HDD component supplier ‘collapses’ and 600 jobs will be lost, say reports

Resonac
(Image credit: Resonac)

A major HDD component supplier in Taiwan has laid off many employees and is set to close, according to reports shared by the Economic Daily and Sanli News (Chinese language reports). Our research indicates the troubled supplier is known as Resonac, and is (was) a major producer of the thin films used on the surface of HDDs — check our HDD benchmarks hierarchy and best HDDs if you're looking for more storage capacity.

In September, 40 companies based at Hsinchu Science Park in Taiwan laid off 165 employees. October saw that figure increase dramatically to 48 companies letting go of 496 workers, UDN says. A large portion of the October layoffs are due to the “collapse” of Resonac. It looks like there will be further impacts on November figures (when they come out) as the news sources say Resonac is cutting staff in three waves and is fully closing its Hsinchu factory which used to employ nearly 600.

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While it isn’t good to hear of layoffs, on a positive note the source reports say that businesses at Hsinchu Science Park as a whole employs 3,602 more staff than this time last year (an annual increase of 2%). In total there were 572 manufacturers in the science park at the end of October 2023 – seven more companies than a year ago. So, not all tech segments are faring so badly as HDDs.

(Image credit: Resonac)

Readers are probably not very surprised to hear that the HDD industry and its supporting companies aren’t thriving in 2023. The growth in popularity of SSDs, with ever-more attractive price per GB figures and their compelling performance in compact form factors, has been significant over the last year or two.

Increased SSD competitiveness in the mainstream market resulted in HDD shipments collapsing -43% YoY for Seagate and WD, we noted in a report earlier this year. Perhaps the referenced HDD shipment figures make things look worse than they are, though, as the decline could be characterized as part of a wider tech hardware shipment malaise in 2022/3. Moreover, some see continued strong demand for HDDs for data centers for years to come.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • greenreaper
    A few years ago I bought a 4TB HDD for media storage. Last month I bought a 4TB SATA SSD. They're not quite as cheap yet, but perform so much better that it doesn't make sense to skimp.

    As the story says, storage isn't going away, just its form. Hopefully the workers don't get left behind.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    greenreaper said:
    As the story says, storage isn't going away, just its form. Hopefully the workers don't get left behind.
    Plenty of storage applications still depend on HDDs. Mostly offline/nearline storage and where GB/$ is the dominant factor. Most of the data in the cloud sits at rest, which means it just needs to be accessible enough, and speed isn't otherwise an overriding concern. That rules out tape, but makes it amenable to HDD storage.

    The other point I have to keep reminding people is that SSDs aren't suitable for cold storage. You can't put them in a drawer or on a shelf and just forget about them, the way you can with HDDs (to some extent), tape, or optical. If you're not periodically powering them on, they'll lose their contents. I've personally experienced this, and it's only going to become more common as NAND cell sizes continue to shrink and more bits keep getting packed into them (e.g. QLC, PLC).
    Reply
  • bit_user
    A glaring omission from the story is just who is picking up the slack. Is this going to become a single-supplier type of situation? Are they based in mainland China, perhaps?

    If you see where I'm going with this, it could potentially give a supplier or a country considerable leverage over pricing and availability. It should definitely be a concern for us all, because we all use cloud services and they're dependent on HDDs.
    Reply
  • das_stig
    All I want is cheap but large capacity 3.5in format SSD to replace my spinners, so cutting edge technology not needed, speed is not needed, just reliability, as when configured, the storage pool would saturated the SATA3 bus.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    das_stig said:
    All I want is cheap but large capacity 3.5in format SSD to replace my spinners, so cutting edge technology not needed, speed is not needed, just reliability, as when configured, the storage pool would saturated the SATA3 bus.
    There are some QLC datacenter drives, like Solidigm's P5336, that are north of 60 TB. Not cheap, though.
    https://www.storagereview.com/review/solidigm-p5336-61-44tb-ssd-review
    I've never heard of a 3.5" SATA SSD, BTW. Instead of reviving 3.5", datacenter drives are transitioning towards the E1 and E3 family form factors.

    Also, I worry when you say you need it to be reliable. No drive, of any technology, is perfectly reliable. You need to be able to tolerate at least single-drive loss, if not entire array loss.
    Reply
  • t3t4
    Well despite this news, HDD prices simply cannot go up! After-all, how much can they realistically charge for a hammer and a chisel?
    Reply
  • BX4096
    greenreaper said:
    A few years ago I bought a 4TB HDD for media storage. Last month I bought a 4TB SATA SSD. They're not quite as cheap yet, but perform so much better that it doesn't make sense to skimp.

    As the story says, storage isn't going away, just its form. Hopefully the workers don't get left behind.
    Yeah, some story. Most people who bought an HDD for mass storage "a few years ago" were buying 16-18TB ones, not 4TB ones – at the price of today's 4TB SSDs.

    I just checked my order history and last time I bought a 4TB HDD was a decade ago.
    Reply
  • t3t4
    BX4096 said:
    Yeah, some story. Most people who bought an HDD for mass storage "a few years ago" were buying 16-18TB ones, not 4TB ones – at the price of today's 4TB SSDs.

    I just checked my order history and last time I bought a 4TB HDD was a decade ago.
    Yeah, I've got 85 TB worth in main USB drives, GOD only knows how much in 4TB and lesser, but they're all sitting in a box for some rainy day that ain't coming. I wish we had 50 TB drives available at a fair per TB price, otherwise we have to build arrays to get the capacity and that's a whole other set of issues and cost. The WD 18TB was the deal to beat for this season. I didn't pounce only because the 20 TB should be the deal for next year. A year can be a long time, but history repeats and I'm counting on it.
    Reply
  • COLGeek
    das_stig said:
    All I want is cheap but large capacity 3.5in format SSD to replace my spinners, so cutting edge technology not needed, speed is not needed, just reliability, as when configured, the storage pool would saturated the SATA3 bus.
    Like this?

    https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-870-QVO-SATA-MZ-77Q8T0B/dp/B089C3TZL9?th=1
    In one of these:

    https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-Adapter-Mounting-Bracket-Interface/dp/B01LZWX6PD/
    Reply
  • t3t4
    COLGeek said:
    Like this?

    https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-870-QVO-SATA-MZ-77Q8T0B/dp/B089C3TZL9?th=1
    In one of these:

    https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-Adapter-Mounting-Bracket-Interface/dp/B01LZWX6PD/
    I sure do hope not... These things are overprice half frozen molasses.
    Reply