Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Hard Drive Revenue About To Take a Double-Digit Dip

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the coming-down-with-a-case-of-the-cloud dept.

Data Storage 269

Lucas123 writes "Ultrathin notebooks, smart phones and SSDs are all putting pressure on the hard drive market, which is set to take an almost 12% revenue loss this year, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli. Hard drive market revenue is set to drop to about $32.7 billion this year, down 11.8% from $37.1 billion last year. At the same time, In what appears to be a grim scenario, the optical disk drive industry is expected to encounter continued challenges this year, and optical drives could eventually be abandoned by PC makers altogether."

cancel ×

269 comments

Less demand (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791165)

That means prices will go down, right?

Re:Less demand (5, Insightful)

8ball629 (963244) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791243)

That means prices will go down, right?

We can only hope. Recently HDD manufacturers seem to be coming up with any excuse possible to increase the price per unit and I could see them increasing the price just to lessen the blow of decreased sales.

Re:Less demand (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791755)

For a hint of where the market for spinning drives is going, look at DLP. DLP never totally went away... it just walked away from the low end, then milked the high end for years.

SSDs are getting cheaper, but for raw bulk digital tonnage and petabytes of ripped Blu-ray pr0n, it's still hard to beat spinning hard drives. Manufacturers will just quit making small drives as SSDs catch up, add platters until they can't fit anymore into a 3.5" enclosure, then revisit the past and reintroduce 5.25" hard drives, just like Quantum did ~15 years ago. At some point (probably 10-20 years from now) SSDs might eclipse spinning hard drives, but I wouldn't write them out of the picture TOO soon. We'll be buying them LONG after Joe Sixpack and his kids have forgotten what they are.

Optical media will probably be around longer, as long as Hollywood doesn't manage to kill it off, because it has one concrete advantage: longevity (as long as it's not based on organic dyes). BD-R media is likely to be around (in single, 2, 3, 4, or more) layer forms for a really, really long time.

Prices won't necessarily go up per se, but drives will probably get more expensive over time because the low end will just cease to exist, and manufacturers will try to make the drives bigger, faster, more redundant, (god forbid) repairable, or some permutation of the above, while maintaining the same price points and gradually just eliminating the lower ones until the only spinning drive you can buy is a 5.25" 500TB Western Digital Diplodicus Max with 256GB flashcache for $299.

Re:Less demand (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792179)

For a hint of where the market for spinning drives is going, look at DLP.

For anyone else going WTF do projectors and televisions have to do with storage, he's actually talking about DLT - Digital Linear Tape which is the marketing name of the Quantum tape product originally developed by DEC. The competing format is LTO (Linear Tape-Open) which basically killed DLT circa 2005. HP, IBM and eventually even Quantum (after acquiring Seagate's tape division) make LTO products.

Re:Less demand (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792573)

Actually if anything I have a feeling HDDs are gonna have a "bounce" in a year or two as all those that got cheap SSDs get burnt when they flip the switch and find all their data gone.

The problem with SSDs is frankly they have never really licked the controller issues and as they add more space the problem just seems to be getting worse. I have honestly never seen an SSD die from the cells being used up but I have seen a LOT of SSDs that had the controller fail and take the drive out. Over at coding horror they labeled this the hot/crazy scale [codinghorror.com] in that to get the hot performance of SSDs you had to put up with the crazy failure rates. While those of us who are religious about backups won't have a problem with this most folks are NOT religious about backups and WILL get bit in the ass when they flip the switch one day and just find their data gone forever.

So I have a feeling when all those cheapo SSDs start going tits up there is gonna be a lot of folks that write off the tech and go back to HDDs, say what you will about HDDs they usually give you plenty of warning before going tits up.

Re:Less demand (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792511)

And THIS, this right here, is why their sales are falling. Before the flood I was getting 1TB drives at around $40 and 2TB drives for around $65 but since the flood prices have been close to double that so I simply haven't been buying. If the prices come down? Sure I'd be happy to add another couple of TB of storage, but I'm not gonna pay premium price just to add more space.

Re:Less demand (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792701)

The market has been pretty stagnant for a couple of years now. Prices have remained high and capacities have not improved much. The really big drives are still relatively rare and rather absurdly priced. I am not looking forward to any new media purchases because there's simply nothing new to look forward to.

If they don't present me with a nice upgrade path, I will continue to just hold onto my old media longer.

Re:Less demand (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791253)

Not if you cut supply.

Hard Drive business is an oligopoly business (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792569)

Not if you cut supply.

