HDD shipments weak in third quarter, will stagnate in fourth

By on September 28, 2011, 8:30 AM

Rumblings in the Far East suggest that hard drive manufacturers are experiencing a weak third quarter. According to sources cited by DigiTimes, HDD shipments are expected to grow by 3% in the third quarter, up from 165 million units in the previous quarter and slightly less than previously predicted by other firms. Earlier this month, the researchers at iSuppli estimated that HDD shipments would rise 3.4% in the third quarter because of the back-to-school and pre-holiday seasons.

Those positive factors have been partially mitigated by ongoing economic uncertainty in the US and Europe and rising demand for NAND flash-based storage (namely in mobile computing devices). However, the increasing popularity in smartphones, ultrabooks and related devices has also raised interest in cloud computing, which happens to use HDDs behind the scenes. In other words, drive makers can expect some consumer sales to be replaced by enterprise shipments.

DigiTimes also mentioned that OEM sales, which incidentally account for the largest proportion of shipments, have begun to slow because of March's earthquake. The Japanese disaster prompted vendors to stockpile components in an effort to avoid supply shortages in the second quarter. Not only are OEMs purchasing less drives to flush their existing stock, their scramble created a large sequential comparative base for third quarter shipments. Fourth quarter shipments are expected to remain flat sequentially or grow slightly at best.

User Comments: 2

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SammyJames said:

I have NO idea what this means for me. I was hoping to upgrade my storage soon -- but I'm torn between SSDs, which are great for speed but are as-yet unreliable -- and HDDs, which are reliable but are still a bit too expensive for what I want.

What I WANT is to be able to buy, say, two HDDs at about 250-500 GB each, with 64mb cache (each) and 6.0 G/b (SATA III). I want to pay $50 for the two of them together.

WHEN (and not if) this becomes possible, I'll buy said drives. I will still expect to get a high-quality product. I believe that this will happen -- because let's face it -- it's either that, or I just sit on what I already have. What i have right now isn't great, mind you -- my Samsung 16mb cache, 640GB boot drive and my Seagate 32mb cache, 500GB audio drive -- each at 3.0 G/b (SATA II). But I can live with it for now.

Eventually those prices are going to come down. I can buy 16GB of DDR3 RAM for 85 bucks on NewEgg. With prices like that, the HDD syndrome will eventually happen too -- the prices will drop. Precipitously. I just want it NOW, not in three months...

SammyJames said:

I'm going to eat crow on this one. After doing some more research, I've decided to just wait for a little while longer. It seems as though SSDs are going to take over, probably sooner rather than later, as the dominant storage force in this new tech world. I will use HDDs as backups, which is a perfectly-sane thing to do. But for everyday computing tasks, I'd much prefer the random write and seek times available with good flash NAND storage.

Particularly when said storage has been fully-tested and is a bit more mature. But I do believe that we're getting much closer to this.

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