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  • vol7ron - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    If you're going to put Mushkin up there, you might as well put OWC there too. Their drives seem to perform fairly well and are priced "decent" Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    I only put Mushkin there because many have been asking for that since it appears to be one of the cheapest brands. OWC is not cheap, in fact even Vertex 3 is cheaper except the 480GB model. The table is endless if I start putting every brand there, plus checking the prices is PITA and already takes a decent amount of time. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Plus... Only 4.52% of the worlds population resides in the USA, so the prices are pretty much useless for the 95.48% of the Earths population that doesn't reside in the US. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    To add to that, I don't mean to belittle your efforts, I just don't bother to look at the pricing on this site. Reply
  • jak3676 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    % of world population is hardly a useful stat to toss out there - you could make a decent argument with % of SSD's sold by country/region, but lets face it 99.99% of the world population (to include the US) isn't buying SSDs.

    If he listed prices in Euro or CAD or Yen or anything else he'd just be favoring that market (which is probably smaller than the US market anyway). Even if he could list prices available by country for the top 10 markets, he'd just turn off all of us as people wouldn't want to scroll through 10x the number of charts.
  • nathanddrews - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    4.52% of the world's population, but 22% of the world's GDP. That's why US prices matter. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    And let's not forget that our site's primary readership *is* in the USA. I'm not sure of the breakdown, but I'd guess close to half of all our traffic is US based. Even if it's only 1/3 (Kristian for example is based in Finland), I doubt there's any other currency where our listing SSD prices in that denomination would prove more useful to our readers. Reply
  • Jaybus - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Yes, but some two thirds of international trades are in US dollars and it is still the de facto exchange currency.

    Anyway, what difference does it make? The point is relative prices between drives from different manufacturers. I don't think the ratios would change for different currencies.
  • djboxbaba - Saturday, June 09, 2012 - link

    You realize this is a US based website right? and that the majority of the readership is based in the US?

    Go to a website that caters to your country's currency if this is a problem for you.
  • lyeoh - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    Useless? Speak for yourself, some of us in the 95.48% know how to do currency conversion.

    Are you also going to claim the USD prices of oil, gold, silver, CPUs, DRAMs, etc are useless to the rest of the world?

    There's plenty of stuff in the world that are priced in US dollars - as in the manufacturer's/producer's main selling price for the item is in US dollars. And the price in other countries is linked to that USD price. When the USD price goes up, their prices go up too.

    If the petrodollar loses its hold (its slipping a bit) then it might make sense to use some other currency. That'll be bad for the USA as the US Gov will no longer be able "tax" other countries just by creating more US dollars.
  • XZerg - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    But at least include Mushkin in the benches, after all that's the cheapest SSD out there. This would give a better picture of $/performance. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    We don't have any Mushkin drives in our labs. I have asked Mushkin for a review sample but I have yet to receive a reply. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    I hate to say it but "good !" - that's what keeps their asynchonus prices so low. :-) Reply
  • Belard - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Considering the history and being a favorite, I think the Intel X25-M G2 120GB should be included in the benchmarks. So many of us can track the improvements and see if its a good time to upgrade or not.

    The G2 still does pretty good for its slow-interface, since its not a SF drive.
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Bench also works :-)
  • Belard - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    Thanks... Its still easy to forget that function is on the website. Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    There's no point in including more than two, MAYBE three SandForce drives. One with synchronous NAND, one with asynchronous, and the Intel cuz it has a different firmware. They're all the same hardware with a different sticker. Reply
  • iceman98343 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    when are you going to rereview vertex 4? new fw was released. Reply
  • UltraTech79 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Where are you guys getting these numbers? One place? The suggested retail price? The 256GB M4 is going for $0.70 per GB at amazon. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    We used DynamiteDeals to hunt for best deals. However, the table is a bit outdated (the prices are from May 22nd). I know it should be more up-to-date, but the problem is that DynamiteDeals does not work for me as it's tied to one's IP address. Since I'm located in Finland, it only finds Finnish stores (well, there is only one it finds...). Jarred made the pricing table but in the end, Anand was the one who posted this article (it's been ready for ages, just needed Anand's final look at it). Reply
  • leexgx - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    use an usa vpn loads of free ones Reply
  • Tujan - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    This is yes "nand",. What would be the complexity of simply creating a curcuit board,that fits regular DDR3 ,and places it into the PCI-e slot. Put a battery onto the board,with perhaps a simplified voltage regulator. Then this saves the state of the RAM when the board shuts off. Would be serous situation for such curcuit boards. Ho-hum save the state of the memory,where no change equals,saved state. Strobe etc,. Even the ideal of having RAM on the curcuit board w/o the saving is a serious relationship to performance 'in session' on a computer of course.

