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Hard Disk Drive Shortage May Persist Through 2013

By - Source: Computerworld | B 68 comments

There is quite a bit of confusing speculation about how long the computer industry will have to deal with the shortage of hard drives caused by the Thailand flood.

IHS, for example, believes that the situation will gradually improve beginning in Q1 2012 and could even result in excess supply as the currently added production of HDDs outside of Thailand is added to the production ramp as fabs in the country return to full production capability.

However, there are much more pessimistic analysts, such as John Rydning from IDC, which believe that the impact will be felt into 2013.

"I think the most painful period will occur now through February of next year," Rydning said in a quote published by Computerworld. "We expect the situation will improve, but it won't feel as if things are back to normal until 2013. "Rydning believes that HDD makers will eb able to meet "immediate demand" in the second half of 2012.

However, for now, the shortage is already forcing computer buyers to buy what is available and not what they want. Computerworld quotes Lenovo stating that some buyers will have to settle for off-spec HDDs in its products. Computerworld said that 750 GB, 320 GB, 250 GB and 160 GB drives are unavailable for some Thinkpad notebooks. Western Digital, which was hardest hit by the flood, recently said that it has restarted its hard drive production in one of its buildings, while all other facilities "remain under approximately two feet of water."

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  • 23 Hide
    classzero , December 12, 2011 4:24 PM
    I call "BS" this is a ploy to keep inflated prices.
  • 13 Hide
    zanny , December 12, 2011 4:52 PM
    I think this is called a market with high demand and no supply. We need venture capitalists to invest in some hard drive manufacturers not concentrated in Thailand, and such a company would make a killing using commonplace fabriciation tech.

    The only concern is that it would need to be headquartered somewhere not in the US or in a county that bows to the will of US law, because any new startup hardware company will get sued every day and night for patent and trademark infringements if the nation it is established in has the horrible patent / copyright system the US has.
  • 12 Hide
    billybobser , December 12, 2011 4:28 PM
    production will be up to previous levels in q2 2012 prolly, but what will elevate prices is greed, and I do agree, that it will be another year (if not more) for hdd sanity.

    Only think I can suggest is that you veer away from hard disks, and make is as unprofittable as possible to sell them at rediculous prices. Lowering demand.

Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    digitalzom-b , December 12, 2011 4:16 PM
    Good for Ultrabook sales... might as well pay 1000 dollars for something with a 256GB SSD instead of something with a 250GB HDD with the same specs ;_;.

    That said, time to make SSD more affordable! :(  Going to be a sad year for anyone that wants to build a PC on a budget though.
  • 2 Hide
    de5_Roy , December 12, 2011 4:17 PM
    not another one again. how many of these have come out including this one? 5, 6 or more may be. everyone keeps saying hdd shortage will persist for a long time. how about taking measures to lower ssd prices? if a company like intel can take steps to lower ultrabooks costs why not do the same with ssd?
  • 2 Hide
    digitalzom-b , December 12, 2011 4:18 PM
    de5_roynot another one again. how many of these have come out including this one? 5, 6 or more may be. everyone keeps saying hdd shortage will persist for a long time. how about taking measures to lower ssd prices? if a company like intel can take steps to lower ultrabooks costs why not do the same with ssd?


    I feel like they need to figure out their stability and firmware issues first... cough ocz...
  • 23 Hide
    classzero , December 12, 2011 4:24 PM
    I call "BS" this is a ploy to keep inflated prices.
  • 12 Hide
    billybobser , December 12, 2011 4:28 PM
    production will be up to previous levels in q2 2012 prolly, but what will elevate prices is greed, and I do agree, that it will be another year (if not more) for hdd sanity.

    Only think I can suggest is that you veer away from hard disks, and make is as unprofittable as possible to sell them at rediculous prices. Lowering demand.

  • 6 Hide
    irvine5000 , December 12, 2011 4:32 PM
    ^ Agreed. Anything to keep prices up.
  • 5 Hide
    ojas , December 12, 2011 4:42 PM
    Seems like a battle of the analysts now...
  • 13 Hide
    zanny , December 12, 2011 4:52 PM
    I think this is called a market with high demand and no supply. We need venture capitalists to invest in some hard drive manufacturers not concentrated in Thailand, and such a company would make a killing using commonplace fabriciation tech.

    The only concern is that it would need to be headquartered somewhere not in the US or in a county that bows to the will of US law, because any new startup hardware company will get sued every day and night for patent and trademark infringements if the nation it is established in has the horrible patent / copyright system the US has.
  • 8 Hide
    DSpider , December 12, 2011 4:54 PM
    "Hard Disk Drive Shortage May Persist Through 2013"

    What I got from this is that they will return to normal in 2014. Even though English is not my native language, I think you meant "persist till 2013"

    Anyway, I see vendors are still being dicks about older stock, selling Samsung Spinpoint F1's (which date back to 2006-2007) at insane prices. They're clearly taking advantage of the flooding situation instead of just being happy they can finally get rid of them.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2011 4:54 PM
    What group is IHS, what group is IDC? Please don't reference acronyms to businesses that aren't very known in articles without spelling it out first. Journalism 101.
  • 2 Hide
    delazaren , December 12, 2011 4:55 PM
    I was planning of getting a 3TB drive but never got round to buy it. Now it is too late...
  • 9 Hide
    gunbust3r , December 12, 2011 5:00 PM
    I wonder if site conditions and pressure to have production running at 100%+ is going to have an impact on future drive failure rates?
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , December 12, 2011 5:03 PM
    even after they get production up in Feb/Mar it will take a few more months to catch up with demand, and then after demand is caught up with it will be a while before they recoup their repair costs and lost time. So it is not greed (necessarily), it is just how business works. Besides, they are supposed to be greedy. Greed combined with competition is what keeps quality high, prices low, and innovation coming.

    What I really would like to know is how this will effect the production of 4 and 6TB drives which are supposed to come out this year. Perhaps we will see a permanent shift of SSDs for system drives, and HDDs for data storage. Just stop producing anything smaller than 500GB.

    My bet is that most companies will be back to normal prices next fall because the companies less effected will want to bury and steal as many customers as possible from those who will take longer to recover.
  • -4 Hide
    CaedenV , December 12, 2011 5:04 PM
    taste_the_flavorWhat group is IHS, what group is IDC? Please don't reference acronyms to businesses that aren't very known in articles without spelling it out first. Journalism 101.

    That is what google is for, and they are both well known groups.
  • 7 Hide
    DaddyW123 , December 12, 2011 5:04 PM
    You know what I see in HDD manufacturer's future? Waterproof buildings. Sure the water is up above the windows outside, and you have to take a boat to get to work and climb down from an access door on the roof - but dammit we're still making drives!
  • 10 Hide
    izmanq , December 12, 2011 5:09 PM
    i wish i could tell everyone not to buy new hard disk till the price back to normal, to teach those greedy bastards a bitter lesson.
  • 0 Hide
    keyanf , December 12, 2011 5:25 PM
    There goes my plans to upgrade when I get my secured card deposit back (unless I can salvage a hard drive from somewhere, the machine I'm using is nearly full).

  • 1 Hide
    keyanf , December 12, 2011 5:26 PM
    DSpider"Hard Disk Drive Shortage May Persist Through 2013"What I got from this is that they will return to normal in 2014. Even though English is not my native language, I think you meant "persist till 2013"Anyway, I see vendors are still being dicks about older stock, selling Samsung Spinpoint F1's (which date back to 2006-2007) at insane prices. They're clearly taking advantage of the flooding situation instead of just being happy they can finally get rid of them.



    So they can't afford to replace the stock once they sell it!

    Brilliant!

    Your English is fine, your economics are what you should worry about.
  • 1 Hide
    mindbreaker , December 12, 2011 5:32 PM
    DaddyW123 you beat me to it. Yes, it can't be very hard to seal the buildings. Just put some clay in concrete and spread a layer of the stuff over the entire floor and walls, remove any windows and make them brick. Add a few skylights, alternate entry etc. Given the price of these fabs this is an obvious wise investment.

    Doing it when you still have 2 feet of water in there...well...I think it still can be done. Certainly more difficult. You need a wall of sand bags a few feet from the structure surrounding it and pumps running 24 hours a day. If there is no power? Well install solar on the roof. All doable.

    I'd think they would be acting with a little more urgency; after all the first up will rake in the most profit.
  • 2 Hide
    jdwii , December 12, 2011 5:42 PM
    I'm sure some greedy companies will keep the prices that high so they can make up the money they will lose in the 4Q of 2011 and 1Q of 2012. I wont be buying any hard drives until TB's go back down to 60$ and 320GB hard drive is 38$ on newegg. Until then i'm getting a 128GB Samsung ssd.
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