Seagate and Western Digital increase HDD production as Chia sends sales skyrocketing

midian182

Posts: 7,064   +62
Staff member
TL;DR: Cryptocurrency Chia has caused demand for hard disk drives to skyrocket in Europe. As many feared when it launched, this has resulted in shortages and increasing prices, forcing Seagate and Western Digital to ramp up production of their HDDs.

The Chia blockchain uses a "proof of space and time" model instead of "proof of work" (Bitcoin) or "proof of stake" (Etherium 2.0), meaning people can farm the crypto by allocating their unused disk space. It's already led to a 500% increase in Adata SSD sales and warranty warnings; Chia farming can reportedly ruin a 512GB SSD in 40 days.

According to research firm Context (via The Register), European sales of enterprise-grade nearline storage drives of 10TB capacity were just under 200,000 in April, representing 240% year-on-year growth. It was a similar story for consumer-grade NAS HDD sales, which were up 167% YoY to ~250,000.

Even sales surveillance disk drives, designed for use in surveillance systems, are up 116% despite "no specific event in surveillance to cause that growth," senior enterprise analyst Gurvan Meyer told The Reg.

Much in the same way that the high demand for graphics cards is boosting manufacturers' bottom lines, Seagate has upped its revenue forecast for the current quarter due to "an increase in the crypto farming demand," CFO Gianluca Romano told investors.

Both Seagate and Western Digital are capitalizing on Chia-induced demand by ramping up production of HDDs following years of reducing production capacity as consumer demand declined. "This new [Chia cryptocurrency] demand is basically helping us to improve […] in the short-term, and bridge from a situation of underutilized capacity to a situation of almost fully utilized capacity," Romano added.

Western Digital's CFO Bob Eulau offered a similar view: "[…] we'll see how the Chia situation plays out incrementally, it's mostly affected volumes in the channel. And we went through a period where we got pretty lean in terms of channel inventory, and we're working to get that situation resolved and basically producing for all of our customers at full capacity right now."

Both firms are cautious about committing to major investments such as building new production lines or factories, given cryptocurrency's volatile nature. However, with the storage space allocated to Chia's network jumping from 1 exabyte (EB) in late April to 20.2 EB today, Seagate and WD may need to do more to avoid shortages and huge price spikes. One bit of good news for consumers is that Chia's price has fallen from a high of $1,685 in mid-May to $550.

Image credit: nordantin

Permalink to story.

 

poohbear

Posts: 641   +556
Great. Another essential computer component that will become hard to buy due to mining. Why doesn't someone design a crypto that uses mouse movements or keyboard clicks for energy?! Nobody would be lamenting sold out mouses or keyboards!
 

terzaerian

Posts: 969   +1,416
Ah yes, the "spinning rust" technology that Techspot posters were mocking as obsolete or a necessary evil for the data center just the other day now an essential computer component today, reframed in the context of a Chiacoin article. You people ooze intellectual integrity.

It just goes to show that no matter what measure or upgrades Bitcoin or other cryptos take, it wouldn't matter: you'll find something to panic and carp about.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,829   +5,879
As I wrote earlier here, now crypto is out to ruin the storage market also.

I predict crypto will go into history as the worst invention ever, right after the atomic bomb. However, atomic bomb can decimate only one area, while crypto can decimate economy of the entire world, so it is questionable which one is the worst.
 
Last edited:

terzaerian

Posts: 969   +1,416

terzaerian

Posts: 969   +1,416
Have you opened your eyes?
The only real, appreciable price increases on these graphs since Chiacoin's public launch are for 3.5" SATA 8 TB and M.2 NVME 2 TB, both of which are at the highest end of consumer storage needs presently. Lower capacities and SATA SSDs have remained rock-steady or dropped off, in comparison. If anything, the fact there haven't been more price increases in storage across the board due to inflation and chip shortages is what's unusual. This compares starkly with GPU models, where the models and selection are more limited and prices have certifiably inflated:


If storage prices were being affected by a supply squeeze and shortage in the same way that GPU prices are, we would be seeing inflation in the middle of the range similar to what is evident with cards like the RX570, RX580, 3070 and 3060 ti.

The enduring need by Techspot and in particular, this columnist to whip up frenzy and hysteria over Chiacoin is tiresome.
 
Last edited:

Nobina

Posts: 3,284   +3,358
I'd rather have expensive storage than expensive GPUs. I was just checking HDD prices cause I read about this coin earlier, looks like some HDDs got very expensive while some didn't change much. It's not that bad at all, so far.
 

Mjswooosh

Posts: 47   +79
The only real, appreciable price increases on these graphs since Chiacoin's public launch are for 3.5" SATA 8 TB and M.2 NVME 2 TB, both of which are at the highest end of consumer storage needs presently. Lower capacities and SATA SSDs have remained rock-steady or dropped off, in comparison. If anything, the fact there haven't been more price increases in storage across the board due to inflation and chip shortages is what's unusual. This compares starkly with GPU models, where the models and selection are more limited and prices have certifiably inflated:


If storage prices were being affected by a supply squeeze and shortage in the same way that GPU prices are, we would be seeing inflation in the middle of the range similar to what is evident with cards like the RX570, RX580, 3070 and 3060 ti.

