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Hard Drive Prices Up 150% In Less Than Two Months

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the up-and-up-and-up dept.

Data Storage 304

zyzko writes "The Register reports that hard drive prices (lowest average unit prices) have rocketed 151% from October 1 to November 14th. The worst days have seen over 5% daily price increases. This is commonly attributed to the floods in Thailand, but there are concerns of artificial price fixing and suspicion that retailers or members of the supply channel are taking advantage of the situation." The number varies when you break it down to individual drives, but it seems to be in the right ballpark. Anecdotally, the drive I picked up on Oct. 14th would cost me 135% more today. The flood waters in Thailand have partially receded, but aren't expected to be completely gone until early December. The damage to the country's economy and property is measured in the tens of billions.

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They're flooded (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169920)

So flooded that nobody bothers to flood the internet with first posts.

No, no, no (4, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169924)

They aren't up 150%.
They're up 400%.

Never thought 500 GB drives would come back into style...and yet they're what my friends are specc'ing into their machines these days.

Re:No, no, no (4, Funny)

imamac (1083405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169960)

That's okay. We just store stuff in the cloud nowadays.

Re:No, no, no (2, Funny)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170164)

That's okay. We just store stuff in the cloud nowadays.

And what, pray tell, do you imagine the cloud stores data on? Turtles?

Re:No, no, no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170266)

Wooooosh!

Re:No, no, no (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170278)

It is clouds all the way down.

Re:No, no, no (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170294)

And what, pray tell, do you imagine the cloud stores data on? Turtles?

It's turtles . . . all the way down.

The trouble with storing stuff in the clouds, is that it falls back to the ground when it rains, and causes floods. But in the case of Thailand, it will get recycled back into new storage, so we will have renewable storage.

Probably.

Does that make it Green?

Re:No, no, no (2)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170404)

The trouble with storing stuff in the clouds, is that it falls back to the ground when it rains, and causes floods. But in the case of Thailand, it will get recycled back into new storage, so we will have renewable storage.

Not only that, but with reduced CO2 emissions as a direct result of fewer spinning hard drives drawing power from the electrical grid and the increased albedo from all that data being stored in clouds, we've also solved global warming! Go team!

Re:No, no, no (1, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170478)

Yeah, Drop Box dropped my storage 150%!!

Re:No, no, no (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169988)

I read an article last week about how they are on average, 25% more expensive. Looking at many of the online retailers and some local vendors, most are 3x more expensive.

I bought a 2TB WD20EARS in September for $69, they are $299 at every local store now. The WD RE4 and Seagate ES drives are $399 for 2TB, which is only about 2x.

Re:No, no, no (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170170)

I bought a few 2TB drives over the summer expecting to build up my computer's storage, but I've been so lazy I haven't even used them. I'm really considering selling them now.

Re:No, no, no (1)

mapinguari (110030) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170432)

I bought a 3TB Deskstar for $130 on Sept 28. Current price is now $250.

The current price is 192% of the old price.
That's a price increase of 92%. Colloquially, the price is up 92%.

Re:No, no, no (2)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170726)

Back during the flash glut I bought a couple 64G USB sticks. They have to be the only piece of computer equipment I have ever owned that appreciated in value.

Congrats to anyone who bought a large number of drives for a home fileserver before they spiked but never got around to installing them.

What a crock. (2, Informative)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169940)

I'm too lazy to look it up but the figure I remember seeing is that 25% of the world's hard drive manufacturing capacity has been impacted by the floods so the markup shouldn't be anything like 150%. It's just like the time RAM prices went thru the roof years ago, far higher than should have been caused by whatever problem caused a temporary shortage and they stayed artificially inflated for years. Same thing's going to happen with hard drives. Manufacturers will milk this for years.

Re:What a crock. (5, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170020)

I'm too lazy to look it up but the figure I remember seeing is that 25% of the world's hard drive manufacturing capacity has been impacted by the floods so the markup shouldn't be anything like 150%.