In an open marketplace, where there are a lot of competitors, cutting supply would be a commercial suicide.
 
But the hard drive business we have today is an oligopoly business. After the rounds of M&A there are less than 5 serious contenders in the HD manufacturing business.
 
Cutting supply in such scenario has become a very possible option for the oligarchs.

Re:Less demand (2)

colinnwn (677715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791261)

optical drives could eventually be abandoned by PC makers altogether.

And won't be missed.

That means prices will go down, right?

At first as the market searches for a new equilibrium. Later, at least one or 2 big name makers will exit the market. As the size of the market contracts, you'll see the price of HDDs per GB creep up a little, or at least stop going down ignoring the effect of the Taiwanese floods. But HDDs aren't going away. They'll be the cheapest highest density quickly accessible storage for many years into the future.

Re:Less demand (4, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791419)

"or at least stop going down ignoring the effect of the Taiwanese floods."

You could at least get the country right. It's Thailand, not Taiwan.

Re:Less demand (1)

colinnwn (677715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791535)

Couldn't remember, I knew it was a T country, and that was the first google result.

Re:Less demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791597)

Fuck - and this whole time I thought it was Trinidad!

Re:Less demand (1)

colinnwn (677715) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791905)

No no, it is Tobago

Re:Less demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792023)

Fuck - and this whole time I thought it was Trinidad!

you mean it's not Trinidad and Tobago? They seem twice as likely to be involved

Re:Less demand (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792221)

Now this thread is the top link for "Taiwanese flood hard drive".

Good job!

Re:Less demand (1)

daniel23 (605413) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792491)

made me laugh out loud - but not true. Currently it's #12 - but only after setting the search option to "last hour"

Re:Less demand (4, Insightful)

teh dave (1618221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791957)

And won't be missed.

I will miss them. I still like optical discs, as they make an excellent WORM media (Write Once, Read Many). This makes them good for archival storage of files that aren't huge movies, like documents. A double layer BD disc holds 50GB, which is plenty for documents, config files, code, save games, even photos or moderate amounts of music. Just because you can't fit your entire torrented movie collection doesn't make them useless. You see, I can write a BD disc, and close it. I then know that nothing can write to it again (well, practically - how many people have BD burners, and mine won't anyway), which means it's safe to use in an untrusted (or potentially infected) system. Name a cheaper storage medium which has this capability.

I also find many people dismissing optical media for movie and game distribution, and claim that these days it should all be distributed online. It must be nice to have a fibre Internet connection to your house, but back in the real world where everyone else lives the average Internet connection speed is still a couple of megabits, and that isn't improving very quickly at all. People like myself are stuck with a measly three megabits... you expect me to download a 20GB video game or a 40GB movie on that? I'd be waiting a week!

Re:Less demand (2)

teh dave (1618221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792007)

Whoops - forgot to mention. The other benefit WORM media has is its usefulness for storing software that needs to be trusted, such as your OS. I realise it's much faster to install an OS from a USB flash drive, but I can much more easily trust the Ubuntu disc I burned on a trusted system after verifying its integrity using the supplied sha1sum - or the offical logo'd Windows disc supplied by Microsoft with the pretty hologram embedded in the disc surface.

Re:Less demand (3, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791267)

Maybe. But there will also be much less investment in further density improvements. Every dying technology reaches a price minimum, after which point the price actually increases. Even though memory is cheap, a new stick of DDR costs more now than the same stick would have cost five years ago, even though the demand was much higher then. That's simply because manufacturers lost all incentive to produce DDR because of the low demand. The same thing could happen to hard drives. You'll know we're in trouble when factories start scaling back production, closing or retooling for the manufacture of something else. We're not there yet, but we soon might be.

Re:Less demand (4, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791453)

I am more worried about traditional computers following this trend as the average Joe finds all his non-productive computer usage can be done on a tablet and gaming console. Power users, productive users, and PC gamers would left spending even more money on equipment than they already do.

Re:Less demand (1, Informative)

second_coming (2014346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791643)

In comparison with what PC hardware used to cost, they are extremely cheap at the moment.

My first PC in 1992 cost me £1400.

Re:Less demand (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791645)

That's how it should be. OTOH the products will be more focused so you should get more value for your money.

Re:Less demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791883)

The whole point of a general purpose computer is for it to have a general purpose so that you can do whatever the hell you want with it.

Re:Less demand (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792005)

Yes, but most people do not need a general purpose computer. You're been riding on the rather accidental alignment of "entertainment computing" and "general computing", because for the last few decades entertainment computing was demanding enough to require a heavyweight general PC. Now, special purpose devices like tablets are stepping in to fill that niche, so the result will be that general purpose computers become more expensive because they won't enjoy the economies of scale they have over the last few decades from the great masses buying them any longer.

