Good news everybody! The HDDs are coming back

Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2012 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: flooding, thailand, hdd

It won't be completely back to normal but if DigiTimes' information is correct the HDD industry is getting back on their feet after the flooding in Thailand wiped out several fabs.  This is not just great news for your average consumer or enthusiast but also for businesses that have had server upgrades and maintenance postponed since stocks of enterprise HDDs dried up.  While it may seem funny that NewEgg limits the number of units you can buy for some of their stock, it is not so funny for a company that needs to rebuild a 10 disk RAID on a SAN.  By Spring we should see a return to stock levels of about 80% and prices about 30% higher than what existed on the market previously which will help out a lot of bottom lines as well as bring much needed money into Thailand to help with the recovery.

HDD is back.jpg

"The global production capacity of hard disk drives (HDDs) will increase to 140-145 million units, about 80% of the level before flooding hit Thailand in late 2011, in the first quarter of 2012, according to industry sources.

HDD makers exhausted their inventories of products and components in December 2011 and January 2012, the sources indicated. However, HDD vendors have not hiked quotes due to the off-season.

Among HDD vendors, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Seagate Technology have suffered less damage from the flooding and therefore have moved faster in restoring production capacities, compared to Toshiba and Western Digital, the sources indicated."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Getting vibration-less storage without having to invest in an SSD

Subject: Storage | February 14, 2012 - 05:30 PM |
Tagged: vibration, Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer, hdd

At first glance they may just look like colourful metal 3.5" to 5.25" drive bay adapters but the Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer kit includes a rubber suspension intended to stop the noise and vibrations generated by a spinning hard disk.  It should help with cooling since the drives have more space around them in a 5.25" bay and it will help save space as three drives will fit in only two 5.25" slots.  SPCR's testing disproved the first as they saw noticeably higher temperatures from the drives once installed in the mounts, but not worryingly so.  They did see seriously positive results when they looked at the effectiveness of vibration reduction as well as noise reduction.  If you've got a drive that shakes your house when you boot this kit is worth checking out.

SPCR_tiche.jpg

"The Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer is an aftermarket internal hard drive suspension system that is simple but effective and cost efficient."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Increased Hard Drive Write Speed and Density - Using Frickin' Lasers

Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 8, 2012 - 11:34 AM |
Tagged: laser, hdd, Hard Disk

The big hoopla as of late has been wrapped around SSD's and flash memory technology, with constant die shrinks promising cheaper and faster solid state storage for your PC. Everyone seems to be slowly forgetting about good old HDD's, but spinning rust may have some life left after all.

A team of scientists formed iron and gadolinium into a series of alloy 'nanoislands'. These are basically isolated mini magnets. Each one carries a magnetic charge. Normally you would write to materials like this by hitting them with a much larger magnetic field (i.e. from your HDD write head). This team had a different trick up their sleeve - don't bother with the bigger magnet, just hit it with a burst of heat and get it to change state on its own.

1-physicistsre.jpg

Magnetic nanoislands getting hit by a frickin' laser.

Picture a sling shot, stretched out, and frozen in a block of ice. If you melt the ice, the rubber band will just snap back to its unstretched state and stay there. The same kind of thing happens when you heat a magnet - it becomes demagnetized. Now imagine if you could melt the ice, but flash freeze it while the rubber band has extended in the opposite direction. You've reversed the direction of the sling shot. Pull off the same trick with a magnet, and you can flip its poles. The trick is finding just the right length of time to heat the magnet and catch the 'flip' on the other end of its resonance. This team appears to have figured it out, and the magic number (for their material) is 60 femtoseconds. They can heep hitting the same spot repeatedly, and each time causes another flip in the poles.

laser_writes_hard_drive.jpg

Each pulse flips the bit.

To back this down into typical computer terms. A 1GHz CPU clock triggers every 1.00000 nanosecond, and 60 femtoseconds is 0.00006 nanoseconds. Ultrashort Pulse lasers have been around for a while. One was even used on my eyeballs a few years back. These pulses are so fast that the biggest issue would be getting information to the laser fast enough. The straight line theoretical speed of this technique ranges in the Terabytes per second, with densities limited by the capabilities of the nanotech used to create the islands.