Why not? If demand is sufficiently inelastic, prices could go up 1000% if even 5% of the production capacity disappears.

Re:What a crock. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170092)

Dude, this is slashdot. Go spout your economic pseudo-science on zerohedge.

Re:What a crock. (4, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170262)

Actually, I think demand is very elastic at this point. It spiked like crazy over the last few weeks as people scrambled to buy as many drives as they could lay their hands on before all of the vendors jacked their prices. The high inflation caused a run on the existing supply. Now demand is going to plunge as people who were adding capacity, just because they could, stop buying drives. But I don't expect prices to come down even as the supply recovers. Insurance will pay to rebuild (and relocate if they're smart) the factories but we'll have inflated prices for a long time.

Re:What a crock. (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170452)

Well, hard drives are commodities, like orange juice, gas, oil, etc.

Prices are inflated now simply because everyone's got the "OMG I NEED A DRIVE NOW!!!" fever. Then again, drives today aren't any more expensive than they were just a year ago.

So if you have no need for a spare hard drive, don't be a sucker and buy now. If you find a sale, great, if not, hold off.

And yes, drive supplies will rebound because of one fact - a 2TB spinning rust costs way less than a 2TB SSD, and since drives are going 3TB+, I don't see SSDs catching up until drive size expansion slows below Moore's law. (SSD's fundamental capacity is driven by Moore's law - double the transistors in 18 months - double the capacity - SLC or MLC).

I'm guessing everyone's in a frenzy, but they'll recover in a few months and if it's been sitting on the shelf the whole time while you "stocked up", you'll look silly.

In short - buy if you really need it (and take notice in that drive prices really aren't sky high - they're just where they were last year or the year before). If you don't, just wait it out.

We thought we'd be stuck with $150 barrels of oil. They dropped under half that a year later.

Re:What a crock. (2)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170716)

Yes and no, some drives have tripled in price while others have seen modest gains. Checking local stores, I see that the WD Caviar Green 2T drive that used to be on sale for $65 every week is now $180. However, the WD Caviar Green 3T drive that used to be in the $220 range is now... *drumroll* ...$250. Now, I'm pretty sure the 2T drive was significantly less than $180 when it was released several years ago.

It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I guess people are still buying the 2T drives instead of the 3T drives, even though the latter actually is ~10% cheaper per gig now.

I have a sneaking suspicion that once drive prices start falling again they'll fall very slowly and may never reach the levels we saw just a few months ago.

Re:What a crock. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170160)

That would require some sort of cartel-like behaviour, wouldn't it? And maybe there might be some of that, implicitly, without the major players explicitly forming an illegal cartel...

Anyway, this reminds me of how the petrol stations around here say they have to sell of their buffer first, when they don't lower prices if the price of oil goes down, but when the price of oil goes up they don't seem to have any buffers.

Re:What a crock. (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170784)

That's because most stations buy on consignment.when gas takes a steep dip, they still have to sell at the higher price. When gas goes up, they get a brief chance to pad the books until they have to buy the next tank. Here in the US most stations only make about 10-15 cents per gallon net profit. They don't have padding to cover credit card fees by percent, let alone the price changes. Service stations are MLM at its best... That's how the parent companies get rich.

Re:What a crock. (5, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170194)

Not going to happen.

Last I checked, there isn't much overlap for HD / SSD manufacturers. If HD prices remain high, SSD manufacturers will have the advantage.

Which means the HD manufacturers may go the way of the dinosaur in a few years.

Re:What a crock. (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170752)

I'm too lazy to look it up but the figure I remember seeing is that 25% of the world's hard drive manufacturing capacity has been impacted by the floods so the markup shouldn't be anything like 150%.

You do know that supply and demand is diagrammed with curves don't you? And since we live in a complex world where anything you make has a thousand inputs, the concept of leverage applies here: the other million dollars you spend on your server farm isn't worth much minus all the hard drives. Some people are willing to pay a big premium not to be left out in the cold when so much depends upon a red slider. And retail on the whole is in dire thrall to willingness-to-pay, which by most accounts of capitalism is how it should be.

