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A Year After Thailand Flooding, Hard Drive Prices Remain High 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-the-market-will-bear dept.
crookedvulture writes "Last October, Thailand was hit by massive flooding that put much of the world's hard drive industry under water. Production slowed to a crawl as drive makers and their suppliers mopped up the damage, and prices predictably skyrocketed. One year later, production has rebounded, with the industry expected to ship more drives in 2012 than it did in 2011. For the most part, though, hard drive prices haven't returned to pre-flood levels. Although 2.5" notebook drives are a little cheaper now than before the flood, the average price of 3.5" desktop drives is up 35% from a year ago. Prices have certainly fallen dramatically from their post-flood peaks, but the rate of decline has slowed substantially in recent months, suggesting that higher prices are the new norm for desktop drives."
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A Year After Thailand Flooding, Hard Drive Prices Remain High

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  • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:16PM (#41933927)

    You overpaid pre-flood. Pre-flood, you could get 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM for around $60-$70. Now it's about $90-$100 and usually with a shorter warranty duration than pre-flood.

    All I'm gonna say is these higher prices better result in the new technologies (HARM/BPM/etc) coming to market.

  • Yes, accurate. (Score:4, Informative)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:30PM (#41934085)

    I bought a 2TB WD for 69.99 pre-flood. They are still about 100$ right now (95.99$). So yeah, 30-35% over what they used to cost.

    About the only glimmer of hope is that the 3TB has come down in price to about 130$ (129.99$).

    So the 3TB is 0.043 a GB and the 2TB is 0.05 a GB whereas it was 0.035 for a 2TB pre flood.

    So in larger format drives it is still approching the older pricing at a somewhat faster rate.

    That said, the unwritten rule about just about ANY computer technology is that wait a few months and whatever it is will be cheaper. HD's have bucked that trend due to the flood, and the (all) companies profiteering from it. That is what you get when you have an industry that has consolidated and consolidated until there are only a few companies out there. The BIG question out there is if there is any intentional collusion going on to keep prices high, much like just about everyone suspects of oil, but nothing is ever done.

  • Re:Inflation (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:54PM (#41934371)

    The Federal Reserve Note is dying. Purchasing power of the dollar is being cut drastically in just about all areas not just hard drives.

    Inflation is very low by historical standards. Since the floods, the dollar has been flat against the baht and yen, and has risen against the euro. We haven't been doing quite as well against the Swiss franc, but we don't buy HDDs from Switzerland.

  • by citylivin (1250770) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:55PM (#41934379)

    I have also noticed that you are paying a huge premium now for even a 3 year warranty. Most seagate drives now come with a ridiculous 1 year warranty on them, so I wont even look at them any more. WD is not much better, with their green drives being 1-2 years. If you want 3-5 year you are paying 50% more for the drive. For example a 2tb WD black (5 year warranty) has a non sale price of $199 ( http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=58376&vpn=WD2002FAEX&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD&promoid=1230 [ncix.com] ) whereas the same drive albeit "green" with a 2 year warranty is $119 non sale price ( http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=62047&vpn=WD20EARX&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD&promoid=1230 [ncix.com] ).

    Its a shame because I was looking at old invoices and in 2010 I was buying 2tb drives with 3 year warranties standard for 80 bucks.

    Sure they claim to have more "features" with their different colour codes, but it does seem like they just decided 3 years should no longer be industry standard for a warranty. Probably some sort of collusion as they all pretty much changed their warranties at the same time. With seagate, they used to pride themselves in having 5 year warranties. And having recently RMA'd a 1TB drive from 2008, I am glad for that.

    Most HDD's die within 3-5 years. So a 1 year warranty is useless except for straight off the truck failures. Arguably, this is more sensible for the company, however it sucks ass for consumers who are used to having a standard 5 year warranty, an artifact of the storage wars of the mid aughts.

    So I am not surprised, but not many people are talking about this, which is surprising. Glad to see a slashdot article about it!

  • by hjf (703092) on Friday November 09, 2012 @03:05PM (#41934499) Homepage

    I'm 100% certain Facebook and Google don't need the RAW SPEEDZ 10k SAS gives, but the sheer size and small price of 3.5 SATA

  • Re:Its the economy (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday November 09, 2012 @03:12PM (#41934569)

    Our money is worth less now.

    No it isn't. Most HDDs are made in Japan and Thailand. Since the floods, the dollar has not declined against either the yen or baht. US domestic inflation is very low, and Japan has actually had deflation (negative inflation) since the flood. So a dollar should buy more, not less.

  • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Friday November 09, 2012 @03:14PM (#41934587) Journal
    I bought a pair of WD 3TB [camelegg.com] drives just before the flood. They cost me about euro 125 each, and the cheapest price hereabouts today is almost euro 140 [tietokonekauppa.fi]. Note that these prices are not exactly comparable to the US prices, due to currency exchange and high VAT.
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday November 09, 2012 @03:20PM (#41934629)

    There's more difference than just the warranty between the Green and Black.

    WD has three "labels" for consumer drives: Green, Blue, and Black. Green drives are 5400RPM "power-efficient" drives, and new capacities generally show up here first as it's easier to increase density at low speeds. Blue and Black drives are both 7200RPM*, but Black usually has larger cache and is marketed at "enthusiasts", while Blue is aimed at "mainstream".

    So I guess they also consider a lengthier warranty to be an "enthusiast", not "mainstream", feature.

    * I think on their mobile side it's different, with notebook Blue drives still being 5400RPM, but I don't recall for sure and don't feel like checking.

  • by Comboman (895500) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:19PM (#41935197)

    What does Moore's law have to do with this? There are not a large number of transistors on the hard drives they are talking about here.

    The equivalent for hard drive storage is Kryder's Law [wikipedia.org], but the concept is essentially the same as Moore's Law.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:57PM (#41935579)

    There is now also "Red" which have some NAS features and a 3 year warranty.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Informative)

    by cranky_chemist (1592441) on Friday November 09, 2012 @05:10PM (#41935699)

    It's called "static up, elastic down" pricing, and it's one of the basic tenets of economics.

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