    Fail to understand reasons vendors would ask so much for such a PCI-e board. When I see a memory curcuit on a MB for example,a fraction of a whole MB,that would just as well be able to fit onto a removabl PCI-e board. For a PCI slot.
  • jabber - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Gigabyte did this about 7 years ago.
  • jabber - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Just not through the PCI-e slot. Reply
  • Einy0 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!! I used to day dream for hours about how I would use one of those. Reply
  • Stahn Aileron - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    In one word: Capacity. Next issue would be power efficieny since you would always be feeding it power in some form (be it main power or battery power. And that battery will only last so long.) The power issue is relative minor point though.

    The other main power would be volatility. RAM drives are only useful when you absolutely, positively need high-speed, low latency read/write performance (like forcing cache to DRAM instead of the storage system.) As soon as you power them off, you lose all the data stored on them. Battery back-up systems can only go so far to retain your data. This type of storage is too risky for permanent data storage. Any loss of power to the RAM equates to losing all your data. Unlike non-volatile systems (HDDs, SSDs), you're not recovering that data either.

    You're not gonna see RAM drive tech in the consumer space unless they can makes non-volatile RAM. Right now, it's mainly an enterprise thing. Even then, with the uptake of 64-bit software during the past decade or so in that market, there's very little need for RAM drives since a 64-bit OS will give you direct access to practically any and all RAM you have installed in a system these days. You don't need a RAM Drive workaround to access more RAM (32-bit OSes have and inherent 4GiB memory space limitation without workarounds.) I can only see RAM drives being used in the consumer/professional space if some software used explicitly required cache/scratch space on a drive. Something like Photoshop scratch space would be better served on a RAM drive, perhaps.

    Past that, it's cost. Just the RAM itself is about $10/GB these days (give or take.) Fully assembled SSDs using a common interface (SATA) are averaging between $1 & $2 per GB.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    I have a bricked Sandcrap drive that tells me all that RAISE crap is pretty useless so they may as well just use that NAND for more capacity.

    Hell, they should just advertise it as a 1TB drive. Once it is bricked, who can ever tell the difference?
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    U mad bro? Reply
  • Belard - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    Sandforce has become the dominate player in the market. If their controllers were pure crap, then intel wouldn't have touched them. Notice how long intel's G2 drives were THE #1 drives to get, not just in performance but in reliability.

    I admit, I'm a bit confused that intel didn't continue to use their own controller in their top in drive (Their 320 series are like a "G3" and perform slightly better but cheaper than the G2s).

    Also, what sandcrap drive did you get? OCZ makes about 4 different versions of any particular size. Even 6 months ago, you can pick up a 120GB OCZ for $95, but also spend $250... the cheap drive had a much higher failure rate, include DOA. Its performance was crap, becoming slower than a HD after a while.

    Was talking with friends who are looking to upgrade soon. They are going over the various drive brands and pricing. I said, "I don't care... intel 320 or 520. Reliability counts. Saving $50 in exchange for BSOD / performance loss / lack of support isn't worth it".

    I don't know about other brands, but OCZ has no tools for their drives, other than a firmware upgrader. That's it. Intel has a tool-kit, it tells you everything about the SSD, optimization, config, diagnostics and more.

    I'm open to buy a drive from someone else, I'm NOT an intel fan. But I want quality over fandom first.
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Knowing this was an SSD review, I assumed Anand wrote it. After I read the intro piece, I was CONVINCED that it was Anand. But lo and behold, when I glanced at the top of the next page, I did not see the name I was expected.

    Bravo, Mr. Vättö, bravo.
  • kevith - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    I'l second that, I had exactly the same experience.

    Proper good job, mate!
  • Whyaskwhy - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    My knowledge is very limited, can you show me how each SSD compares playing online games? I play Rift, SWTOR, World of Tanks,and will be playing GW2 when it comes out. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Generally speaking, SSDs only improve game and level load times, and even then the difference may not be that large. If you have a PC with 4GB RAM or more, SSDs are really about improving Windows performance and responsiveness as opposed to improving gaming performance. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    Buy a sata3 6.0 (no matter your board speed), and you'll be fine - your frame rate won't go up a lot in games, although it does rise substantially (10%-40%) in some like flight sim (lots of tiny files to be accessed) and a bit in all others...