To be clear, this isn't the first time heat or lasers has been used in magnetic media. TDK pioneered Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording tech years ago, but that tech is only heat *assisted*. This new breakthrough is writing, with heat, without the magnet at all. Now the only trick is figuring out how to read such a high density of tiny written bits. Since the laser writes much smaller than a magnetic head could accomplish, we might see a reversion back to optics for the reads.We're not sure how long before this technology appears on your desktop, but what we can say is that magnetic storage is not dead yet.

Source: Physorg.com

Have HDD prices started to come back from the stratosphere?

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2012 - 11:55 AM |
Tagged: hdd, thailand, flooding

TechSpot did some number crunching to develop the chart you can see below which tracks the price of HDDs from September, before the flooding in Thailand straight through to last week.  The spike upwards as stock and manufacturing capability was destroyed is easily noticeable but then the pattern starts to fragment.  The Green lines from Seagate and WD seem to have the most resiliency, being among the first to start decreasing in price and the only ones with a still declining price.  The large drives, such as the 3TB Barracuda not only declined to reduced their price but are actually getting more expensive.  The mobile side of the market is also covered though it does not seem as hard hit as their desktop cousins.  They didn't collect data on Enterprise drives, which are few and far between for anyone looking to grow their data centre, since it is the mobile and desktop HDDs which interest most readers.  Check out the numbers here.

TS_desktop-hard-drive-pricing.png

"The hard disk drive supply chain was hit hard late last year when a series of floods struck Thailand. The Asian country accounts for about a quarter of the world's hard drive production, but thousands of factories had to close shop for weeks as facilities were under water, in what is considered the world's fourth costliest natural disaster according to World Bank estimates. That's on top of the human cost of over 800 lives."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: TechSpot

Podcast #185 - ASUS EeePad Transformer Prime, an overclocked XFX HD7970, AMDs Lightning Bolt and more!

Subject: Editorial | January 19, 2012 - 07:05 PM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, amd, ssd, hdd, nvidia, kepler, GK104, gpu, cpu

PC Perspective Podcast #185 - 01/19/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the ASUS EeePad Transformer Prime, an overclocked XFX HD7970, AMDs Lightning Bolt and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:25:22

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:26 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:00:55 SOPA and PIPA Chat...
  6. 0:06:35 ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Review: Thinner, Faster
  7. 0:07:23 Acer Extensa 5420 Retrospective Review: How Far Have We Come?
  8. 0:10:15 Corsair Hydro Series H100 Liquid CPU Cooler Review
  9. 0:11:10 Video Perspective: Cooler Master Cosmos II Case Review
  10. 0:14:00 XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Black Edition and CrossFire Results
  11. 0:22:45 AMD and IBM inside the Xbox Next?
  12. 0:31:30 Lucid Cloud Gaming (VGWare) and XLR8 on Tablets Demo
  13. 0:44:55 Nvidia May Launch GF104 "Kepler" GPUs Ahead Of Schedule
  14. 0:51:00 AMD Lightning Bolt Strikes At Intel's Thunderbolt
  15. 0:53:00 AMD Countering Ultrabooks With Ultrathin Notebooks
  16. 0:55:00 Random Storage stuff at CES? also this link
  17. 1:05:00 Alienware X51 Desktop -- Console Sized PC, $700 and up.
  18. 1:10:30 Email from Tom about 7970 CrossFire
  19. 1:13:34 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Behringer XENYX 802
    2. Jeremy: EVGA SR-X
    1. Josh: Decent and cheap for the AMD enthusiast:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103962
    2. Allyn: Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation, oh, and my current house rep is my anti-pick
  20. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  21. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  22. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  23. Closing 

Source:

CES 2012 Day 1 Podcast - 1/8/2012

Subject: Editorial | January 9, 2012 - 02:34 AM |
Tagged: podcast, CES, Intel, amd, nvidia, ocz, ssd, thunderbolt, hdd, Lenovo, laptop, ultrabook

PC Perspective CES 2012 Day 1 - 1/8/2012

Join us tonight as we talk about our first day of CES 2012 - including Storage Visions, CES Unveiled and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Matt Smith and Allyn Malventano

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source:

Of Barracudas, VelociRaptors and easy modding

Subject: Storage | January 6, 2012 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: Barracuda, VelociRaptor, hdd, modding