Re:Less demand (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791507)

Your comparison is not really all that valid

The article refers to "hard drives" in general, not a specific type (IDE/SATA) or generation (SATA/SATA II)

It is not as though there is no further investment into the improvement of "memory". Certainly DDR is not being improved at this time, and hence it is more expensive than it was, but that hasn't prevented DDR3 from being improved, larger, faster and cheaper.

It's also not as though the hard drive market is going to suddenly dry up. Mobile devices may be stealing the show in the consumer market, but the growth of more and more mobile devices also has the effect of increasing the amount of storage needed in the server/cloud market.

Short of a new storage technology that will provide cost effective (/=cheap), large capacity, high performance at some scale better than hard drives, there is still plenty of need to continue to improve hard drive technologies.

Re:Less demand (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791409)

Actually if they do less volume prices will rise.

Re:Less demand (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791425)

no, but supply will.

Re:Less demand (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791493)

That means prices will go down, right?

That would probably be true in a competitive market.

But right now the market for hard disks is between two giants (Western Digital and Seagate) and one tiny little division of Toshiba that doesn't make much if any 3.5" models. I think we are much more likely to see oligopoly-style non-competition and thus price stability if not outright increases.

Re:Less demand (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791531)

But right now the market for hard disks is between two giants (Western Digital and Seagate) and one tiny little division of Toshiba that doesn't make much if any 3.5" models

And SSDs. The availability of drop-in replacements for spinning-disk hard drives alters the market dynamics. SSDs are a lot more expensive, but they also offer some big benefits: lower power, faster access. The availability of SSDs is likely to impact the price of spinning platters much more than the 2-supplier oligopoly.

Re:Less demand (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791697)

Prices are already down and below pre-flood prices for 3TB HDDs, so I'm not sure what the fuss still is. Here's the price development on a Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB 6Gb / s [google.com] , scroll down to "Full history" and you can see the whole history from pre-flood to today. The prices are in NOK so forget the absolute values but pre-flood it cost about 1000 NOK, peaked at 1700, returned to 1000 around Christmas and now it sells for 921, wiithout VAT that's about $135. Bulk storage has never been cheaper than now.

Re:Less demand (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791969)

That is just the price history of one model in one country. In the US, I scooped up eight 3TB external drives off the shelf of Target after the price-gouging started because Target was slow to catch up with the online gougers. They were $99 each. Yes, $99 for a 3TB external drive at a regular brick and mortar department store,, not on sale. The 2TB drives were $79.

Quoting the Last Line from Buckaroo Banzai... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791179)

...so what. Big deal.

ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791187)

So we are going to abandon both dvd dl and bluray discs for pcs?

Im sorry, but the bluray burners are just starting to get affordable, once again a sensational story to drum up glum and doom.

Re:ok then (4, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791335)

Yes the burners are just starting to get affordable, but is it actually too late?

Back in the days of 20gig hard drives and 128mb flash sticks, DVD burners were a god send.
But now we are at 3TB hard drives and 64-128gig flash sticks plus 'cloud' storage which is better for long term archives.

Is a measly 25gig single sided going to cut it when they are just starting to get affordable?
Some people will buy them but I suspect every single computer will not have one like they used to with DVD burners.

Re:ok then (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791429)

Agreed, i can't even work out what a bluray burner would even be useful for. USB sticks for removable, portable storage - that can play just about anywhere a bluray can play - and hard drives for archiving (in a redundant setup is best).

Re:ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791759)

Agreed, i can't even work out what a bluray burner would even be useful for..

Rip that movie in the first place?

Re:ok then (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792733)

Optical media likely still beats thumb drives in terms of cost and are still more standard. The problem with standard is that "just about good enough" isn't really good enough. If you're even acknowledging the fact that thumb drives aren't universal, then you've already got a serious problem with the format.

It's a bit like Zip disks or MD disks.

"Almost standard" isn't quite good enough.

Re:ok then (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791685)

But now we are at 3TB hard drives and 64-128gig flash sticks plus 'cloud' storage which is better for long term archives.

Not necessarily. R/W storage has always the risk that somebody accidentally deletes the archived files. HDDs can get damaged from mechanical shocks, flash products can die from ESD zaps. I still feel that the optical disc is the king of proper long-term storage.

Re:ok then (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791911)

And bluray never gets scratched or degrades and backing up lots of data with it takes a really small amount of space.