Fungibility comes into play, but billion dollar facilities don't ramp up and down in the span of a retail hissy fit.

It would have taken you twice as long to figure this out as to spew your complaint, so I understand the latency of comprehension.

I like this first of these (it's low key but interesting about when we shouldn't put a price on things), can't vouch for the second one:

Satz on Markets [econtalk.org]
Munger on Price Gouging [econtalk.org]

A few hours of your time, and the world will become oh so much less mysterious.

SSD's will be more attractive now (5, Interesting)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169946)

One advantage of all of this is that SSD drives will start to look more attractive price wise. To me, this is a good thing as people start purchasing SSDs the price will start coming down as the cost of components get more commoditised. I would not mind seeing spindle hard drives being a relic of the past.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (5, Insightful)

crazypip666 (930562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170008)

That is only really true for primary drives. Many people have been buying primary drives which are significantly larger than they need because prices are so low. Now this will push people who are on the fence about which way to go to buy SSDs which are more appropriately sized for a primary drive, but for anyone who wants storage space, the price per GB still makes hard drives the better buy.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170210)

Not if the price for SSDs keep dropping.

Once prices for 1 TB SSDs drop to something nice, HD will be shown the door.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170254)

Once prices for 1 TB SSDs drop to something nice, HD will be shown the door.

For most people who don't play games and don't store big video files, current sub-$100 SSDs are good enough; 40-60GB will store the OS and office apps and some documents and pictures. For most people who don't fit in that category, 1TB is not enough.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170326)

Agreed. Which is why we buy multiple 1 TB drives. :-)

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170454)

For most people who don't fit in that category, 1TB is not enough.

Tell me about it! I've got all-in-all about 3.5TB here right now and I'm constantly running out of space!

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170648)

Slightly more than 4 TB here, with a brand new 240 GB SSD patiently waiting for me in the UPS sorting facility several miles from my home...which I will be breaking into later on tonight to get.

UPS takes one day off for Christmas, but two days for Thanksgiving (giving them a four day weekend). Now, I am all for lengthy vacations, but my current 128GB SSD is down to 6 GB of free space, and that's a fair chance that won't last the weekend...

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170912)

Not true (as far as the 4 day UPS thanksgiving holiday goes).

I happened to observe the big brown van driving around our office complex today. (This was not the express/next day air truck.)

The driver was trying to find offices that were open, so he could deliver what he had on his truck.

He didn't have much success.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170792)

But what am I supposed to sync my 64GB iPad to?

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (2)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170196)

A combination of the Thailand floods, Black Friday sales, and mail-in rebates created a bizarre situation today... A class of SSDs dropped lower in price per-gig than a class of traditional HDDs...

15K RPM SAS drives aren't cheap, and since the flood, they're over $1 per gig. NewEgg was charging ~$1.44 per gig or more last I checked, for the Cheetah models.

Today, NCIX had Intel 320 SSDs on sale with MIR bringing the 80, 120, and 160GB models down to slightly under $1 per GB after MIR...

Yes, it's comparing the extremes (high end extreme of HDDs and low end extreme of SSDs), but I still didn't expect it to happen, even with sales.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170356)

This isn't going to help, of course; but the high end of HDDs was already being squeezed well before the $/GB numbers said that they should. The 15k RPMs have never been very exciting as a bulk storage option, especially now that you can throw dirt cheap SATA drives onto SAS controllers if you want and they get absolutely destroyed on IOPs/$ compared to SSDs. The SSDs in that class are still pretty pricey; but some of them can displace an entire shelf of 15k drives if IOPs are your primary concern...

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170700)

It's getting there, sure, but not quite. SSDs are coming down in costs, but you can't price consumer SSDs based on giant MIRs and black friday sales when you're really in need of enterprise-grade SSDs ;)

But yeah, it's getting closer and closer. Linode uses nothing but 15K RPM SAS drives in RAID10, I figure eventually they'll probably start moving towards SSDs if they don't decide to go SATA.

