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The Tech Report has taken a detailed look at hard drive prices, revisiting them more than one year after the devastating Thailand floods which stifled mechanical drive production. What their analysis uncovers is likely what storage consumers had been fearing: the vast majority of hard drives are still considerably more expensive than their pre-flood price tags.
Produced by an unusually ruthless monsoon season, the catastrophic floods were estimated to cost the country over $45 billion in damages. A whopping 65 of the country's 72 provinces were declared flood disaster zones. With the world's two largest drive manufacturers so heavily reliant on Thai production, Western Digital and Seagate, it was just a matter of time before prices sky rocketed -- and that they did, with some models hitting triple their original price.
On the bright side, a select number of laptop hard drives have actually dropped in price since their pre-flood costs. It's a minority of models, but includes some commonly found drives like the WD Scorpio Blue 1TB (-26%), Seagate Momentus XT 500GB (-20%) and Hitachi Travelstar 5K750 750GB (-19%).
If you're shopping for a 3.5" desktop drive though, you'll most likely be out of luck with a mean price hike of 35 percent. The biggest increase on the list, the Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB, is 63 percent more expensive than it was in 2011. Incidentally, Samsung's hard drive division was purchased by Seagate -- one of the companies hardest hit by the floods. More common 500GB and 1TB desktop models tend to fare better overall, with the median price increase landing somewhere around 31 percent.
Some analysts believe signs of the flood will survive well into 2014.
The Seagate Momentus XT packs 750GB of capacity, with 8GB of SLC NAND flash, and a SATA 6.0Gbps interface. The Momentus XT features FAST Boot, which sets aside a small portion of the solid-state cache for data used during the boot process, where it will remain for the life of the drive, so that your system always boots from flash and not the Momentus XT's spinning disk.
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