Oh wait....

Re:ok then (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791987)

And bluray never gets scratched or degrades and backing up lots of data with it takes a really small amount of space.

Have you ever tried scratching a Blu-ray disc? I have: old backup discs that are being "retired." I have taken a utility knife and dragged the sharp end across a disc and had it not leave a scratch. I have used fingernails, nail clippers, and other random sharp implements I have around my desk. I have to go across the disc several times and/or push really hard to ruin a Blu-ray.

That or snap it in half, but even that is more difficult than with a CD or DVD.

Re:ok then (1)

slaker (53818) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792361)

Try scratching the label side. You'll find that it's much easier and more productive to damage that side anyway since it's closer to the aluminum coating.

Re:ok then (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792525)

I think that only applies to CDs. I know DVDs have the shiny metal equal distance between the two sides (that is how they can have two-sided DVDs). I would think that BluRay is the same.

Re:ok then (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792185)

Not necessarily. R/W storage has always the risk that somebody accidentally deletes the archived files. HDDs can get damaged from mechanical shocks, flash products can die from ESD zaps. I still feel that the optical disc is the king of proper long-term storage.

There's not much chance of accidentally overwriting a disconnected external HDD clearly labeled BACKUP either. I take it you've never tried to restore a large amount of data from optical media? I have and they do get unrecoverable CRC errors, but what's almost as bad is the read speed of old discs. My drive would spin up, down, read and re-read so a single disc could take an hour to read. Even on good discs I say you'd be lucky to restore 4 DVDs/hour, and it takes 200+ to restore a single 1TB HDD. And unless you have a disc robot that means you'll be glued to your computer for days changing discs every 15 minutes.

If you want more security, the best way is more copies. With HDDs you could have triple backups with far less effort than making one DVD backup set. If you have the bandwidth make multiple online backups, don't trust one backup service. Of course in theory you could have supervirus wiping all your disks and logging into all your backup services and deleting all your files, but that's why you have a disconnected HDD. And if you're robbed blind or the house burns to the ground they'll all go unless you've taken one offsite, but your online backups will still be there. The chance of both on- and offline backups disappearing at the same time is practically none.

but do you really want to download and store 25g (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791727)

but do you really want to download and store a 25g+ movie and that's just one movie.

Re:ok then (3, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791889)

non-LTH BD-R has a HUGE advantage over any hard drive: you can throw it in a drawer, forget about it for the next 25 years, maybe even let it bake in a hot, humid Florida garage for 5-10 years, and end up with something that's likely to still be readable. There are so many things that can go wrong and break with a normal hard drive over the span of 25 years, the likelihood of ANY hard drive actually working even 10-15 years down the road after years of disuse and questionable storage is basically "nonexistent", and depressingly low even if you've kept it in a 70 degree room with low humidity the whole time.

DVD-R used organic dyes and isn't likely to be a reliable long-term storage medium, but the ORIGINAL (non-LTH) BD-R discs are about as close as you can get with modern media to "carving it in stone". There's even a company (Milleniata?) who makes discs that are basically BD-R media burned to DVD geometry (you need a supported BD-R drive to burn them), and a likely shelf life of a hundred years or more (especially if you burn 2 or 3 copies, and store them in different locations, so you can scrape the bits from all 3 and take advantage of error correction to reconstruct an intact copy decades from now).

VHS has been dead as a consumer format for more than a decade, but there are STILL companies selling new VCRs. What vanished were the cheap consumer models. What remains are heavy-duty pro models designed mainly for recovery and restoration work... and it's a market that's slowly growing as desperate consumers realize they no longer have the players for their old high school band/cheerleading/football tapes their parents made years ago, and they go looking for solutions (or people who can do it for them). Best of all, the patents have all basically expired, so now a smaller company with the ability to machine metal & plastic parts actually CAN step in to take over a market that companies like Sony & Matsushita lost interest in years ago.

Re:ok then (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792581)

VHS has been dead as a consumer format for more than a decade, but there are STILL companies selling new VCRs. What vanished were the cheap consumer models. What remains are heavy-duty pro models designed mainly for recovery and restoration work... and it's a market that's slowly growing as desperate consumers realize they no longer have the players for their old high school band/cheerleading/football tapes their parents made years ago, and they go looking for solutions (or people who can do it for them). Best of all, the patents have all basically expired, so now a smaller company with the ability to machine metal & plastic parts actually CAN step in to take over a market that companies like Sony & Matsushita lost interest in years ago.