In the Hardware Leaderboard you will occasionally see a recommendation to partition a 1.5TB HDD into a 300GB partition for your OS and programs, leaving the remainder for storage.  This is because doing so on that size of drive will put the 300GB partition onto the 'sweet spot' of the drive which is functionally faster than the remainder.  Many have been doing this long before the advice was offered on the HWLB and not even thought to recommend it to friends as it has become an ingrained habit that they do not even think of consciously anymore.  Not so TechARP who assembled a guide on how to do this and an explanation of why it is that you gain so much speed from a simple partitioning.  They've recently updated the article so it seems an appropriate time to remind readers about this trick and to perhaps introduce the trick to some who are unaware of it.  Sooner or later 1.5TB drives will fall in price to the point where they are easily affordable again.

barracuda.jpg

"That's a really catchy title, isn't it? Who wouldn't want to turn a "slow" 7,200 RPM hard disk drive into a super-fast 10,000 RPM Western Digital VelociRaptor? After all, the 300 GB model of the much-vaunted HDD speed king retails for US$ 199.99, while a 1.5 TB Barracuda 7200.11 only costs US$ 109.99. Imagine getting the performance of the VelociRaptor with the capacity and price of the Seagate Barracuda!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: TechARP

HDD Warranties Slashed By More Than Half - But Why?

Subject: Storage | December 30, 2011 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, Warranty, Seagate, hitachi, hdd

It's been a few short months since Thailand saw some serious flood damage. The flooding had a huge impact on everything from Automobile production to the making of fiber optic cables. The largest impact to the computer industry was that of storage devices. While flash memory fabs were spared, makers of HDD components were hit hard.

Hitachi.jpg

Hitachi plant in Thailand, partially submerged.

This effect quickly trickled down to the HDD quickly spiking prices by nearly 200% by Halloween. Inventories remained at critically low levels for a 60-day window - long enough to have far reaching impact on the PC industry as a whole. With a key component missing from PC production chains, the effects caused dips in demand from the PC suppliers, eventually trickling back up the chain to other component makers. Intel was forced to scale back their chip production. The industry finally saw a reprieve just a few weeks ago, as HDD production recovered sufficiently as to begin the slow replenishment process, and it started to look like everything would be ok.

...and then the other shoe dropped.

Right as HDD Suppliers started catching up on supply, Western Digital made a surprising announcement. Starting on January 2nd of next year, most of their drive lines will see a drastic reduction to warranty periods. Caviar Blue, Caviar Green, and Scorpio Blue drives see a 50% drop from 3 to 2 years. Seagate quickly jumped on the bandwagon, cutting the 5-year warranties of several of their lines down to three. Even worse, the Baracuda, Baracuda Green, and Momentus (laptop) drives will be cut from five all the way down to 1-year warranties. Seagate's reductions go into effect December 31, 2011.

momentus-5.jpg

The Momentus XT, while technically a Hybrid SSD/HDD, was not spared in the warranty cuts.

This isn't the first time warranties saw an across-the-board cut in duration. Back in 2002, Western Digital and Seagate (as well as Maxtor - since acquired by Seagate), jointly cut their warranties back to just one year. The reasoning back then was claimed to be strictly business, and that it was done to be in-line with the 1-year warranty provided by PC OEM's, but was that the only reason? We would need a bunch of data on HDD failure rates to know for sure...

Continue reading our post about the lowered HDD warranties for more thoughts and analysis!!

Source: The Register

Podcast #183 - AMD Radeon HD 7970, HDD Price Analysis, a 4K Display, GTX780 Rumors, and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 29, 2011 - 02:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, Intel, hdd, amd, 7970, 780

PC Perspective Podcast #183 - 12/29/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the AMD Radeon HD 7970, HDD Price Analysis, a 4K Display, GTX780 Rumors, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:13:37

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:30 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:08 Galaxy GeForce GTX 570 MDT X4 Overclocked Graphics Card Review
  6. 0:12:33 AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB Graphics Card Review - Tahiti at 28nm
  7. 0:29:25 SSD and HDD Price Analysis: End of Shortage In Sight?
  8. 0:37:15 The EIZO DuraVision FDH3601 is a 4k x 2k Display, and We Want It
  9. 0:41:53 GeForce GTX 780 Leak
  10. 0:45:47 Battlefield 3 Frame Rate Drop Issue with GeForce GPUs
  11. 0:49:42 AMD Refreshes the A-Series APUs for the New Year
  12. 0:53:40 Richard Huddy is now Intel Inside. Well I'll be d'AMD.
  13. 0:55:40 Intel Releases New Cedar Trail Atom Processors
  14. 0:57:35 http://www.pcper.com/news/Processors/Intel-Medfield-x86-SoC-Targets-Android-Phones-and-Tablets
  15. 1:04:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: AIDA64
    2. Jeremy: Ice Machine
    1. Josh: If you haven't bought one before...
    2. Allyn: Google Voice to PSTN (OBi100)
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

