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reader50 Apr 27, 2013 03:00 PM
HD prices have returned to normal
If anyone else was curious about this, the Thailand floods happened in October 2011. At the time, the manufacturers predicted prices and availability would return to normal by spring 2012. About 6 months.

I've been following newegg prices for 3 TB drives, and they've finally returned to pre-flood prices (beginning at $130). It is 18 months since the floods.

So what happened? They did rebuild the factories, and availability returned to normal within the six months. But ...

Regulators had approved some mergers.
• Hitachi storage division -> Western Digital
• Samsung storage division -> Seagate

We went from 4 competing manufacturers to 2. Samsung and Hitachi had tended to be the price leaders, in my observation. Regulators did require divestitures of tech to Toshiba so they could enter the 3.5" drive market. Toshiba took about a year to get this working.

In the meantime, high HD prices were very beneficial to the duopoly:

Western Digital stock moved from $25.26 to $53.29 (+3 dividends)
Seagate moved from $15.16 to $36.40 (+6 dividends)

SSD prices per GB have fallen in half during this time. Large sections of the notebook HD market have fallen to SSD (everything below 250 GB) and SSD is making inroads with desktops. Notebook HD prices returned to normal faster than desktop HDs due to the SSD competition.

So my conclusion. They artificially delayed normal prices for an extra year. Seagate + WD earned record profits, at the expense of market share. A permanent loss - HDs will never get those sizes back, and SSDs will keep getting bigger.

Screwing more money out of the public in exchange for permanent market losses. Brilliant long-term business plan.

OK, I feel better after venting this. Now where's the 5 TB and 7.5 TB drives we should have today. And the price drops we should have had during the last 18 months.
 
subego Apr 27, 2013 03:04 PM
Yeah.

After about a year I caught the whiff of bullshit.
 
Spheric Harlot Apr 27, 2013 03:41 PM
The other side is that SSD prices didn't fall *nearly* as quickly as they would have otherwise, since they went from 3x HD price to a premium of just 40% or so practically overnight. Completely without the need to drop prices even a cent.

Basically, the storage industry got away with not dropping prices to follow reduced costs for about a year, with the difference going completely — and permanently — into pure profits.
 
Waragainstsleep Apr 27, 2013 07:45 PM
This should not surprise anyone. About 4 or 5 years ago, Dell got the retail price of their budget business laptop down to its lowest point. I got a flyer for a basic PC laptop for £150. This was a 15" unit with a Celeron chip IIRC, nothing special but perfectly adequate for the average businessperson using Office and not much else. This was clearly an unsustainable race to the bottom, a 15" MBP as it is today was still ten times as much. As it turned out, that was the very bottom of it. Not long afterwards someone invented the netbook and they were priced closer to £250-300 each which meant that the 15" models suddenly went back up to £350+ and its pretty much still there today.
 
subego Apr 27, 2013 10:16 PM
On one hand, this is totally obnoxious, on the other, these are like VHS tape manufacturers in the late 90's. If I were in the same situation, I'd probably take the windfall too, since I know I'm gonna get slammed down the road, and hard.
 
Waragainstsleep Apr 28, 2013 07:12 AM
They ought to be ok for a while yet. I recall reading about a breakthrough they thought would make 60TB 3.5" disks possible.
 
Spheric Harlot Apr 28, 2013 07:25 AM
I might be proven mighty wrong, but my gut feeling is that that kind of storage is going to be a very tiny portion of the market. The days of huge mechanical storage business are coming to an end.

Looking at my own usage, i can get by on a 500 GB work disk, for which solid-state is already feasible at current SSD prices.

I need substantially more storage capacity for archival purposes, but not necessarily internally, on a day-to-day basis (well, backups are daily, obviously, but you get my drift).

I think it's clear that the consumer market will be almost SSD-only in a few years' time. Most people's music and video collections are the biggest data archives they have, and those are either shifting into the cloud or easily handled by current Flash drive capacities.
 
Eug Apr 28, 2013 09:49 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4228050)
I've been following newegg prices for 3 TB drives, and they've finally returned to pre-flood prices (beginning at $130). It is 18 months since the floods.
I just bought a new NAS for my home, partially because I finally could get 4 TB drives for cheap. I picked up two 4 TB HGST Coolspin drives (Hitachi 5K4000) for under $150 each.
 
subego Apr 28, 2013 01:55 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4228118)
I might be proven mighty wrong, but my gut feeling is that that kind of storage is going to be a very tiny portion of the market. The days of huge mechanical storage business are coming to an end.
Platter drives are a ridiculous ****ing Rube Goldberg machine. We should feel shame using them in the 21st century.
 
subego Apr 28, 2013 02:15 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Eug (Post 4228127)
I just bought a new NAS for my home, partially because I finally could get 4 TB drives for cheap. I picked up two 4 TB HGST Coolspin drives (Hitachi 5K4000) for under $150 each.
dickmode

You should really have gotten the 2 or 3 GB drives (less sectors per platter = larger physical sectors = more robust). Also, those don't look like NAS drives. If you use desktop drives in a NAS, the drive can take too long to time out on a bad sector and the RAID controller will mark the whole drive as faulty (even if it isn't). If you swap it out and the timeout error happens on a different drive while rebuilding, that's it. All your data is toast.