Umm, there is no such market. Any new VHS VCR you can buy is found in a DVD combo deck and is utter garbage. All the best SVHS and DVHS decks (made by JVC and Panasonic) for digital transfer work have long since been discontinued. JVC also managed to keep the VHS patents fresh when things like SVHS ET (SVHS recording on standard VHS tapes) and later the Digital VHS format.

Re:ok then (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791403)

Affordable useless crap is still useless crap. I guess some people watch BR movies on their computers with discs instead of torrents, but it ain't me.

DVD writers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791209)

My last DVD writer uses IDE connector. Updated to later motherboard, and it no longer had an IDE connector. So now I no longer have an optical drive. The old DVD drive is now in a file server getting about the same amount of usage - almost none.

Optical drives are soon going the way of the floppy.

optical disks still cost less then usb keys in bul (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791215)

optical disks still cost less then usb keys / sdcards in bulk.

Also HSI is not all over the place and 3g/4g caps are low.

And to install a OS a disk is nice and not a restore / recovery partition that can be wiped out by hdd failing / junk software / putting a bigger drive in your system.

Also what about building a pc you need a os install disk.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (3, Interesting)

fatalexe (845503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791229)

I switched to using USB drives to install the OS of a computer a long time ago. You can even keep them up to date with OS patches unlike burnt disks. Usually installs faster too.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791433)

"You can even keep them up to date with OS patches unlike burnt disks."

Someone obviously hasn't heard of nlite.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (1)

Trolan (42526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791461)

Same here. There's even USB drive enclosures which let you select an ISO from the disk, and then present themselves as a CD/DVD drive as though that disk image were directly inserted. Far, far easier to load up a 2.5" drive with a ton of disk images, and just carry the enclosure around for system repairs, instead of a slew of optical media.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791721)

I switched to using USB drives to install the OS of a computer a long time ago. You can even keep them up to date with OS patches unlike burnt disks. Usually installs faster too.

It's just that malware can modify the contents of the flash drive and after that, all your installs will be contaminated.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (1)

8ball629 (963244) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791319)

As fatalexe said:

I switched to using USB drives to install the OS of a computer a long time ago. You can even keep them up to date with OS patches unlike burnt disks. Usually installs faster too.

I recently used a USB drive as a boot-only type device to pull up the install screen, then installed all of the ports and packages over my network.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791395)

Problem with usb flash drives is that they easily can become infected. They need a "write protect" switch so when you have a clean one and use it on someone else's system you don't get badness on it. This needs to be standard on all flash drives or a new round of mayhem will ensue as these become the new floppies. At least CDs and DVDs let you transfer, install software, etc. without getting infected by virus, trojans, etc.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791601)

Well there is the lock switch on all standard size SD-Cards, I have never found where it actually did anything (i could still write regardless of position and files would show up on other systems.

If it's the same as the SD-Cards it is just a waste.

store the images on a separate HDD/NAS (1)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791417)

then copy to flash right before the install. No stacks of install media needed.

Re:store the images on a separate HDD/NAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791489)

This is easier said than done. Are you recommending just dd-ing the whole partition to the thumb drive? What about the offsets on the partition (are they important)? In short: have you actually done this?

Re:store the images on a separate HDD/NAS (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792311)

I've done it [microsoftstore.com] several times. It's much faster than dragging out a piece of hardware I'm never going to use again to burn a disc I'm never going to use again.

Don't know and don't care if this works for your bizarro OS of choice.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791447)

Also what about building a pc you need a os install disk.

That requirement went away like a decade ago.

Re:optical disks still cost less then usb keys in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791709)

optical disks still cost less then usb keys / sdcards in bulk.

Only if you don't factor in write cycles....and as neither are great choices for long term backup, I think you should.

Also HSI is not all over the place and 3g/4g caps are low.

All the more reason why slow and (physically) large optical drives are on the way out.

Also what about building a pc you need a os install disk.

Microsoft has distributed student and developer versions of their OS digitally for years and recommends using a flash memory device for the install....and they have officially supported installing from flash with any retail version since at least Vista.

I still systems with SDD's system and HDD's data (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791225)

I still systems with SDD's system and HDD's data / maybe apps based on how big the SDD is.

awwwwwww (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791237)

but prices after that accident are still way way way way higher so dont give me the cry baby crap and who the hell wants a 120GB drive when i can have a 1TB or 3TB

Price fixing and the Thailand flood Scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791271)

Lets not forget, that this is the same industry that has been screwing us for years. This Slashdot article sums its up pretty nicely http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/11/09/1634247/a-year-after-thailand-flooding-hard-drive-prices-remain-high

Predicting their demise is silly, they will continue to offer larger capacity and better cache systems for years to come, and undoubtably will always be considerably cheaper in large capacity.

