Home The Coming Datapocalypse in Rising Hard Drive Prices

The Coming Datapocalypse in Rising Hard Drive Prices

The floods across Thailand earlier this month have been devastating for many people there, and our hearts go out to them. (I have visited twice and will surely go back some day.) One place that these conditions have had an immediate worldwide impact is on hard drive prices. A Western Digital factory outside of Bangkok is responsible for the components that are used in nearly 60% of their hard drives, and the factory had been sitting in a flood-created moat up to five feet deep, as can be seen from this picture care of Scan Computers and posted here.

But is this enough to bring about the Datapolypse? Maybe, maybe not. Spot prices on Amazon for various hard drives have been moving up over the past week, whether this is opportunism or just increased panic demand purchases is hard to tell. Using the service CamelCamelCamel to map out one WD internal drive, you can see some movement upwards here.

Some Seagate and non-WD prices have remained stable, at least on Amazon. The Hitachi 2TB external drives have gone up and then slightly down over the past week.

Jeffries Research analyst Peter Misek quoted in cNet here, says “The Thailand floods disrupted hard drive supply but could counter intuitively help Dell’s and HP’s January quarter PC business as retailers and distributors clamor for as much supply as possible; however, we believe a significant shortfall could occur in the April quarter once PC and hard drive inventories are depleted.’

Still, hard drive prices are pretty close to all-time lows, when you look back over the past several decades, as you can see from this historical graph going back to 1955.

And let’s not forget how far the actual hard drives themselves have shrunk too:

That little item held off on the right is a 1 GB SD card.The big monster on the left is what it took to store 1 GB back in the day.

So is it the coming of the Datapocalyse? Certainly, prices will be uncertain as the supply chains sort themselves out, and certainly, some shops will overspend just to ensure that they have enough drives to go around. But if you can space out your purchases that might be the best strategy for the next couple of months.

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