Are Western Digital and Seagate doomed to be marked as bad sectors?

Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2012 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: Hard Disk, Seagate, western digital, fud, hdd

There are quite a few things in the industry to speculate on, from Microsoft's intimating a 'big new thing' next Monday to AMD and the HSA's plans for the future of the industry, but if you want to go for the big one then it is the hard drive industry you should be following.  The most recent sign that something big is going on would be the change in warranty length on consumer drives from the two remaining players, both of which now offer a 1yr warranty.  That is a vast reduction from previous 3yr and 5yr warranties and while it does not necessarily imply these drives will fail any faster it does mean they offer shorter warranties than their competition, the SSD.  This could convince a lot of people that paying $1/GB for an SSD is not really that bad of a deal and you can only expect that price to fall, especially on larger sized SSDs.

Also consider the fact that there are only two major HDD manufacturers left, Seagate and Western Digital.  This defragmentation of the industry has been going on for quite a while now, resulting in those two manufacturers owning their competitions resources and IP and pretty much being able to determine what the market will provide and at what cost to the consumer.  That has lead to the rather counter-intuitive profits that these two, especially Western Digital, made over the past year.  You would not expect a company which lost its manufacturing capabilities to the Thai floods to see a 230% increase in profit, yet that is exactly what happened from March 2011 to March 2012.  Seagate held their first place spot over the same time period, with higher volume sales contributing to that success with their prices only rising 20% instead of the 40% they threatened during the supposed supply difficulties.  

The HDD market seems to be on its way out, not just because ultraportable devices chose SSDs over HDDs but also because the average consumer has come to the realization that while having a few terabytes of storage is nice for long term storage they really do not need it, especially on a device which does not have long term support.  The Inquirer smells something foul in the air and comments on this topic here.

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"Seagate, Western Digital and to a lesser extent Toshiba are starting to see free market economics - or as close as it gets - show their strategy of consolidation and profiteering. With the number of solid state disk (SSD) in the low teens, prices are falling steeply while hard drive makers rely on artificially high prices and shorter warranties to make a quick buck."

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Source: The Inquirer

June 15, 2012 | 11:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

I for one welcome our new SSD overlords!

June 16, 2012 | 01:16 AM - Posted by Angry

So, what, no 4tb goodness for cheap in the future?

Does Allyn agree?

June 16, 2012 | 07:27 AM - Posted by Mark (not verified)

That inquirer article is very informative and puts the perfect angle on it to understand the who where what when and why of this whole situation.

June 16, 2012 | 03:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

spinning disks will be around for a long time, the sky isn't falling.

June 17, 2012 | 11:13 AM - Posted by amadsilentthirst

For the past year I have put off buying any more Hard drives (Spinning Platter)
Despite being in the market for a couple of 3or4 TB drives, instead opting to make do, with the 1.5TB I already have.

Reasons for this are the warranty lengths, the still ongoing price gouging by e-tailors, and the changing realisation that cloud storage is more beneficial for long term back of data hardly accessed - and a nice fast 240GB SSD in my system is enough.

So yes, so long Seagate and thanks for all the fish, er bits

June 18, 2012 | 12:34 AM - Posted by Wolvenmoon (not verified)

Yep! I've held all of my systems together for the past year and a half, have had 3 disk failures but am determined not to buy another platter based disk. In my experience since 2008 there's been a 20% failure rate in the first year of ownership on platter based disks. 1 in 5 is a dud. So I bought my 1TB drives in a pair and have held tight since then.

I use a TON of room. Currently, my unique, non-redundant data weighs in at about 850 gigabytes' worth, but that's because I'm an artist and hoarder (in that order).

I just recently ordered a 256 gig Samsung 830 to use as my OS drive. I expect over the next two years I'll be buying 3-4 more SSDs. It's a nice thought, not having to RAID-1 against DOAs.

June 17, 2012 | 03:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

why do you worry about warranty lengths? Do you know how long most spinning disks last? way longer then the warranty. You could even hit up some used drives... they ARE FINE.

and people think SSD sizes are good enough? sure good enough for my mom, game installs are now 10GB at a MIN, and don't go trying to store any blu ray or DVDs on your disks... *poof* no more space.

SSD for your OS and a big giant spinning disk for data storage and back up drives.

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