Good Riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791337)

I have no sympathy for VHS manufacturers, why should you for Disk Drive manufacturers?

Embrace the future.

Double digit dip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791343)

So hard drive revenues are going to decrease by 10 cents?

Profit margins returning to normal maybe? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791367)

Allow me to say awwwwwwwwwwww.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/05/25/169203/higher-hard-drive-prices-are-the-new-normal

Four quarters ago, manufacturers were making profit margins of 3-6%. Three quarters ago, after the floods in Thailand, they had profit margins of 16-37%.

If they're losing 11% revenue over this time last year, that's probably just a reversal of that record-high profit margin taking effect. And if it isn't, well, awwwwwwwwwww.

Let's see (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791371)

We haven't a major increase in HDD capacity for a long time. That means, instead of paying $300-500 for a high-capacity drive as we did when drive capacity seemed to be doubling every year, we've been paying $100-150.

So I'm shocked that revenue might be dropping.

Re:Let's see (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791821)

That's true. The next increase will probably happen during the following years if and when the manufacturers get drives utilizing HAMR developed to real products.

Where are the hybrids??? (1, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791431)

Seriously. Where are they? I've got the 750 gig Seagate and I love it but it's not big enough for my games. The only other choice I have is the 1tb Revo but that's not really much of a bump and it would take up a PCIe slot, preventing me from ever running 4-way SLI. And it's almost 4x the price of the slightly smaller Seagate. Hardly a bargain compared to SSD. If I'm gonna spend $500, I may as well spend a grand and go full SSD.

I assume Apple must have some sort of exclusive deal on their 3tb hybrids or we'd be seeing general purpose versions of those drives by now.

Re:Where are the hybrids??? (1, Informative)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791583)

In the new iMacs.

Re:Where are the hybrids??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791587)

They're using intel RST tech. Spindle + SSD AFAIK.

Re:Where are the hybrids??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792009)

They're not slowing down on SSD research at all. Hitachi and Seagate have research labs here in Boulder CO and and they've been hiring engineers like mad the past few months for work on new SSD tech.

Re:Where are the hybrids??? (1)

Guppy (12314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792381)

Where are the hybrids???

Toshiba's hybrid hard drive is already in mass production (the MQ01ABDH model, in 750GB and 1TB sizes), but it's OEM only. Right now you pretty much have to buy a new Toshiba laptop to get one. Western Digital seems to have pushed theirs back into 2014.

Well, there are also the hybrid drives from Samsung that came out back in 2007, but I don't think anyone's counting those.

Re:Where are the hybrids??? (1)

lexman098 (1983842) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792505)

First of all, I don't know how many games you would want to play at one time that take 700 gigs. Aside from that, I think windows can make a hybrid drive setup for you if there's flash memory available (ssd, usb stick etc). 2 TB HDD plus 30 gig SSD is probably the cheapest way to go hybrid.

Re:Where are the hybrids??? (3, Informative)

k3vlar (979024) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792669)

Apple doesn't have 3tb hybrid drives... theirs is a software solution. They include a 128gb off-the-shelf(-ish) SSD, and a 3TB platter-based hard drive. Their volume manager software "intelligently" shuffles data around, to optimize access speeds. Not sure how effective it is, but it sure sounds appealing in their advertising material.

What absolute bollocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791615)

"... optical drives could eventually be abandoned by PC makers altogether."

Yeah because at £140 per 256GB SSD they're really gonna be able to meet today's storage needs

2 notes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791631)

1.The powers that be are pushing the centralized cloud to remove user rights and consolidate your data in the hands of the few.

2. Optical discs would have died off anyway - they've become antiquated with USB proliferation (probably also set to be wound down in the future)

Future trends:
No USB, no optical, no HDD, no power in the hands of ordinary serfs.

No usb what about input like keyboards / mouses? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791771)

No usb what about input like keyboards / mouses? and all the other USB stuff.

Wired is better for desktops and on a laptop a wired mouse is harder to lose. Wireless = haveing to deal with batteries

Re:2 notes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792093)

No USB, no optical, no HDD, no power in the hands of ordinary serfs.

Which seems like a bad idea to me, but the ordinary serfs seem to love it, and can't get on board fast enough, so is it really a problem if most people prefer it?

Wax cylinders (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791661)

In other news, the price of wax cylinders is set to rise this year.

