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Data Storage Hardware

Hard Drive Revenue About To Take a Double-Digit Dip 269

Lucas123 writes "Ultrathin notebooks, smart phones and SSDs are all putting pressure on the hard drive market, which is set to take an almost 12% revenue loss this year, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli. Hard drive market revenue is set to drop to about $32.7 billion this year, down 11.8% from $37.1 billion last year. At the same time, In what appears to be a grim scenario, the optical disk drive industry is expected to encounter continued challenges this year, and optical drives could eventually be abandoned by PC makers altogether."
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Hard Drive Revenue About To Take a Double-Digit Dip

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  • by fatalexe ( 845503 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:29PM (#42791229)
    I switched to using USB drives to install the OS of a computer a long time ago. You can even keep them up to date with OS patches unlike burnt disks. Usually installs faster too.
  • Re:Less demand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:32PM (#42791267)
    Maybe. But there will also be much less investment in further density improvements. Every dying technology reaches a price minimum, after which point the price actually increases. Even though memory is cheap, a new stick of DDR costs more now than the same stick would have cost five years ago, even though the demand was much higher then. That's simply because manufacturers lost all incentive to produce DDR because of the low demand. The same thing could happen to hard drives. You'll know we're in trouble when factories start scaling back production, closing or retooling for the manufacture of something else. We're not there yet, but we soon might be.
  • by jtownatpunk.net ( 245670 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:43PM (#42791431)

    Seriously. Where are they? I've got the 750 gig Seagate and I love it but it's not big enough for my games. The only other choice I have is the 1tb Revo but that's not really much of a bump and it would take up a PCIe slot, preventing me from ever running 4-way SLI. And it's almost 4x the price of the slightly smaller Seagate. Hardly a bargain compared to SSD. If I'm gonna spend $500, I may as well spend a grand and go full SSD.

    I assume Apple must have some sort of exclusive deal on their 3tb hybrids or we'd be seeing general purpose versions of those drives by now.

  • by MarioMax ( 907837 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @08:11PM (#42791751)

    It just drives me absolutely crazy that low end hard drives are as expensive as they are, and stubbornly not dropping. Take for example these prices on Newegg for a new internal desktop hard drive:

    250GB - $49.99 ($2.00 per 10 gigabytes)
    320GB - $59.99 ($1.87 per 10 gigabytes)
    500GB - $58.99 ($1.18 per 10 gigabytes)
    1TB - $79.99 ($0.80 per 10 gigabytes)

    I mean, don't get me wrong, the 1 terabytes are an attractive price on a price-per-gigabyte point of view. But there are times where you simply don't need (or want) a large drive, and a small one would do, or your budget for a larger one doesn't exist and you need a smaller drive. But the price per gigabyte is so out of whack on the low end models, it doesn't make sense to waste your money. You'd think stores and suppliers would want to dump their low end inventory for the larger capacities, but apparently they aren't in any hurry.

  • Re:Less demand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @08:12PM (#42791755)

    For a hint of where the market for spinning drives is going, look at DLP. DLP never totally went away... it just walked away from the low end, then milked the high end for years.

    SSDs are getting cheaper, but for raw bulk digital tonnage and petabytes of ripped Blu-ray pr0n, it's still hard to beat spinning hard drives. Manufacturers will just quit making small drives as SSDs catch up, add platters until they can't fit anymore into a 3.5" enclosure, then revisit the past and reintroduce 5.25" hard drives, just like Quantum did ~15 years ago. At some point (probably 10-20 years from now) SSDs might eclipse spinning hard drives, but I wouldn't write them out of the picture TOO soon. We'll be buying them LONG after Joe Sixpack and his kids have forgotten what they are.

    Optical media will probably be around longer, as long as Hollywood doesn't manage to kill it off, because it has one concrete advantage: longevity (as long as it's not based on organic dyes). BD-R media is likely to be around (in single, 2, 3, 4, or more) layer forms for a really, really long time.