Source:

Seagate Completes Acquisition of Samsung’s Hard Disk Drive Business

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 20, 2011 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, Samsung, sale, partnership, hdd

Back in April of this year we heard that Samsung was going to spin off its HDD department, handing the entire compliment of staff, equipment and trademarked names to Seagate for about $1.4 billion USD total.  Today that sale is complete as Seagate announced the final approval of the acquisition.  This means very little for the consumer over the next 12 months, and not just because of the lack of available HDDs.  Samsung's branding will remain on their HDD lines for the next year and as the entire Samsung team and facilities came with the rights to the products the design and assembly teams will be the same as when they were owned by Samsung.  

Fans of Samsung notebooks and other PCs will also be unaffected as those products tended to utilize Seagate HDDs already, as the two companies have had a long and tight partnership.  After a year we may see many of the Samsung lines disappear as they are folded into pre-existing Seagate product families, though it seems reasonable to hope that the new products will represent the both of best worlds.

SG-SMS_banner.png

CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX), a world leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, today announced the closing of the transaction to acquire the hard disk drive (HDD) business of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in digital consumer electronics and information technology.

Under the terms of the transaction, Seagate has gained select elements of Samsung’s HDD business, including assets, infrastructure and employees that enable Seagate to drive scale and innovation. These assets include Samsung’s leading M8 product line of high-capacity, 2.5-inch HDDs. Samsung employees joining Seagate include a number of senior managers and design-engineering employees from Samsung's Korea facility, who will focus on development of small form-factor products for the mobile compute market. N.Y. Park, senior vice president and general manager, will oversee Seagate’s product development activities in Korea and serve as country manager of the Korea design center, reporting to Bob Whitmore, Seagate’s executive vice president and CTO.

“Together, Seagate and Samsung have aligned our current and future product development efforts and roadmaps in order to accelerate time-to-market efficiency for new products and position us to better address the increasing demands for storage,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO. “It is an exciting time in the industry with rapidly evolving opportunities in many markets including mobile computing, cloud computing, and solid state storage.”

This transaction was announced in April 2011 along with a series of other agreements between Seagate and Samsung. Seagate is supplying disk drives to Samsung for PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics devices. Samsung is supplying its market-leading semiconductor products for use in Seagate’s enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), solid-state hybrid drives and other products. The companies have also extended and enhanced their existing patent cross-license agreement and have expanded cooperation to co-develop enterprise storage solutions.

“The strategic relationship will open new opportunities for the two companies by mutually complementing each other’s creative technology solutions for a broad diversity of IT applications,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman of Device Solutions of Samsung Electronics.

The transactions and agreements substantially expand Seagate’s customer access in China, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Germany and the Russian Federation. Seagate and Samsung also have been working together to ensure that customers continue to receive a high level of service, support and innovation, including activities to align the two companies’ supply bases and delivery infrastructure. To ease the transition of products and technologies, Seagate will retain certain Samsung HDD products under the Samsung brand name for 12 months, and maintain or establish a number of independent operations including sales staff, key production lines and R&D. Customers can find more information at www.seagate.com/samsung.

The combined value of these transactions and agreements is approximately US $1.4 billion, consisting of 45,239,490 Seagate Ordinary Shares and the remaining balance settled in cash. In addition, Samsung will designate a nominee to join Seagate’s Board of Directors.

Seagate does not presently expect significant restructuring costs and expects to achieve considerable reductions in overall operating expenses for the combined business while minimizing the integration costs. As previously stated, Seagate expects that the transactions and agreements will be meaningfully accretive to non-GAAP diluted earnings per share and cash flow in the first full year following the closing. Seagate will provide additional financial information for the combined company on its fiscal second quarter conference call in late January.

Source: Seagate