Attaching Numbers to the Hard Drive Shortage

Paul Lilly

Now is not the time to buy a mechanical hard drive, not unless you absolutely have to. As you know, the recent flooding in Thailand hit the hard drive industry pretty hard (from a technology standpoint -- obviously the biggest tragedy here is the impact it had on people's lives), and even just a 1TB hard drive is going to set you back about $150 street, almost triple what they selling for prior to the flood. Is the shortage really that bad?

It's certainly looking that way. According to DigiTimes , Seagate just lowered its fourth quarter 2011 shipment goals for hard drives to 41-45 million units. That's a 10-18 percent drop on quarter, and it's a direct result of the flooding. Seagate isn't the only one expecting to ship significantly less hard drives in Q4 compared to Q3. Here's how it shakes out:

  • Western Digital 3Q11: 58 million HDDs
  • Western Digital 4Q11: 22-26 million HDDs
  • Hitachi 3Q11: 31-32 million HDDs
  • Hitachi 4Q11: 20 million HDDs
  • Toshiba 3Q11: 22 million HDDs
  • Toshiba 4Q11: 12 million HDDs

Getting back to normal production levels isn't as easy as simply fixing the factories. Seagate's factories are back online and producing HDDs again, but not at the same clip as before there's a shortage of HDD components.

Unfortunately, HDD volume and prices aren't expected to rebound overnight. In fact, some estimates have the shortage being an issue well into 2012.

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