210)

      Price fixing? YA THINK?

    • by BenJeremy (181303)

      This is all reminiscent of the Sumitomo event in the early 90s... when RAM prices tripled overnight. Forget the fact that there was a 6 month stockpile at the plant of the epoxy resin they could not produce until the plant was rebuilt... forget the fact that the manufacturers also had their own months-to-years supplies of the resin, and that the resin was a small fraction of the cost of RAM... prices TRIPLED OVERNIGHT. RAM manufacturers took their sweet time getting back to normal pricing, even though the f

      • by Pope (17780)

        It's no different than how the price of crude oil makes gasoline prices spike: the oil being sold on the market is 6 months away from being turned into gasoline, yet one always follows the other. It's profiteering, plain and simple. No price-fixing conspiracy needed!

      • The "sweet spot" will always be $200 for these drives in the consumer market, which drives down the price of those 2TB drives considerably (back down to pre-flood prices).

        Speak for yourself. The sweet spot for me has always been around $125. Of course, I learned long ago that finding the sweet spot, within a hard-drive category (i.e. 7200 RPM drives), is a matter of dividing the price by the amount of space and buying the drive that gives you the most bang for your buck. This works for memory as well.

        Of course, my setup is not common as I run a RAID-5 array, plus spare, on my desktop system, so I can make use of cheap disks and add storage space as the "sweet spot" moves

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This really is Economics 101. The maximum profit margin comes at the point where the supply curve and the demand curve meet. Raising prices above that point results in fewer sales and therefore less profit. Companies won't stop following this rule just because they have an "excuse" for raising prices. Partly because they didn't need an excuse in the first place, but mostly because they still have to compete with other companies.

    • by Fallingcow (213461) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:22PM (#40110441) Homepage

      This really is Economics 101. The maximum profit margin comes at the point where the supply curve and the demand curve meet. Raising prices above that point results in fewer sales and therefore less profit. Companies won't stop following this rule just because they have an "excuse" for raising prices. Partly because they didn't need an excuse in the first place, but mostly because they still have to compete with other companies.

      Maybe you should have stuck around for Economics 102.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Maybe you should have stuck around for Economics 102.

        This is the part where everyone learns about nVidia and ATI colluding to set videocard prices right?

      • Maybe you should have stuck around for Economics 102.

        If Econ 102 contradicts Econ 101, then someone messed up. At worst, the rules taught in 101 may not hold in all cases—but the boundaries should have been part of the 101 curriculum.

        Anyway, the concept of supply vs. demand and the optimal price-point are fundamental to all levels of economics. There is nothing wrong with what the GP wrote. The part which was omitted, however, is that the "excuse" of rising costs pushes out the marginal producers, reducing the supply and thus raising the optimal price-p

    • It kind of does. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In a perfectly competitive market with elastic supply and demand and where there are completely rational and well-informed consumers and producers, yes, your description of the market works.

      The problem is, this is a case where there are only two major suppliers, demand is relatively inelastic, and the vast majority of consumers have no idea what a hard drive costs to make. In other words, what you're seeing is more like monopoly utility pricing - and that means that as long as higher prices can be reasonab

    • Companies are run by people. People are NOT rational. Alan Greenspan cited this as a problem, although IMHO Greenspan's bigger problem was to accept that corporations are people and then to assume that they were rational.

      Rational actors maximizing profit is theory. Reality is insane people "managing" things into oblivion. If the HDD manufacturers try to squeeze the market to the point where solid state displaces HDD everywhere, and they fail to extract maximum profit because they are greedy, that will n

  • People love to shout "COLLUSION!" when more of their fellow consumers are buying the products they want - due to a) pent-up demand, and b) consumers hoarding products as protection against future price increases - but it's really just reality they are fighting against.