Throwing dirt cheap SATA drives (well, dirt cheap before the flood) onto SAS controllers is exactly what I do on my home file server. A two-port LSI RAID card can also be used as an 8-port SATA controller, with the right firmware (which they provide on their site easy enough). Combined with a hotswap bay that puts five 3.5" drives in three 5.25" bays, and a case whose entire front behind the door is nine 5.25" bays, and you've got yourself a decent file server. Of course, I really should be putting RE4 greenpower drives in the thing instead of regular greenpower drives...

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170216)

It's also making BD-R(E) look a lot more appealing. On a 5 year graph I don't expect this event to have much impact on SSD prices, however I do wonder if it might finally bring BD the volume required to get it down to being (at worst) the same price per GB as DVD.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170292)

Hey genius, how am I suppose to replace my 10 terabyte array (which cost less than $500) with SSD's?

I'm already running out of space too. Video takes up a shit-ton of space.

Re:SSD's will be more attractive now (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170350)

The short-term answer is you can't replace them all just yet. You'll have to scour Pricewatch and other sites to find HDs at sane prices.

The long-term answer is that you will never have enough space for video.

Obvious (5, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169958)

This is the reverse situation to a new product hitting the market. When LCDs or Plasma screens first came out, they were basically unaffordable by anybody except the richest people and companies, now everybody has one.

This is the same situation in reverse - the production capacity fell and the demand needs to recalibrate the prices.

Of-course don't forget that there is a fixed cost associated with rebuilding the factories and all the new equipment and tools now are more expensive, given so few harddrive manufacturers even exist and all of the inflation that's rampant in the world.

If the price holds, it sends a message to rebuild the production and maybe add even more, clearly there is unfulfilled demand at lower prices.

Re:Obvious (3, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170238)

There's no reason to rebuild. The HD market is under assault from the SSD market; hence, investing in HD manufacturing is seen as a losing proposition.

The current HD manufacturers can milk the shortage for all its worth, then their companies will die and be forgotten.

Re:Obvious (-1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170436)

Until SSD's get past the 200GB corruption problem HDD's won't be going anywhere fast.

Re:Obvious (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170590)

Hmm. Do you have a link to this problem?

Re:Obvious (3, Funny)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170794)

It was lost when the database reached 200.1 GB.

Re:Obvious (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170728)

The what?

Re:Obvious (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170780)

Could china's stranglehold on rare earths have prompted any of the present price increases?

Re:Obvious (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170930)

Could it have increased the price? Probably.
Could it have increased the price by this much? Unlikely.

Hard drives use, to the best of my knowledge, only a small amount of rare-earths (I believe the magnets are typically Neodymium). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neodymium_magnet

Perhaps a better way of saying this is, the introduction and competition from hybrid vehicles (which use Nd) should have had a more profound impact on the market than a more limited supply from China; have hybrid vehicle prices tripled?

Here in Germany (5, Informative)

maweki (999634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170044)

prices are up 300%. I work at a B2B-reseller and the 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green which was 0.05€/GB in September is now up to 0.16€/GB. Other drives are similar. Some drives have even seen 400%.

Re:Here in Germany (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170142)

your currency also devalued

Re:Here in Germany (3, Informative)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170762)

Based on your numbers, prices are up 220%, not 300%. If something costs 3x what it used to, that's a 200% increase, not a 300% increase.

Newegg today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170058)

I just ordered a 500GB Hitachi on newegg on sale today for $49.99 guh I was so excited to see that price! It's on their email promo page: http://www.newegg.com/emailpromo/

What is this "average" you speak of? (3, Insightful)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170102)

hard drive prices (lowest average unit prices) have rocketed 151% from October 1 to November 14th... The number varies when you break it down to individual drives, but it seems to be in the right ballpark.

(emphasis mine)

Yes, I'm glad we have rediscovered what it means to find an "average". [facepalm]

Re:What is this "average" you speak of? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170964)

Rediscover what it means to cluster. Then rediscover sucking dick.