/dickmode
 
Spheric Harlot Apr 28, 2013 02:25 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4228147)
Platter drives are a ridiculous ****ing Rube Goldberg machine. We should feel shame using them in the 21st century.
:confused:

As long as the capacity I need to have sitting around would cost upwards of three thousand dollars, you don't have a point.
 
subego Apr 28, 2013 02:27 PM
Perhaps my point is SSDs shouldn't cost that much...

And that platter drives are ridiculous Rube Goldberg Machines.

Don't get me wrong, I use them too.
 
reader50 Apr 28, 2013 03:18 PM
4000 GB HD (newegg) - $190 (4.75 ¢/GB)
4000 GB HD (Eug stole somewhere) - $150 (3.75 ¢/GB)
960 GB Crucial SSD - $600 (62.5 ¢/GB)

For bulk storage, SSDs are ~13x the price. For smaller drives (240/250 GB), it's about 3x the price ($55 HD vs $170 SSD).

I've read that magnetic storage will scale to at least 18 TB. So HDs will be economic choices for at least 10 years. Further advances will likely push that horizon back.

The biggest drives have the biggest price advantage. And those are the ones they inflated the prices on the most. Plus they've delayed introducing still bigger ones. Probably because doing so forces down existing prices.

Their profitable choices today are coming at quite the price tomorrow. For myself, I expect to buy from Toshiba in future. Since I don't want to reward the duopoly.
 
Eug Apr 28, 2013 03:43 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4228150)
dickmode

You should really have gotten the 2 or 3 GB drives (less sectors per platter = larger physical sectors = more robust). Also, those don't look like NAS drives. If you use desktop drives in a NAS, the drive can take too long to time out on a bad sector and the RAID controller will mark the whole drive as faulty (even if it isn't). If you swap it out and the timeout error happens on a different drive while rebuilding, that's it. All your data is toast.

/dickmode
I'm not using them in a RAID. Just individual volumes. To get a good RAID setup I probably would have gotten a 5-bay system with WD Red drives, but that would have been a considerably higher expense. The nice standalone NAS 5-bay units are really expensive if you want max 2-Gigabit speeds for RAID 6. Plus I would have needed to upgrade all my network hardware. However, even for just 1-Gigabit speeds for RAID 6, the nice 5-bay NAS units are expensive.

With just individual volumes (no fault tolerance) you can max out GigE for both reads and writes with regular desktop or even green desktop hard drives with mid-end hardware (dual-core PowerPC e500). And of course, I will have multiple backups.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/images/netwo...lus/graph2.png

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/net...s_7.html#sect0

Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4228167)
4000 GB HD (newegg) - $190 (4.75 ¢/GB)
4000 GB HD (Eug stole somewhere) - $150 (3.75 ¢/GB)
960 GB Crucial SSD - $600 (62.5 ¢/GB)
The drives were $169.99 on sale, plus another $20 off if you bring in an old or defective drive for recycling. And that was CDN pricing too, so in US bux, they were actually several $ less than $150.

P.S. The cheapest 4 TB drives are currently $169.99 at Newegg.ca, or about US$167.

Newegg.ca - Seagate Desktop HDD.15 ST4000DM000 4TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
 
reader50 Apr 28, 2013 03:49 PM
You're getting good HD prices up there, Eug.

Note that the Canadian dollar is currently worth almost 2% more than the US dollar.
 
Eug Apr 28, 2013 03:54 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4228169)
You're getting good HD prices up there, Eug.

Note that the Canadian dollar is currently worth almost 2% more than the US dollar.
Around 2% less actually.
 
Waragainstsleep Apr 28, 2013 03:57 PM
I suspect most people who make use of iTunes to buy their video content will delete it once watched, I prefer not to. When 20TB is as easy as an a USB drive or a Time Capsule I suspect others might change their habits too.
 
Eug Apr 28, 2013 04:07 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep (Post 4228173)
I suspect most people who make use of iTunes to buy their video content will delete it once watched, I prefer not to. When 20TB is as easy as an a USB drive or a Time Capsule I suspect others might change their habits too.
Not 20 TB, but 4 TB is pretty easy. You can buy 4 TB external USB 3 drives for under $170 too now.
 
