Marketing research firm iSuppli has reported on the status of the hard drive industry, and from the sounds of it, we just can’t get enough storage.In the first quarter of 2008, hard drive vendors shipped over 137 million units in a seemingly futile attempt to satiate consumer’s appetites for inexpensive storage. Despite the 21 percent increase in sales over the same period last year, many HDD vendors such as Seagate continue to struggle. iSuppli speculates that lower prices and a disproportionate demand for lower margin desktop drives are to blame. This is a trend that is likely to continue as SSD’s continue to plummet in price and become the storage medium of choice for mobile devices mainly due to its durability. Despite the challenges conventional hard drive makers face in the mobile market, iSuppli is forecasting strong demand in the second quarter with shipments estimated to be up by as much as 16 percent over 2007. Seagate continues to lead the pack with profits of $363 million, followed by Western Digital at $298 million, and Hitachi at $65 million. This is excellent news specifically for Hitachi who has been struggling to pull itself out of the red. So has our insatiable appetite for digital media made mass storage devices recession proof?
Performance scores are one thing, but we’re equally impressed by Samsung’s technical accomplishment in achieving the highest areal density to date on its new series of Spinpoint F1 drives. And at the top of the heap sits the HD103UJ, the company’s long-awaited drive that reaches an areal density of an astonishing 334GB per platter.
With new teams entering the terabyte storage market, it was only a matter of time before one smacked down the great Hitachi 7K1000 1TB drive. That distinction goes to Seagate’s 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 drive.
We’ve been waiting with bated breath for Western Digital’s entrance into the world of the almighty terabyte. Its Caviar GP drive may have lost the right to stand at the top of the market and yell, “Firsties!” but it is the only terabyte drive built with energy-savings in mind.