Maybe (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170122)

Maybe you dumb US fuckers will stop shipping all your manufacturing away. Why are these not manufactured in the US? Why does the destruction of one plant cause this much harm? Because you're all fucking shortsighted idiots.

Re:Maybe (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170358)

Yeah, and instead of paying +150% for months, we could pay +300% always.

Re:Maybe (1, Flamebait)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170488)

Parent is a troll, but I'll answer this anyway (I'm bored).

Maybe you dumb US fuckers will stop shipping all your manufacturing away. -> Perhaps, when other countries stop bending over backwards to get jobs for their people. Simply put, their country wants these jobs more than ours do.

Why are these not manufactured in the US? -> Because, in all likelihood, it's cost prohibitive.

Why does the destruction of one plant cause this much harm? -> Because it accounted for 25% of the market. That's actually fairly large; however, most techs would argue that 25% of the market going under does not justify a 400% price increase. It is possible, but something seems kind of...off about the situation. We'll revisit the problem in a few months, and see what the fallout is. Personally, I'm finding it difficult to believe that large HD manufacturers do not have capacity to spare. But then, Seagate merged with Maxtor, so bad decisions abound.

Because you're all fucking shortsighted idiots. -> Natural disasters tend to hit everyone, at some point or another. Why, a little while back, there was this Hurricane called Katrina that...

Re:Maybe (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170616)

If we made it here we couldn't afford it.

The reason we have such vast numbers of PCs is the components are made in places like Thailand.

A trivial price increase now and then doesn't matter.

Re:Maybe (2)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170944)

Tell the truth, that's a bit of a lie though. Those people in those factories are paid nearly US wages, more so if you compensate for them wasting manpower 2-3x what US companies do.

The bigger issue is investment dollars. They got to build these plant for pennies on the dollar with little to no oversight and the governments picking up a huge part of the tab. It was about investors chasing that quick 20% turnaround. Of course now the money-losing part of the industry is moved so its cheaper to build where factories are already at.

The US isn't that much more expensive. At my company, we beat our Brazillian counterparts in $$/worker that more than accounts for wages. Of course the bigger costs are energy and materials... Which of course are barely subsidized (and hijaked buy the same investors that move things out) there versus other countries.

Would not be surprised (3, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170126)

Price fixing is nothing new in the manufacturing world. I would not be surprised one bit. In my case, I've made a very simple and rash decision: I'm not buying any hard drives until prices come back down to normal. A SAS expander I built two months ago for $15k would now cost $30k. My clients aren't going for that, so I'm waiting it out.

The manufacturers knew what they were getting into, when they built their factories on flood plains. The burden for that mistake should not be born by the customer.

Re:Would not be surprised (1, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170172)

The manufacturers knew what they were getting into, when they built their factories on flood plains. The burden for that mistake should not be born by the customer.

There aren't enough hard drives.

You basically have two choices:

1. Keep prices the same, so when you have an urgent need for a drive to keep your company's servers operating there won't be any available to buy because they were all sold to people who want to download more movie torrents.
2. Increase prices so people who don't really need a drive right now don't buy it and you'll be able to buy your urgently-needed drive for twice the price it would have been a few months ago.

Lefties prefer option 1, where they keep prices artificially low and then complain when there's nothing available to buy. Sane people prefer option 2.

Re:Would not be surprised (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170270)

Finally someone who isn't an economic ignoramus in 0123456.

As for billcopc's comment that those who built their factories on flood plains should bear the cost, it is incredible to me that he thinks they aren't bearing a cost for the destruction of their factories and property. Also, they obviously built their factories there for a reason, undoubtedly having to do with costs; consumers have been reaping the benefits of that in lower prices.

Re:Would not be surprised (-1, Troll)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170502)

His economics are ok, however his politics are those of a nitwit.

Re:Would not be surprised (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170490)

Lefties prefer option 1, where they keep prices artificially low and then complain when there's nothing available to buy. Sane people prefer option 2.

I was with you up until that gem. Your economic statement is sound, but your generalization falls somewhere short of enlightened thought.

