Effects of the hard drive shortage resulting from major flooding in Thailand earlier this year continue to reverberate throughout the technology industry. Even Intel, the world's largest chip maker, isn't immune to to it all, and in fact the Santa Clara outfit warned today that its fourth quarter results are expected to be below the company's previous outlook.
Now is a pretty bad time to be shopping for a mechanical hard drive. Prices are generally higher than what they were a couple of months ago, sometimes significantly so, due to the flooding in Thailand. But it's a temporary problem and eventually the storage sector will settle down. So, onward with innovation, and kudos to Hitachi for coming out with a 4TB internal HDD as part of its Deskstar line.
It seems like every time we touch on the topic of hard drives lately, it's always bad news related to the recent flooding in Thailand. Ready for a change of pace? Good, because that's what you're getting today. Instead of news of more shortages and rising prices, we've now learned that hard drive volumes in the first quarter of 2012 will increase by several million units, decreasing the supply gap "significantly."
Hard drive prices aren't about to return to pre-flood levels, but they may gravitate towards that point sooner than some analysts are expecting. Western Digital, one of the HDD makers hit hard by the recent flooding in Thailand, said it has made "substantial progress" in getting its overseas operations partially up and running again, and is now producing hard drives at one of its buildings in Bang Pa-in (BPI), Thailand a week ahead of internal schedules.
Seagate has started shipping the second generation of its Momentus XT, a solid state hybrid drive aimed at both consumer and commercial laptop applications, and the company's fastest driver ever for personal computers, Seagate says. Like the previous generation Momentus XT, this second gen drive moves frequently accessed data to a small chunk of solid state memory for faster access.
After peering into its crystal ball, the market psychics at Kingston firmly believe that by this time next year, you're likely to choose a solid state drive over a mechanical hard drive. NAND flash memory prices are coming down, and while it's been slow going, overall pricing for SSDs will finally reach the point where they're able to attract would-be HDD buyers.
The European Union is notorious for being sticklers when it comes to how companies do business and is ever watchful for what it perceives to be a potential monopoly. Concerns aside, the EU just granted approval to Western Digital, the world's second largest hard drive maker, to purchase Hitachi's HDD business for $4.3 billion, with Hitach being the third biggest player in the HDD market.
Few companies in the PC industry can escape the resonating effects of the hard drive shortage caused by recent flooding in Thailand. It's had a bigger impact than simply doubling, and in some cases, tripling the cost of hard drives, the shortage also creates challenges for PC makers who buy HDDs in bulk and build systems around them. Making the best of a bad situation, Jon Bach, founder of Puget Systems, explains how his company plans to cope with an outside-the-box solution.
Hard drive maker Western Digital announced this morning that on November 18, 2011, an arbitration award of $525 million was rendered against the company by a sole arbitrator in a pending confidential arbitration action in Minnesota brought on by Seagate. Not included in that amount is prejudgement interest, which will be determined and tacked on at a later date.
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?