The Thailand flood that killed more than 380 people and left 2.4 million others affected has been pointed out as the cause of the immense increase on HDD prices in the market. The devastating flood that occurred in the last quarter of 2011 submerged Bang-Pa-In Industrial Park, the Navankorn Industrial Park and the Bankadi Industrial Park. These Industrial centers housed all the manufacturing facilities for both Western Digital and Toshiba (some of the world’s famous storage device manufacturers).
Almost 60% of Western Digital’s hard drive production takes place in Thailand since this is where their main plant is located. Toshiba’s production in this Industrial park is almost 50% of their total. Seagate does not have any manufacturing plants in the flooded areas while other major manufacturers rely on parts supplied by the companies that were hit by the flood.
The flooding in Thai’s Industrial Parks has decreased as much as 25% of the world’s hard drive production.
Analysts (Coughlin Associates) say that the prices of HDDs will sustain till 2014. Affected manufacturers will eventually have to recuperate from their losses within this year and are expected to have fully recovered by the end of the quarter of 2012. But then, manufacturers will need extra funds to continue on their research for upgrades and advancements for their next-generation storage systems that will more or less reach up to two years.
Buyers are still waiting for the prices to somehow drop significantly lower before they purchase another storage device for their PCs. I think most of us will settle down for the half-terrabyte capacity drives or even lower just to fulfil our data storage needs. Surprisingly, the emergence of 40GB SATA type HDDs are again hitting the market.
I may have to stick to my old 40GB and 80GB IDEs for a couple more years. Too bad I didn’t think of buying extra Terabit HDDs a year ago for my multimedia player and I’m running short of space to save my “digital” movie collection.