I don't hate gay people and think abstinence-only education is a terrible idea. That typically makes me one of the "lefties." Believe it or not, I still own and operate a successful small business and am supportive of the free market in most contexts.

Re:Would not be surprised (0)

rubypossum (693765) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170606)

Someone please mod this up.

Re:Would not be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170736)

Why should this be modded up?

Re:Would not be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170806)

How about you try making useful comments and earning your own damn mod points?

Re:Would not be surprised (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170526)

Lefties prefer option 1, where they keep prices artificially low and then complain when there's nothing available to buy. Sane people prefer option 2.

I dunno, I am pretty left (I vote 'greens' in Australia) and I like idea 2. a lot better.

I think if we were talking about health care, or education, then it's in society's (and the economy's) long term interest to keep things available to everybody.

Hard disks however are a lot more important to people who can pay more for them (not the same as health and education), so it's fine to let the market sort itself out.

Re:Would not be surprised (0)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170560)

The Lefties just understand that what will really happen is that the rich kid will buy his second porn drive while the ramen eating student will be unable to afford a replacement for his main drive.

A Leftie would also claim that the best solution would be for the govt. to implement a rationing policy to ensure the drives go to who really needs them.

Personally, considering their just hard drives, I agree that supply and demand are the least bad strategy for allocation, but let's not kid ourselves: it's far from optimal.

Re:Would not be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170632)

A Leftie would also claim that the best solution would be for the govt. to implement a rationing policy to ensure the drives go to who really needs them.

Ha-ha. You're right, we'd all be better off if we had to beg the government to be allowed to buy a hard drive, rather than paying twice as much for it.

All rationing does is ensure that there will be a lack of hard drives for important uses because the government will let their cronies buy them up for pr0n.

"So, Mr Google. If we let you buy a thousand hard drives, what do we get in return?"

Re:Would not be surprised (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170576)

"Lefties"? How fucking childish.

Re:Would not be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170226)

Price fixing will be shown when the HDD companies do not lower their prices.

We need to revisit this in the second quarter or the months between April and June. If the prices are not down by then a new company needs to be formed out side of the Asia Pacific region.

Re:Would not be surprised (1)

wringles (12507) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170302)

<quote><p>The manufacturers knew what they were getting into, when they built their factories on flood plains.</p></quote>

Stupid HD manufacturers, everybody knows you should build an irrigated field or a trading post on flood plains.

Re:Would not be surprised (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170978)

Just out of curiosity, I wonder how much it would cost to build a concrete sea-wall with a ramp around the factory.

Re:Would not be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170382)

I'm pretty sure HDD production was only a tiny bit better than product demand.
So, assuming manufacturers had keep prices:
- WD can't supply demand.
- WD customers have to get thier disks somewhere else.
- Seagate, Samsung, Hitachi, etc can't supply their own users and WD's customers.
- HDDs have to be rationed by everybody.
- So people have to start buying 2nd hand, where the price would skyrocket (which is what we were trying to avoid).

Re:Would not be surprised (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170998)

Who, in their right mind, builds a factory without excess capacity to trounce the competition in a moment of weakness?

That's just poor planning...

RE: (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170136)

The main reason is because of the floods at WD, the only major supplier of heads is Seagate in Derry. They are pushing up their prices to the makers because they can because demand is higher on them. A temporary blip because WD will be back up and running soon (i.e. by the end of 2012). Still, SSD's don't have the reliability nor will the increased price of HDD's scare people off, SSD's are still expensive.

Surely you mean "by the end of 2011"? (5, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170588)

Or by March 2012, tops. [nationmultimedia.com]

Personally, I'd rather take the estimates of people doing their best to fix the problem... [marketwatch.com]

Plant managers at Nidec Corp. (6594), which makes motors for disk drives and also has a factory at Rajana, decided not to wait for the water to subside at its seven flooded factories. According to company spokesman Masashiro Nagayasu, they cut a hole in the roof of the Rajana factory, sent divers into the toxin-laden waters to unbolt some heavy equipment, and lifted it onto waiting boats. Some of the equipment is now being used in Nidec factories in China and the Philippines.

