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Data Storage Hardware

HDD Price Update: How the Thai Floods Have Affected Prices, 3 Months Later 220

New submitter jjslash writes "The hard disk drive supply chain was hit hard late last year when a series of floods struck Thailand. The Asian country accounts for about a quarter of the world's hard drive production, but thousands of factories had to close shop for weeks as facilities were under water, in what is considered the world's fourth costliest natural disaster according to World Bank estimates. That's on top of the human cost of over 800 lives. TechSpot has monitored a number of mobile and desktop HDDs to get a better overview of how the situation has developed in the last three months."
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HDD Price Update: How the Thai Floods Have Affected Prices, 3 Months Later

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  • by tysonedwards ( 969693 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:36AM (#38964183)
    Currently 10 cents per GB, on average, as opposed to this time 1 quarter ago when you were looking at 5 cents per GB.
  • Just wait.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:49AM (#38964249)
    I see folks are expecting prices to get better, but just watch...

    The initial price shock from speculation, panic-buying and hoarding may be coming down somewhat, but as the article alludes towards the end, the real impact might last throughout this year. There haven't been actual shortages on that many products so far, and when real shortages show up prices could stay high or go higher even with people cutting down as much as they can on drive purchases. (I know several popular and/or performance drives have sold out at PC makers, especially on their build-your-own websites, but most products never ran completely dry.)

    Not to mention that while vendors have a lot of tactics for dealing with shortages, from back-stock to supply contract clauses entitling them to extra shipments of already manufactured inventory during crises, none of those tricks can't make new hard drives appear out of nowhere. The wiggle room such tactics enable will be drying up about now. Eventually even commodity drives could feel the squeeze as supplies on more and more drives threaten to run out entirely, despite the high prices. Because there's a lot of pent-up demand and it sounds like many of those plants still aren't nearing full capacity again.
  • Quick summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by UPi ( 137083 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:58AM (#38964287) Homepage

    Prices are still high, but not as much as they were at the peak last November. Instead of 80-190% above the pre-flood prices, they are now 60-90% up.

    This probably should've been part of the article summary.

  • by mehrotra.akash ( 1539473 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:15AM (#38964355)
    But 70% of the HDD motors coming from a single supplier comes real close

    Western Digital and Toshiba had factories in the flood zones whereas Seagate was mainly affected by the resulting supply constraints from business partners who were forced to halt production of related components. Among those was Nidec, which produces ~70% of the world's hard drive spindle motors.

  • Re:Quick summary (Score:2, Informative)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:40AM (#38964445) Homepage

    Still far too high to upgrade; I can wait out the year with the storage space I currently have.

    I am not going to pay ~$175 for 'Intellipower' / 5900 RPM 2 TB drives, when I have a few 7200 RPM 1.5 TB drives already installed (which I picked up for ~$120 / drive at the time). Perhaps when I see some 7200 RPM 3 TB drives for a nicer price, I might be moved to upgrade. However, as it stands, I've already figured that this year will not have the price offering I, I'll wait until next year when 7200 RPM 4 TB (or possibly something better) drives are probably in vogue.

    Let's see here...3 1.5 TB hard drives, a 240 GB SSD drive, and a Blu-Ray burner, with a top bookshelf just filled with spindles of various recording media I rarely even use...and I think, with all 7 or so virtual machines on the one drive...I might be using perhaps 50% of my total available space? And I really need to do some spring cleaning on those, outside of perhaps one, read one, special project I might be doing this year that would require more space than I currently have available...yeah, I think I can wait.

    Plus, the Seagate CEO's offhanded remarks about having the customers up against a wall (reading between the lines, of course)...are rather vexing.

  • by jampola ( 1994582 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:50AM (#38964487)
    I live in Thailand and ever since the floods, it has been used as an excuse to keep prices up. Examples of this would be beer, eggs, maama (think instant noodles) and also Hard Drives!

    If you've ever lived here, you know people try to outsmart everyone and an example of this would be claiming shortages of hard drives is keep prices high even known their supply chain in Ayuthaya (where most of this shit comes from) has been bone dry and their factories operating at capacity for at least 6 - 8 weeks.

    Mind you, when I go to my IT Square near where I live, only a few days ago Hard Drive prices are relatively back to normal, yet overseas, are still super expensive compared to normal. Also Nikon cameras and glass are normal prices here (most DX DSLR's and glass are made in Ayuthaya) and again OS it's still more expensive than normal.
  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:56AM (#38964511) Journal

    This is a technical site for geeks and nerds, we simply don't need to cover that side of the story, it's been done elsewhere. The reality is, as nerds this is the important part to us. You can say we're emotionless or cruel or some other such word but those are the facts, it's a technical site, with technical news. If you want coverage of the other impact you need to look elsewhere.

  • Re:Digital Cameras? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CadentOrange ( 2429626 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:17AM (#38964581)
    There is a graph on this page [] which is for the Nikon D7000 which is manufactured in Thailand. It looks like the price jumped rather significantly.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:44AM (#38964677) Homepage

    Among those was Nidec, which produces ~70% of the world's hard drive spindle motors.

    Single supplier, but not single site. Their web site [] says they have plants for spindle motors in Thailand, China, Indonesia, The Philippines and Vietnam. True, the 6 plants listed are all in Thailand but the implication that 70% of the drive motors are made in Thailand is false.

  • by Njovich ( 553857 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @06:41AM (#38964897)

    What? I agree that Slashdot sometimes ignores stuff that matters a lot, but this was covered [], and there were a bunch of followup posts on Slashdot too.

    If you are suggesting that people on Slashdot don't know about this event, you are delusional.

    Also, I'm not going to take a bike ride in -26C, but if you want to take one in your cozy first world climate, be my guest.

  • Re:Quick summary (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:14AM (#38965531)

    I am not going to pay ~$175 for 'Intellipower' / 5900 RPM 2 TB drives, when I have a few 7200 RPM 1.5 TB drives already installed (which I picked up for ~$120 / drive at the time).

    Amen. I also seriously dislike how certain producers no longer tell you the rotational speed. As this directly affects access time, it's an important number. For certain uses (MOST uses, actually), being able to stream huge files twice as fast as your old drive is not going to outweigh a much higher access time.

    WDC was my choice, but after they dropped the rpm and started with meaningless marketing words, I won't I buy them. Whatever marketing boss came up with this has cost the company very real sales. Trying to sell 5900 rpm drives as an upgrade to 7200 rpm drives is not just misleading but can lead to raid stutter or worse - they should sell them as better alternatives to 5400 rpm drives!

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson