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."