...than of CEOs like Seagate's Stephen Luczo [bloomberg.com] who are gleefully rubbing their hands together at the price hike, predicting a year-long shortage of hard-drives.

"People are going to appreciate the complexity of this business," he says.

Re:Surely you mean "by the end of 2011"? (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170760)

Jesus Christ. If that ain't the gold-standard of examples for why american business is fucked I don't know what is - productivity vs rent-seeking.

Prices have been crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170150)

Newegg is running deals today, but the other day I saw that they had 160GB SATA drives going for almost $90. These were like $35 + shipping two months ago. It's insane. Depending what size drives you're looking at, it is high.

Consider that they have 60GB SSDs for around $50 with rebates and you see the problem.

Economics 101 (0, Redundant)

jamesl (106902) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170190)

... but there are concerns of artificial price fixing and suspicion that retailers or members of the supply channel are taking advantage of the situation.

Falling supply in the face of unchanging demand will cause the market clearing price to rise. There is no such thing as artificial price fixing. And of course every one in the supply chain will raise their prices. That's the way it works.

This way, there is product always available for emergencies -- your drive died and you need a replacement no matter the cost. The alternative is no drives, no where, no matter what.

Re:Economics 101 (2)

JMZero (449047) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170544)

There is no such thing as artificial price fixing.

If there's a limited number of suppliers in a market, they can (and do, often) collude to keep prices at a certain level. It's perfectly natural to call that "artificial price fixing". In a perfect market, they would be replaced by a competitor whose price was closer to the marginal cost of production - but that's not how actually economies work.

I suppose to an extent, your interpretation IS what's taught in Econ 101 (assuming Econ 101 is "General Microeconomics" at your school, and focuses on theory), but that isn't the end truth or something. Price fixing is a concern in real market economies - and often it's shortages like this that effectively give cover for companies to try it (you see this all the time with oil/gasoline prices).

200 GB is enough for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170192)

I'm happy with my 200 GB hard drive from 2004. All I need to do is to avoid installing bloated software. Newer versions of programs like Nero take 500 MB because of localization files and skins. I don't need skins for a program for CD burning nor I need Russian and Farsi translations if I don't speak those languages.

Re:200 GB is enough for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170320)

Or you can just get ImgBurn and dump Nero all together.

Every copy of that crapware Nero should've been deleted by 2005.

seagate 2TB 5900rpm (1)

HeavyDDuty (2506392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170230)

seagate 2TB 5900rpm was down to CAN$64.99 at local store, then the flood/gouging hit and today it's $169.99 (jumped from 3.5/GB to 8.5/GB). at newegg was CAN$89.99, now $229.99 (jumped from 4.5/GB to 11.5/GB).

Re:seagate 2TB 5900rpm (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170304)

Wait. Is it legal to sell 5900 RPM HDs? ^_^

Re:seagate 2TB 5900rpm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170370)

For a media server, yup. For your OS drive, it should be illegal.

Re:seagate 2TB 5900rpm (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38171038)

for your average home use I doubt you could really tell the difference without sitting down and measuring it

Better than stocks (1, Funny)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170256)

I should have bought more hard drives instead of losing it buying stocks.

Statistics? (0)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170258)

How does the average price per unit say anything about hdd prices in general? What kind of units?
Maybe they just sold fewer, but more expensive hdds, instead of many cheap ones?
One expensive, big hdd entering the top 10 sold (which they used as a basis) can easily alter this statistic by this margin.

I can't see how APU says anything, unless you also average the GB per hdd. In which case a simple $/GB number would should be used.

Re:Statistics? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170446)

One major issue, that makes $/GB a bit less relevant, is the huge number of corporate typing boxes and generic consumer desktop/laptop units moved.

Depending on the buyer, the exact 'floor size' that they absolutely won't go below varies(80 or 160GB seems pretty common); but the buyer's interest in more space than that is zero. They'll take it, if it's free; but they won't pay any extra.