The enduring need by Techspot and in particular, this columnist to whip up frenzy and hysteria over Chiacoin is tiresome.

Are you high? Since the week that Chia went public, prices on high capacity WD external hard drives of all sizes (12/14/16/18TB) have, for example, nearly doubled in price from Best Buy, Newegg, Amazon, etc...

You may be right there is a bit too much panic about crypto, but the proof is in the pudding.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 969   +1,416
Are you high? Since the week that Chia went public, prices on high capacity WD external hard drives of all sizes (12/14/16/18TB) have, for example, nearly doubled in price from Best Buy, Newegg, Amazon, etc...

You may be right there is a bit too much panic about crypto, but the proof is in the pudding.
Bolded because you apparently didn't read my post through.

I acknowledged that prices for drives at the highest end increased, as shown by the link I posted. But drives aren't like video cards; buying a high-capacity drive doesn't give you the best performance, it just gives you more capacity. You can buy 5x 2 TB drives and achieve the same effect as buying 1x 10 TB drives in a way you can't with a graphics card. And as the graphs show, prices remained steady in lower-capacity, lower-performance ranges, if not decreased, which considering the 5% inflation we're now under is what's unusual.

And if you need multiple 10 TB drives your needs are fairly extraordinary. I'm definitely what you consider a data hoarder but I don't have one drive bigger than 4 TB in size.
 

hwertz

Posts: 64   +28
Yep, there was an article a while back about Chia blowing out SSDs in a matter of months (doable, I bought a $20 120GB SSD, to use as swap to run some code that needed about 24GB of RAM on a 16GB system, and blew it out in about 3 months.. I knew the likelihood but figured for $20 what the hell.) So (if you're going to go into Chia, which I can't recommend...) using HDDs for it is sensible. (Plus the MUCH lower cost/GB.)

I'm glad HDDs have stayed on the market, though, the notebook I just bought I'm getting the 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. At home I have like a 4TB and 8TB external HDD, who knows how the hell much that'd cost if it was all SSDs. I don't want to spend 100s of extra dollars for storage that costs like $50 on spinning rust, and I don't want to worry about wearing out the SSD with write activity either. So, I'm going to put / on the SSD for super-fast booting, software loading, and software updates; put /home on the HDD for plenty of space for my actual files; and swap on HDD so I don't wear out the SSD with writes (if I swap much, with 12GB of RAM it's possible that would not be an issue anyway, Ubuntu is not that RAM-hungry.)
 

Mjswooosh

Posts: 47   +79
Bolded because you apparently didn't read my post through.

I acknowledged that prices for drives at the highest end increased, as shown by the link I posted. But drives aren't like video cards; buying a high-capacity drive doesn't give you the best performance, it just gives you more capacity. You can buy 5x 2 TB drives and achieve the same effect as buying 1x 10 TB drives in a way you can't with a graphics card. And as the graphs show, prices remained steady in lower-capacity, lower-performance ranges, if not decreased, which considering the 5% inflation we're now under is what's unusual.

And if you need multiple 10 TB drives your needs are fairly extraordinary. I'm definitely what you consider a data hoarder but I don't have one drive bigger than 4 TB in size.
My post was in direct reference to your blanket statement chastising another poster who, in fact, was correct that much of the consumer storage market pricing has been greatly impacted by Chia mining. This is quite simply fact.

Although I am not a miner of any sort (yet), I couldn't give a rats *** about low capacity drives. Regardless of unscientific labels like "data hoarder", I have significant data needs and don't buy standard drives below 5TB for certain needs or below 12TB for other needs. I have multiples drives in the 8, 10, and 12TB capacity range & had been looking at upgrading my primary server to 16 or 18TB drives. As recently as about a month ago these drives were literally 50% less costly. This is not coincidence. And someone like you hand-waving this away as only affecting consumers at some fringe "data hoarder" subset of the consumer market is simply disingenuous.
 

OortCloud

Posts: 634   +505
Why does crypto mining always involve use of computer hardware? Why cant something more suitable for its users be employed - like purchasing soft tissues or wet wipes? Or posting on forums about how great crytpo is and how its the future. Every cliché posted earns you some extra SociallyAwkwardCoin?
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 216   +145
My post was in direct reference to your blanket statement chastising another poster who, in fact, was correct that much of the consumer storage market pricing has been greatly impacted by Chia mining. This is quite simply fact.

Although I am not a miner of any sort (yet), I couldn't give a rats *** about low capacity drives. Regardless of unscientific labels like "data hoarder", I have significant data needs and don't buy standard drives below 5TB for certain needs or below 12TB for other needs. I have multiples drives in the 8, 10, and 12TB capacity range & had been looking at upgrading my primary server to 16 or 18TB drives. As recently as about a month ago these drives were literally 50% less costly. This is not coincidence. And someone like you hand-waving this away as only affecting consumers at some fringe "data hoarder" subset of the consumer market is simply disingenuous.
Their point was Chia farming hasn't affected prices of all storage like mining has affected the prices and availability of all GPU's. If you need 16-18TB drives you aren't the average consumer which is another point the OP made.