    Prices won't necessarily go up per se, but drives will probably get more expensive over time because the low end will just cease to exist, and manufacturers will try to make the drives bigger, faster, more redundant, (god forbid) repairable, or some permutation of the above, while maintaining the same price points and gradually just eliminating the lower ones until the only spinning drive you can buy is a 5.25" 500TB Western Digital Diplodicus Max with 256GB flashcache for $299.

  • Re:ok then (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @08:24PM (#42791889)

    non-LTH BD-R has a HUGE advantage over any hard drive: you can throw it in a drawer, forget about it for the next 25 years, maybe even let it bake in a hot, humid Florida garage for 5-10 years, and end up with something that's likely to still be readable. There are so many things that can go wrong and break with a normal hard drive over the span of 25 years, the likelihood of ANY hard drive actually working even 10-15 years down the road after years of disuse and questionable storage is basically "nonexistent", and depressingly low even if you've kept it in a 70 degree room with low humidity the whole time.

    DVD-R used organic dyes and isn't likely to be a reliable long-term storage medium, but the ORIGINAL (non-LTH) BD-R discs are about as close as you can get with modern media to "carving it in stone". There's even a company (Milleniata?) who makes discs that are basically BD-R media burned to DVD geometry (you need a supported BD-R drive to burn them), and a likely shelf life of a hundred years or more (especially if you burn 2 or 3 copies, and store them in different locations, so you can scrape the bits from all 3 and take advantage of error correction to reconstruct an intact copy decades from now).

    VHS has been dead as a consumer format for more than a decade, but there are STILL companies selling new VCRs. What vanished were the cheap consumer models. What remains are heavy-duty pro models designed mainly for recovery and restoration work... and it's a market that's slowly growing as desperate consumers realize they no longer have the players for their old high school band/cheerleading/football tapes their parents made years ago, and they go looking for solutions (or people who can do it for them). Best of all, the patents have all basically expired, so now a smaller company with the ability to machine metal & plastic parts actually CAN step in to take over a market that companies like Sony & Matsushita lost interest in years ago.

  • Re:Less demand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:41PM (#42792573) Journal

    Actually if anything I have a feeling HDDs are gonna have a "bounce" in a year or two as all those that got cheap SSDs get burnt when they flip the switch and find all their data gone.

    The problem with SSDs is frankly they have never really licked the controller issues and as they add more space the problem just seems to be getting worse. I have honestly never seen an SSD die from the cells being used up but I have seen a LOT of SSDs that had the controller fail and take the drive out. Over at coding horror they labeled this the hot/crazy scale [codinghorror.com] in that to get the hot performance of SSDs you had to put up with the crazy failure rates. While those of us who are religious about backups won't have a problem with this most folks are NOT religious about backups and WILL get bit in the ass when they flip the switch one day and just find their data gone forever.

    So I have a feeling when all those cheapo SSDs start going tits up there is gonna be a lot of folks that write off the tech and go back to HDDs, say what you will about HDDs they usually give you plenty of warning before going tits up.

  • Re:Less demand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:39PM (#42792929) Homepage

    The anecdotes from places like Coding Horror are just that: anecdotes. Were early SSD failure rates higher up to 2011 than regular drives? I think they've gotten better as years pass. What about now though? Even the 2011 survey from Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com] already put SSD reliability as already higher than regular drives.

    I've had plenty of spinning drives that didn't last more than a hundred days too. Hard drive controllers fail with no warning, just like SSD ones do. I think this is emphasized as more associated with SSD failures because it's the only way SSDs die.

    In the middle of 2011 Intel raised warranties to 5 years [intel.com] on the main SSD I use in my systems. In late 2011 Seagate dropped warranties to a year [dailytech.com]. If you don't care about high capacity, it's possible for a SSD to cost less per year than a mechanical drive now. That's not a glowing statement about the manufacturers thinking SSD is more likely to fail either.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.