This makes for a very large number of HDD sales where an HDD is absolutely required(can't ship the box without a boot drive); but there is no willingness to pay any premium for a larger size. Especially if any of the shortages are in things like heads, signal processing components, or mechanical assemblies(rather than in premium, high-density platters) this market will behave rather differently than the bulk storage HDD market...

better hope that apple does lock in high prices fo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170306)

better hope that apple does lock in high prices for a year + on there new systems and maybe a year to a year and half on the 2012 mac pro.

So in 2013 apple will still have a 1tb to 2tb upgrade at $250

Re:better hope that apple does lock in high prices (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38171008)

Considering they have been moving to SSD for a while they might end up being cheaper .... I mean more profitable...

Only 150%? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170344)

As a Seagate reseller in Canada, our cost on the most popular model we sell is up 191% (roughly triple). Seagate didn't even have a factory in the flood. WD (who did) is typically even higher, and many models simply can't be bought anywhere for any price.

No Harddrives for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170500)

I was going to get a couple backplates and some drives to fill them, looks like I might need to wait it out a little to see if they get back to normal.

Could probably put that towards getting an SSD for speed reasons though. That's an upside.

Cost 135% more or... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170562)

35% MORE? You actually would pay double and then some? I suspect not.

Statement is at odds with earlier statement in article.

Small one-off issue I have with a lot of people and misusing statistics...

bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38170570)

The hard disk bubble is here.!

I was lucky (-1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170676)

I was lucky enough to buy mine just before the prices skyrocketed.

Even a blind squirrel./. (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170856)

For some reason, when the STAN500100 appeared in Sept for $99 I jumped on it.

For once I am on the right side of a price change. The $99 with free shipping I got is looking pretty good now.

Welcome to capitalism... (5, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170890)

Is any of this surprising??? A caribou in Alaska passes gas and ALL gas prices jump forty cents in the US (of course there's no price fixing or collusion going on.) In 2000 Enron screwed with the supply of electricity to the western US, precipitating the Dot Com crash (the tech bubble sustained the collapse, but it was the rolling black outs that started massive business failures.) Enron's affiliates were able to bump prices to mind numbing levels, then got caught with internal memos laughing about how they reamed California for billions. An article comes out that oat bran reduces cholesterol and suddenly a bag of granola needs to be stored in a bank deposit box.

We are haunted daily by "Whatever the market will bear..." [rhdefense.com] , which is just code for "The piggies are at the trough and if I don't gouge out a piece for myself I'll miss out on the feeding frenzy." Sadly it has become the norm. Our society has put profit ahead of everything, ahead of dignity, compassion, even sanity. We've been caught in a terrible race to the bottom. This is why we debate about the sane limits to gutting economies and ecosystems. Because somebody, somewhere isn't yet done raping what remains of some vital resource.

Perhaps its time we acknowledged the darker aspects of primate behavior and started designing our society to limit the damage they can do. Checks and balances were expressly designed into our government to limit the dangers of concentrated power. Sadly we've allowed power to concentrate elsewhere and the wisdom of our founding fathers now ring louder than ever before. Corporation is the failure and its time to put things right. The price of drives is just a blip on a landscape of unbridled greed and avarice destroying the very things that make life worth living.

Damn straight they are up (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170900)

Best Buy Canada I bought a Seagate Expansion 500G for $69.99 about three months ago. Its $99 now., the 1TB was $99 and now is $139.99

Did anyone notice? No Hard Drives in Sales Adverts (2)

The Optimizer (14168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38171018)

Something I noticed for the last three weeks was the absence of hard drives specials or sales in the weekly adverts from retailers like Fry's electronics.

When newegg sent out their "November Madness" and "Black Friday" emails to subscribes, there was *not a single* hard drive to be found in the sales.

Normally I'd try for a witty or insightful comment here, but I just don't have much more to say as I don't know if it more due to profit taking on the retailer's part, or if they are more concerned about running short/out of supply in the near future.

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