Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2011 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, shortage, thailand
DigiTimes has been doing some good old fashioned investigative journalism and has come up with some (almost) good news about HDD shortages. With the news coming out of Western Digital that they are set to resume HDD manufacturing sooner than was originally projected, along with the factories that produce parts for other hard drive manufacturers, DigiTimes predicts a 5% supply gap by Q2 2012. This significant improvement will come too late for the Christmas season, which is why companies like Intel are lowering their economic outlook for this and the next quarter. With a shortage of hard drives to put in machines comes a lowered demand for all other system components, the exception being machines utilizing only SSDs which do not make up a significant portion of the market. By the third quarter of 2012, DigiTimes predicts a return to normalcy in the global supply of hard drives. By that point we should also have a good idea how hard motherboard, CPU, GPU and other companies have been affected by the flooding in Thailand and subsequent shortages.
"Thailand's floods in early October, have created strong impact toward the hard disk drive (HDD) supply chain, causing many PC brand vendors to miss business opportunities in the fourth quarter, the traditional peak season, but Digitimes Research senior analyst Joanne Chien believes hard drive capacity will see an obvious improvement starting February 2012 after experiencing the most serious shortages in December 2011 and January 2012.
Because brand vendors are already out of HDD inventory, shipment volumes of devices with HDDs in the first quarter of 2012 will remain at a similar level as in the fourth quarter of 2011, with the HDD supply gap to remain at about four million units. In the fourth quarter, brand vendors together have a total inventory volume of about 20 million units.
Benefiting from their crisis management capabilities, Western Digital and affected upstream HDD component makers are expected to restore 70% of their total capacity by March 2012, three months earlier than their original forecast."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Floods? What floods? Seagate to open new Thai disk fab @ The Register
- Meet the boffin who gave GPUs a bigger bang for the Buck @ The Register
- SandForce Aims for the Cloud(s) @ SemiAccurate
- Hewlett Packard: confusing strategy changes cost them billions @ Kitguru
- Out-of-plane growth of CNTs on graphene for supercapacitor applications @ The Register
- Here We Go Again, Another Linux Init: Intro to systemd @ Linux.com
- Xmas gift ideas? Get your KitGuru inspiration here
Subject: General Tech, Storage | October 27, 2011 - 04:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: wdc, shortage, Seagate, Samsung, hitachi, hdd, Hard Drive
Chances are good you have heard about the recent flooding in Thailand - as Yahoo puts it: "The country's worst flooding in half a century, caused in part by unusually heavy monsoon rain, has killed 373 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million." Obviously this is a horrific disaster and we feel for the people affected by it.
But there is a tech angle to the story that has been showing up in many of our discussions as late and is the impact this disaster has had on the production of spindle-based hard drives. Looking for a 2TB hard drive today on Newegg.com this is what I found:
Prices for hard drives have sky rocketed in the last week or so due to the pending shortage of them across the world. Many of the top manufacturers have facilities based in Thailand for production as well as partners that are responsible for supplying companies like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and Hitachi with the parts they need to produce platter-based drives.
While we used to talk about finding 2TB hard drives in the $89 price range, the best prices we could find on comparable units today start at $129; and this is for the slower units. Western Digital Caviar Black drives are starting at unit prices of $229 now!
Pricing graph from Pricegrabber.com for Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB
If you are careful and shop around, you can still find drives like this for the $149 price point at sellers like Amazon are bit slower to update their prices. (Scratch that, after publication this was already at $199!) But don't just blindly purchase drives at this point - do your research!
WD drives aren't the only ones affected. When doing a search for a Seagate 2TB drive, these were our results:
When asked for comment, a representative of one of the affected manufacturers expressed concern for the people of Thailand first, but when pressed, said:
"The entire hard drive business is affected. Two of our factories are inundated with water, which supports 60% of our output. But a ton of suppliers that the entire industry uses are also flooded so we are all impacted."