Spheric Harlot Apr 28, 2013 04:36 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep (Post 4228173)
I suspect most people who make use of iTunes to buy their video content will delete it once watched, I prefer not to.
For the general population:
There is no point in keeping it if you have access any time, on any device. It's not "deleted" just because you don't keep it on a local drive.
 
Waragainstsleep Apr 28, 2013 07:27 PM
Can you re-download iTunes videos nowadays? I thought it was everything but video.
 
subego Apr 28, 2013 07:30 PM
No, you can do videos.
 
Eug Apr 29, 2013 11:35 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Eug (Post 4228174)
Not 20 TB, but 4 TB is pretty easy. You can buy 4 TB external USB 3 drives for under $170 too now.
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4228167)
4000 GB HD (newegg) - $190 (4.75 ¢/GB)
4000 GB HD (Eug stole somewhere) - $150 (3.75 ¢/GB)
960 GB Crucial SSD - $600 (62.5 ¢/GB)
It's strange, but external drives are often price competitive to or even cheaper than the internal drives these days.

Buy the Seagate Expansion Desktop 3TB External Hard Drive at TigerDirect.ca

3 TB external USB 3 Seagate STBV3000100 drive is CAD$99.97 after rebate, or 3.33¢/GB, even cheaper than those Hitachi 4TB internal drives I bought. Even before the rebate it's only 3.67¢/GB.

Quote, Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot (Post 4228178)
For the general population:
There is no point in keeping it if you have access any time, on any device. It's not "deleted" just because you don't keep it on a local drive.
I find for video, streaming can still be a bottleneck. Many people, myself included, have sufficient internet download speeds, but that doesn't help if the server is only streaming it to us at say 5 Mbps.
 
The Final Dakar Apr 29, 2013 11:36 AM
Good thread. Maybe this explains my incredulous situation where my iPhone 4s has only double the storage as my iPod Touch gen 2.
 
Waragainstsleep Apr 30, 2013 06:29 AM
People's future storage needs will be determined by how fast the disk capacity goes up compared to how fast broadband speeds increase. For example, I can't rely on my broadband during peak usage times because the contention sucks big time. A Netflix account would be useless to me unless I wanted to use it between midnight and 3pm exclusively. As soon as the kids get off the bus, my speed plummets.
Thats why I like to keep copies of everything locally. If this time next year I can stream a 4Gbps HD movie any time of day, my storage needs might go out the window entirely, if OTOH I can get a 20TB NAS box for a few hundred bucks then I might still prefer to keep a big library, I'll just up the quality instead.
 
Shaddim Apr 30, 2013 07:38 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4228147)
Platter drives are a ridiculous ****ing Rube Goldberg machine. We should feel shame using them in the 21st century.
This. With SSDs getting down to near .50 /GB, the benefits start to outweigh the expense, even for general storage.
 
Eug Apr 30, 2013 08:12 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep (Post 4228387)
People's future storage needs will be determined by how fast the disk capacity goes up compared to how fast broadband speeds increase. For example, I can't rely on my broadband during peak usage times because the contention sucks big time. A Netflix account would be useless to me unless I wanted to use it between midnight and 3pm exclusively. As soon as the kids get off the bus, my speed plummets.
With the right setup, you can limit the speed to each local computer. A 25 Mbps connection would then be sufficient for a whole family actively using bandwidth.

I can usually download a an OS X combo update, surf the net, and watch Netflix SuperHD at peak times simultaneously.

That said, I still prefer keeping stuff locally when given the option. It is in some ways easier, and you don't have to worry about net congestion and server side issues. I've occasionally had problems with iTunes streaming at non-peak times. Stutteriffic.
 
reader50 Apr 30, 2013 02:53 PM
Cloud concerns:
  • Cost, especially in the US. True high speed can be very pricey compared to Europe.
  • Network speed. Often variable, often low where fiber hasn't been laid. Which is most places.
  • Bandwidth caps. Exceed them and things may slow down. Or your bill may go crazy. Possibly both.
  • Lack of control. A court decision on license terms or government actions, and your entire cloud account could go away. Look at Megaupload. One guy asked for his family pics back. He'd used Mega as his off-site backup, and lost his local HD just before the raid. The government instead scanned his account (without a warrant) looking for anything pirate-related they could find, so they could deny. They found some MP3s, but it's unclear if those were pirated or ripped. And they denied access. Based on their case position, it seems likely they'd have denied access even if they found nothing to complain about.
With local storage, you just need backups (Time Machine, etc) and a willingness to be ripped off on HD prices. Overall, it looks like a better deal. Especially for local control and privacy.
 
besson3c Apr 30, 2013 05:27 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4228470)
Cloud concerns:
  • Cost, especially in the US. True high speed can be very pricey compared to Europe.
  • Network speed. Often variable, often low where fiber hasn't been laid. Which is most places.
  • Bandwidth caps. Exceed them and things may slow down. Or your bill may go crazy. Possibly both.
  • Lack of control. A court decision on license terms or government actions, and your entire cloud account could go away. Look at Megaupload. One guy asked for his family pics back. He'd used Mega as his off-site backup, and lost his local HD just before the raid. The government instead scanned his account (without a warrant) looking for anything pirate-related they could find, so they could deny. They found some MP3s, but it's unclear if those were pirated or ripped. And they denied access. Based on their case position, it seems likely they'd have denied access even if they found nothing to complain about.
With local storage, you just need backups (Time Machine, etc) and a willingness to be ripped off on HD prices. Overall, it looks like a better deal. Especially for local control and privacy.