    Reality is not going to change, and all you do by trying to fight it (i.e. by demanding the government intervene and impose price controls) is destroy the companies whose products you enjoy and depend on.
    • I wonder if government splitting up the companies that make the duopoly would improve things for the consumers. Seems to me that government intervention in economics is only worse than the free market when there actually IS true competition.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Friday May 25, 2012 @12:44PM (#40110701) Homepage

    It seems like the 2TB desktop (ie, 3.5") disk is about $110. That's not so bad, considering I bought one for $95 about a year ago, before the floods. A 3TB is $160, about the same as last year from my recollection.

    Of course, if you're buying 4x (say to build or replace a NAS), then you do see a noticeable cost difference, but it's not even 25% more.

    A 16% (or even 37%) margin is does not indicate windfall profits or ludicrous extortion.

    • by itsme1234 (199680)

      Maybe one year ago isn't such a good benchmark. Less than one year ago prices here were 5x EUR for 2TB (that is between 50 and 60 eur). I'm talking good retailers, both online and brick mortar stores.
      Even after the flood (but not until the retailers got wind of the shortage) USB 2TB drives were going for 59EUR.
      Now the cheapest bare 2 TB drive I can find is 110 EUR. Something from a reputable retailer like amazon is 120-150.
      WD20EARS (entry-level WD 2TB) is on amazon marketplace (not amazon directly) between

    • by kiehlster (844523) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:32PM (#40111401) Homepage

      The big thing I see is that warranty lengths have dropped off to 3 years from 5 years on many of the high-grade models that are selling today. They still sell 5 year warranties, but at a premium. The real cheap ones have dropped to 1 year warranties. Are prices back to where they were before the floods? Almost. Is product quality back to where it was? Nope.

      I'll be waiting a little longer until I build myself another RAID. I believe we still have another quarter or two before we see the prices hit their baseline. I've been extending my purchase time frame by doing some serious house cleaning.

  • While WD production is more or less back to what it was, there is still a lot of pent up demand for drives because of the past 9 months of high prices. This demand is providing impetus to keep prices up.

    In addition contracts with vendors were signed at higher prices during the shortages. These contracts have not expired yet, keeping prices higher than they were when the floods occurred.

  • Looks like someone learned a little something from the oil industry: Natural Disaster; Raise Prices, blaming the disaster. When the disaster's effects are neutralized, do nothing. Profit!
  • "I expect to make a pile of money from the John Galt Line. I will have earned it."

  • While most of us are not in such a great position to do this, all that's needed is to continue to wait it out. Once supply channels are full and beginning to back up, the prices will begin to fall again. When it comes to consumable hardware (HDD's, fans, power supplies, etc.), I like to buy it when prices are low even if I don't need it at the time- eventually I will. Haven't bought a drive since before the floods. Holding out til I break or they do.
  • It's completely anecdotal, but I was waiting for the 2 TB/$100 threshold again, and that was finally broken a few weeks ago. I got one on a newegg sale. (Sure, it was via a $20 "rebate" but that was applied directly at the time of purchase.)

  • $1.1B net profit on $4.4B is 25% net margin, not 37%. It's not even 37% markup, it's ~33.3% (due to rounding, the range could be 30.8%-35.9%).

  • by subreality (157447) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:47PM (#40112509)

    And by "my charts" I mean camelegg: http://camelegg.com/product/N82E16822152245 [camelegg.com]

    The market spiked and it's slowly returning to normal. It hasn't bottomed. I think that the time required is a combination of rebuilding manufacturing capacity, backlogged demand slowly being filled, and simple price inertia.

  • by MoldySpore (1280634) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:49PM (#40112533)
    The 1TB Samsung (good solid main drive if you aren't using SSD's) drive I was paying $59 for before the shortage and the floods for all my personal and customer's builds is now down to $79.99. And you can get 3TB drives for around $170 again as well. Not bad IMO. I'm sure in another 3-6 months the prices will drop again for the holiday's. The price for that 1TB drive was $79.99 around this time last year as well. Only some manufacturers still have outrageous prices, most notably Western Digital.

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