While looking over at WD's press center we found this comment from John Coyne, President and CEO:
In mid-October, to protect our employees and our equipment and facilities, we temporarily suspended production at our two factories in Thailand, which have been inundated by floodwater. In addition, many of our component suppliers have been impacted, leaving material for hard drive production considerably constrained. We are working with suppliers to assess the extent of their impact and help devise short- and long-term solutions. This is a complex and dynamic challenge that will require extensive rebuilding for the Thai people and government, and present unprecedented obstacles to the hard drive industry for multiple quarters.
Obviously with a majority of the facilities affected we can only expect these prices hikes to increase and to linger. That fact that Coyne specifically notes "multiple quarters" indicates that users likely won't see a return to the pricing we were used to until at least mid-2012. With competition from solid-state drives heating up, this could be bad timing for companies dependent on spindle drives as the driving revenue source: comparing a $300 SSD to a $90 standard drive is a much different decision than that same $300 SSD and a $240 standard drive of high capacity.
According to this report from Xbit labs, the industry has "two to four weeks" of hard drive inventory available. The author claims that this points to the situation not being so dire, but with the WD's CEO stating the effects will be seen for "multiple quarters", I am guessing we will see a major buy-up of inventory from system builders like HP and Dell that will cause drive shortages much more quickly than anticipated.
PC Perspective will keep tracking the effects on driving pricing and if any player in the business has other input they want to offer us. Stay tuned!
MIA or Simply Retired?
It is awfully hard to deny the value proposition of the AMD HD 6970 graphics card. The card overall matches (and sometimes exceeds) the NVIDIA GTX 570 at a slightly lower price, it has 2 GB of frame buffer, and AMD is consistently improving not just gaming performance for the new VLIW 4 architecture, but also adding to its GPGPU support. Throw in the extra happiness of a more manageable power draw, pretty low heat production for a top end card, and it is also the fastest single GPU card when it comes to bitcoin mining. With all of these positives, why hasn’t everyone gone out to buy one? Simple, they simply are hard to come by anymore.
¿Dónde están las tarjetas gráficas?
Throughout Winter and Spring of this year, the HD 6970 was an easy card to acquire. Prices were very reasonable, supply seemed ample, and most every manufacturer had one in a configuration that would appeal to a lot of people. The HD 6950 was also in great supply, and it was also in a few unique configurations that adds more for the money than just the reference design. This Summer saw the pool of HD 6970 cards dry up, not to mention the complete lack of HD 6990 cards in retail altogether.
Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2011 - 10:43 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: shortage, llano, amd
Not all is well with AMD and GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32nm process as the yields have been so low as to effect the supply of Llano chips. Currently only two chips, the A8-3850 and A6-3650 are on the market, with three more models expected fairly soon. Since AMD beleives that there supply difficulties will be overcome by September the shortages should not delay the release of the new lower power chips. DigiTimes also mentioned some news about NVIDIA's 28nm products that makes the outlook for this time next year a little bleak.
"AMD's latest Llano-based processors are currently suffering from shortages due to the weaker-than-expected yield rates of the related 32nm process; however, AMD has already notified its partners that the shortage should be resolved by early September, according to sources from motherboard makers.
Due to the new platform's strong performance/price ratio, market demand for Llano APUs is rising gradually with sales of the compatible A75-based motherboards also expected to increase, the sources noted. However, because the supply of Llano APUs in July started turn tight because of weak 32nm yields, AMD currently has a lot of orders from the retail channel, but is unable to fulfill the shipments.
With AMD set to resolve its APU shortages in early September, many motherboard makers are already starting to increase their A75-based motherboard shipments.
In addition to the existing Llano CPUs, A8-3850 and A6-3650, AMD will launch three more 65W APUs, A8-3800, A6-3600 and A6-3500 at the end of the third quarter.
In additional news, although AMD, Nvidia and Qualcomm's 28nm chips finished tape-outs in June, and the companies are all ready to place orders in the second half, as demand from the retail channel remains weak, it is likely that the players will delay their orders to a later time, the sources added."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Researchers speed up organic semiconductors @ SemiAccurate
- AMD sweetens A-series APU launch with an SDK @ The Inquirer
- Linux 'is no longer the challenger', says Red Hat CEO @ The Inquirer
- Kodak EasyShare Max Z990 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Win a Toshiba Satellite C660-125 Intel 320GB 15.6 Inch Laptop @ Tech-Reviews