HDD makers shipped a record amount of storage in Q2 2021


Posts: 1,246   +24
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In brief: HDD manufacturers have seen a small increase in shipments in the second quarter. As expected, consumer-grade HDDs are falling out of favor as more people choose SSDs, but this is somewhat compensated for by a healthy increase in demand for enterprise-grade HDDs.

Back in June, Seagate and Western Digital said they would increase production, after noticing an upswing in demand for hard disk drives caused in no small part by Chia cryptocurrency enthusiasts, who have to use ridiculous amounts of storage to create so-called "plots." After all, HDD shipment volumes have been going down for years, and last year SSD shipments surpassed those of mechanical hard drives.

Also see: TechSpot's Best SSDs and HDDs

Whether or not they made the right bet is hard to say at this point. According to market data from TrendFocus, manufacturers managed to ship 67.6 million HDDs in the second quarter of this year, which is a 5 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. On the other hand, Nidec -- who is the largest supplier of hard drive motors in the world -- says the industry likely shipped around 64 million units, which is an increase from the estimated 63 million units delivered in the first quarter but differs significantly from the TrendFocus estimate.

Seagate is still the king of HDDs with over 28 million drives shipped in the second quarter, for a total capacity of over 152 exabytes. However, Western Digital has seen relatively more growth compared to the first quarter (9 percent), with 25.4 million drives shipped and a total capacity of over 148 exabytes. Toshiba is still the smaller of the three with almost 14 million drives shipped and a total capacity of almost 50 exabytes.

Overall, HDD makers shipped a record combined capacity of 350.7 exabytes. With Chia's price drop under $300 from their all-time high of $1,685, this trend may reverse in the near future. As such, manufacturers are probably more optimistic about the 20 percent uptick in shipments for enterprise-grade nearline hard drives, which clocked in at 19.3 million units and make up more than two thirds of all HDD shipments. As for consumer HDDs, their gradual decline seems unstoppable.

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Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,363   +4,372
Of course they're still selling like hotcakes! They always WILL sell like hotcakes because storage is the one thing that you can never have too much of. Hard drives are still the ultimate value for bulk storage of data, especially at the consumer level. Sure, there are those tape backups that can hold up to 580TB per tape but the cost of the drive itself is most likely astronomical.

I base this assumption on the fact that this high-performance tape drive from Quantum (remember them?) costs $4,251.64CAD and the corresponding LTO-6 tapes cost another $53CAD each. Now, those tapes are a good value overall because they can store up to 6.25TB of data in compressed format but to make it worth the initial investment, you'd have to buy (and use) enough tapes to make it a better option than the 12TB WD MyBook for $390. That's only $32.50/TB which is pretty damn cheap!

Hard drives may have had reduced shipping volume but that's because they've become rather huge over the past few years and fewer of them are needed for a certain task. Personally, I no longer buy hard drives smaller than 8TB in size because it's just not worth it.

Anything smaller than 8TB will be an SSD for me.
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Posts: 6,476   +7,346
This doesn't give us a full picture without looking at how this compares to the SSD market.

I recently got my first PC without HDD-s, opting for 8TB Samsung 870 QVO for media content. At just under $700 it is on the border of acceptable.