Re:Wax cylinders (1)

Junta (36770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791717)

Not an apt analogy. Traditional hard drives still contain the vast vast vast majority of data in the world. Even if every last consumer device were 64 GB of SSD and no one bought any laptop/desktop anymore, all the data they care about would still be on magnetic disks at google/apple/dropbox/mega/azure/ec2/etc...

Re:Wax cylinders (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791867)

But optical?

Low end drives are too expensive (4, Interesting)

MarioMax (907837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791751)

It just drives me absolutely crazy that low end hard drives are as expensive as they are, and stubbornly not dropping. Take for example these prices on Newegg for a new internal desktop hard drive:

250GB - $49.99 ($2.00 per 10 gigabytes)
320GB - $59.99 ($1.87 per 10 gigabytes)
500GB - $58.99 ($1.18 per 10 gigabytes)
1TB - $79.99 ($0.80 per 10 gigabytes)

I mean, don't get me wrong, the 1 terabytes are an attractive price on a price-per-gigabyte point of view. But there are times where you simply don't need (or want) a large drive, and a small one would do, or your budget for a larger one doesn't exist and you need a smaller drive. But the price per gigabyte is so out of whack on the low end models, it doesn't make sense to waste your money. You'd think stores and suppliers would want to dump their low end inventory for the larger capacities, but apparently they aren't in any hurry.

Re:Low end drives are too expensive (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792073)

250GB - $49.99 ($2.00 per 10 gigabytes)
320GB - $59.99 ($1.87 per 10 gigabytes)
500GB - $58.99 ($1.18 per 10 gigabytes)
1TB - $79.99 ($0.80 per 10 gigabytes)

I mean, don't get me wrong, the 1 terabytes are an attractive price on a price-per-gigabyte point of view. But there are times where you simply don't need (or want) a large drive, and a small one would do, or your budget for a larger one doesn't exist and you need a smaller drive. But the price per gigabyte is so out of whack on the low end models, it doesn't make sense to waste your money. You'd think stores and suppliers would want to dump their low end inventory for the larger capacities, but apparently they aren't in any hurry.

There's more to a hard drive than the platters.

What this pricing is telling you is that it costs about $30-40 to produce a hunk of machined aluminum, a controller board, a few connectors, some cache memory, a voice coil, a fancy motor, and a read-write head. And it costs about $5 to produce a platter, regardless of whether it was a 500GB/1TB platter that's only good enough to be used on one side, both sides of a 320MB platter, etc.

The pricing curve for SSDs will have a very long-term advantage over spinning metal in that the costs of the "mechanical" parts of an SSD are negligible in comparison to the costs of a spinning disk. There'a a very real floor in HDD pricing, because there's a lot of things inside an HDD that don't store bits.

Re:Low end drives are too expensive (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792353)

There's more to a hard drive than the platters. What this pricing is telling you is that it costs about $30-40 to produce a hunk of machined aluminum, a controller board, a few connectors, some cache memory, a voice coil, a fancy motor, and a read-write head. And it costs about $5 to produce a platter, regardless of whether it was a 500GB/1TB platter that's only good enough to be used on one side, both sides of a 320MB platter, etc.

And that's just the production, you still have the same costs on packaging, distribution, support, warranty returns etc. no matter if it's a 250GB or 1TB drive you're selling. I see the same thing here with for example broadband, there's a price floor just to operate a service to you no matter if the flow is a trickle or a torrent.

Re:Low end drives are too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792617)

What this pricing is telling you is that it costs about $30-40 to produce a hunk of machined aluminum, a controller board, a few connectors, some cache memory, a voice coil, a fancy motor, and a read-write head.

Exactly. Look at the historical pricing for low-end hard drives. Back when 250MB (rather than 250GB) was the smallest hard drive that you could buy, it too was in the $40-50 price range ($30 on sale). Anyone observing the hard drive price over time from the near past will notice that a given capacity starts high, drops lower and lower, bottoms out at about $40, and then disappears as the next size up hits the $40 price point. If, for some strange reason, someone was making a 250 MB magnetic-storage hard drive today, they'd still be priced at around $40. (Which is why no one is making them anymore - who'd buy a 250MB hard drive when you can get a 250GB one for the same price?)

Re:Low end drives are too expensive (1)

nolife (233813) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792265)

If you only need a 500GB drive then buy it and you will save $20 over the 1TB drive. Spending $20 more on something that you will not need is wasting your $20 regardless if you perceive it as a better value or not. Marketing departments love you.