I think the cloud will become more affordable and practical as companies come up with more effective ways to differentiate between important data, and data than just needs to exist. The problem right now is that in many cases all data gets put on a SAN, which is more expensive than a SATA drive as you pointed out. If we get to a point where these companies can use low cost storage while keeping data safe and providing fast access to it at large scales, this may change.
 
Waragainstsleep May 1, 2013 06:03 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Eug (Post 4228404)
With the right setup, you can limit the speed to each local computer. A 25 Mbps connection would then be sufficient for a whole family actively using bandwidth.
When I say "kids get off the bus" they aren't my kids, they're the kids in my village. The contention issue is with my ISP oversubscribing its ADSL capacity at my local exchange.
 
Eug May 1, 2013 10:02 AM
Ah I see. Congestion is a big problem with cable on my point of interconnect (POI).

OTOH, my 25/7 VDSL2 is fine, that is if you ignore generalized internet congestion in North America at peak times. While speed from the server side of sites can slow down due to increased use across the continent, the connection to my ISP and beyond in my province is always full speed even in peak times (according to benches to local third party sites).

P.S. Ironically, I'm only paying for 6/0.8 Mbps ADSL, but my ISP forgot to change my profile when I switched from a promotional cheap VDSL2 plan back to basic ADSL, so I quickly purchased another VDSL2 modem and I've been on 25/7 VDSL2 ever since (2 years). I think I must have been completely lost in the system, since 25/7 doesn't even exist anymore from the ISP. It's 25/10 or other.
 
reader50 May 1, 2013 02:39 PM
Was wondering for a minute how you got 25/7 service anywhere on Earth. Or if you've applied for one of those one-way Mars tickets. Though a Mars day isn't a full 25 hours (24:37).

So great HD prices AND helpfully forgetful ISPs. Oh, and less impact from global warming. And no porno scans at the airports. It's understandable if Canada has an illegal (geek) immigration problem.
 
P May 2, 2013 05:29 AM
Seagate has indicated that their future plans include no real capacity increases for customer drives. Instead, they want to make thinner drives and stuff them all with flash to hide the spinning disc latency deficit and compete better with SSDs. "SSHD" is the new term we should all be using.
 
Spheric Harlot May 2, 2013 06:38 AM
Is that a general trend, though, or just seagate's strategy?
 
Eug May 2, 2013 08:26 AM
I'm surprised more manufacturers aren't moving that direction already: Continue expanding sizes but also produce hybrid drives, with between 8 GB and 32 GB of flash.
 
P May 2, 2013 08:43 AM
Seagate has made hybrid drives for some time - I have installed them in several laptops to the users' great satisfaction. The news now (well, a month or so ago) is that the regular performance 7200rpm 2.5" HDDs are gone, replaced by an entire like of hybrid drives, and that there will be hybrid - sorry, SSHD - drives in 3.5" format as well. They're still all 8 GB models and they're still all read cache only, but Seagate now seems committed to the concept.

WD just begun shipping hybrids last week - something I missed until I googled while typing this post - under the regular branding, up to 24 GB cache. Haven't seen a review of them yet, or if there are 3.5" models around as well.
 
Shaddim May 2, 2013 04:52 PM
Hybrids are good, until you outstrip the cache, then the mobile spindle rates are horrible (since so far they've only been 2.5" drives). 2TB drives @10k RPMs, w/ 64GB cache (enough for the OS, swap file, and commonly used apps), are likely the ticket. If they can sell them for < .10 /GB, they'll have something.
 
mduell May 4, 2013 12:33 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by reader50 (Post 4228679)
So great HD prices AND helpfully forgetful ISPs. Oh, and less impact from global warming. And no porno scans at the airports. It's understandable if Canada has an illegal (geek) immigration problem.
Most geek immigration is the other way, to the tech jobs in the US. Canada is sorely lacking in both startup culture and major players.
 
Spheric Harlot May 4, 2013 01:42 PM
But they have RIM!
 
mduell May 5, 2013 12:21 PM
http://blackberry.jobs just doesn't have the same ring to it.
 
Eug May 7, 2013 03:02 PM
 
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