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Hard Drive Prices Skyrocket!

posted Nov 17, 2011, 7:45 AM by OMG Data Recovery   [ updated Dec 14, 2011, 12:34 AM ]
Prices more than double!

Hard drive prices have shot up by an average of 150% globally. In Malta a 3.5" internal 2Tb drive used to cost €75. Not any more. Now, €120 will get you just 1TB! In fact, standard 2TB drives today cost a whopping €165. And this is just the desktop series, not enterprise class! The effect is also going to raise prices for computers this Christmas and next year.

What happened?

It is the flooding in Thailand that is causing these price explosions. The floods affected Bang Pa In, Navanakorn and Bangkadi Industrial Parks located in Pathum Thani province near Bankok. These parks are home to Western Digital and Toshiba. The plants are inoperable. Pictured here is the extent of the flooding. Top:  Nidec Corporation hard drive motor plant in Ayutthaya, which had to relocate to alternate area. Center and Bottom: Western Digital Factory.

UPDATE Dec 14: Nidec has resumed full  operations in the 6 Thai factories manufacturing HDD components, motors and base plates.

Prices won't go down immediately

The slashed production, increased costs and supply shortage pushed hard drive prices through the roof. Will they drop to summer 2011 levels? Yes but not until next year.

Demand will still be high, mostly for the business sector, however there will be a temporary dip in sales for home users also due to the financial recession. This will not affect the prices as supply shortage is set to increase and prices may peak at 300% their original level.

Failure Rate to Increase

However, OMG Data Recovery is forecasting increased failure rate for hard drives in the coming 2 to 3 years. Why? As the prices of hard drives remain this high, home users and micro businesses will turn to the low cost 'refurbished drives' that more often than not are found on eBay, Amazon etc. Refurbished drives are drives that have been taken out of use, had the faults/errors hidden (capacity partially reduced) and even some had the heads changed (ie more unstable than new HDDs). They work, but the failure rate is much higher than mature new drives. (Drive failure rate is high also in the first 3 months of new drives. After 3 months, the drive is said to mature. Source: Google, CA)

HDD Price Spike is a boon for SSDs

It is expected that SSDs (Solid State Devices)  will at some point bite a huge chunk off the applications currently dominant by the HDD sector. However, it will first happen at the business laptop and apptop end. And the Thailand flood is the initiator. SSDs are 5 times faster and much more reliable than HDDs but the cost is still forbidding for the mass storage application. It will however take over the System Drive.

SSDs normally connect through microSATA and are made of a number of flash memory chips and a controller. They are extremely light, have very low heat emission and have zero moving parts. A failed SSD is usually attributed to a failed controller. OMG Data Recovery is equipped to perform recoveries from SSDs.