Re:Low end drives are too expensive (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792345)

The case alone costs about $12 to buy the raw materials, cast, and precision machine. The only difference between the 250GB and 1TB version is the number of platters, quality of platters and model of read/write heads. The profit margin on the 250GB is probably about 15%, just the same as the model with the high end 1TB platters & read/write heads. Eventually you run in to a price floor, which is based on the physical reality that the drive is made from high grade machined aluminum.

Re:Low end drives are too expensive (1)

snadrus (930168) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792399)

USB Flash Drive:
32GB - $17.98 ($5.60 per 10 gigabytes)
If you're storing just an OS image, why waste $30?

It's deserved (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42791763)

The market is punishing the Hard Drive creators for the fact they engaged in price gouging. The popularity of SSDs skyrocketed after hard drive manufacturers took advantage of several factories being disabled. Now that people like SSDs, the popularity of hard drives is permanently diminshed.

Did you enjoy your short term gains without and long term goals? Hope you did. Bye bye in a few years, then!

Optical drives (1)

epp_b (944299) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791807)

Optical drives are on the way out? Good riddance. I'm tired of those slow, cumbersome wastes of space.

Any software that isn't delivered as a download (and most of it is these days) should be on a USB drive. And it should have been like this for years already.

Re:Optical drives (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792309)

A lot of software 'deliverable as a download' is only available as long as the proprietary vendor deems to make it available.

I'm sorry, but I like having a durable backup installer of anything I am going to rely on. And that means on permanent media that I can put away in a drawer.

Optical Drives (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791897)

Say what you want about them but I still love a good DVD-RW drive. It will never matter what kind of computer I'm running, an optical drive will always be in my bill of sale.

DVD-Rs are good for long term backups (2)

linebackn (131821) | about a year and a half ago | (#42791985)

Quality DVD-Rs and CD-Rs last a long time, have no mechanical components to wear out, or electronic parts that can get zapped. They are not even magnetic, so EM is not an issue. Except for RW media, they can not be overwritten so data can not be altered by a computer glitch or virus. Their interface to the computer can't become obsolete since they don't have one, and newer drives would adapt for the next great thing. CD-R media even lets my data be readable in the oldest of CD drives. Disks are easier to store and organize than a pile of flash drives. And CD/DVDs don't usually break when dropped, like hard drives.

Unlike teh cloudz, the data is secure from prying eyes and right under my fingertips when I need it.

I use DVD-R for long term backups all the time, and I'm a little concerned that if CD/DVD media goes the way of the floppy drive then what can I use that is just as reliable and inexpensive?

Re:DVD-Rs are DEAD DEAD DEAD for long term backups (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792261)

I use DVD-R for long term backups all the time, and I'm a little concerned that if CD/DVD media goes the way of the floppy drive then what can I use that is just as reliable and inexpensive?

Have fun putting DVDs through your computer when your hard drive dies.

I have over 3TB of pictures and video collected over about a decade of hobby photography (including having family take a few thousand shots at our wedding). I realised disk shuffling had become impractical almost a decade ago. Large spinning disks are heaven sent. The only issue is reliablilty. So multiple copies, including 2 off site for anything really important (updated every 3-6 months or so).

I can keep everything accessible on a pair of 3TB USB disks.

I have a couple more for software downloads, legally obtained video, podcasts, free ebooks, 500TBs worth of astronomical data etc. and a second backup of them off-site too.

No way would even Bluray disks meet my needs now.

Spinning USB disks make having a stack of thumb drives obsolete too. I can have 1TB in my pocket in a rubber protected case. Sure it's not as small as a thumb drive, but it can hold a ton of crap and it's not slow as molasses to write to.

Re:DVD-Rs are DEAD DEAD DEAD for long term backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792443)

You are an outlier. Most people don't have terabytes of personal data to backup.

Re:DVD-Rs are good for long term backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42792319)

Good luck, CD-R and DVD-R are based on organic dyes that start degrading within a decade at room temperature.
(non-LTH) BD-R actually doesn't have that issue.

Expected? (1)

pod (1103) | about a year and a half ago | (#42792099)

This seems to be the expected result of SSD technology spreading and becoming cheaper. Your everyday user can now buy a reasonably-sized PC with only an SSD for storage. Additional storage needs can be easily addressed with memory sticks, external drives, and cheap and easy to configure and use network storage.

Optical is a bit of an odd one, but not totally unexpected. Online software delivery (no need for CDs/DVDs), downloadable music and movies, online and networked data storage, pretty much eliminate the need to burn a disc, and the lack of an out-of-the-box Blu Ray player in Windows probably puts the final nail in that coffin.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...