    What's good about them is not waiting for drive swapping IN GAME - so they can make a difference in responsiveness, it will be noticeable.

    If you are a benchmark freak make certain you buy a 120gig (or 128) not a 60gig (or 64) as the 60gigs bench poorly because of fewer ram chip channels, however windows 7 and all the general goodies and several (3) large games fit on a 60 or 64 just fine, but a 120/128 is barely 30 bucks more, so spend $100 and get a 120.

    The samsung 830's are hot but costly, I prefer 2281 sandforce asynchronus as they have several brand choices at the lowest of prices with excellent speed.

    If you have a single spindle drive non raid boot you won't be sorry at all. It appears on P45 chipsets and above, a triple raid boot zero stripe is required before equal performance responsiveness is met (on sata 2).

    So there you are - use the egg to see speed and click the reviews tab there and sort by most helpful you will see actual purchasers being quite helpful and giving their tested stats.
  • jaydee - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    I don't know if it was really worth all the analysis on the pricing, as it fluctuates so much. At any given time, it seems that you can get a 120/128GB drive for ~$100-110, last week it was Samsung, this week it's Crucial, I've seen Plextor there too, and at least one SandForce drive seems to be there perpetually.

    Not that I'm complaining about the prices, its great for the consumers, but it places an impossible burden on a reviewer to evaluate the bang-for-buck, because it changes daily.
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Thank you for the review Kristian.

    On a related note, I'm curious as to what happened to the Plextor M3 Pro review?

    You commented on May 14th, in the Corsair Performance Series Pro (256GB) Review article that the "review should be up next week at the latest." and yet here we are nearly a month later with a review of a different SSD.

  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    It's been ready for about a month now. Only pricing table and final words are missing, but those can't be done until just before publishing. I wanted to get this review out of the way because I've had the drive for months. I asked Anand to test an updated 120GB SF drive for comparisons (it's been a while since we reviewed a 120GB SF drive, that's why), which took a bit longer than I thought (Anand is a very, very busy man ;-)).

    I will finish the M3P review this weekend and it will hopefully be up next week, depending on Anand's schedule and what else we have for next week (we don't want to post five reviews at once and then have nothing for the rest of the week. It's problematic when there are NDAs because they must go live ASAP, whereas other articles can wait).
  • swx2 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Ah! I was looking for that review as well, but thanks for the explanation :) Reply
  • TwistedKestrel - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    I could have sworn that RAISE was disabled on the 120 GB Intel 520... and I thought I read that here, but I see no mention of it in Anandtech's review. Reply
  • Airkol - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Reducing the over-provisioning and shutting RAISE off my give the consumer a few extra bytes of storage. But what it costs them is the life of the drive. The write amplification of the drive will increase since there is less area to manage wear leveling.

    This could reduce the life of the drive by 50%-75% depending on what type of data is being written.
  • stotticus - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    I was about to spring for the 256 GB Samsung 830 for my Late 2011 MBP for use as my system drive, based on this site and others' recommendations.

    On Newegg this drive is cheaper and this review is encouraging. Does anyone have any recommendations for me, as far as this drive being a good choice? My head is spinning trying to wrap around all the tech specs.
  • iceman98343 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    where is your review on new vertex 4 fw? Reply
  • vectorm12 - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    However I'd really love a comparison between the different SSD controllers concerning write-amplification with uncompressible data.

    I'm particularly interested in this as I'm constantly evaluating drives for RAIDs aimed at RAIDs. Having a benchmark for write-amplification would really help me estimate lifespan for RAID-volumes based on SSDs.
  • TheJian - Friday, June 08, 2012 - link

    Not sure why you're not using google to get pricing which gives you the best out there. Amazon is selling the 256GB M4 for $205 (shipping included) and the 128GB for $119 (with a good 10 vendors at this price!). That's a pretty awesome price on the 256. These are not the cheapest either (with an ebay guy showing $198 - I'd still buy at amazon though). B&H has the 256 for $205 also. So multiple choices at that price. This engine heads off to newegg where you get screwed (and if you're buying an HD you also get to deal with their wonderful shipping - followed by an RMA because they can't pack a drive to save their life). Amazon and frustration free shipping FTW! :)

    I'm not going to bother checking the others as I'm only interested in the M4 or Samsung 830. I consider the rest problems (except for Intel, but they are ridiculously priced). Sandforce can go fly a kite with their firmware sucking so bad.

    Just an FYI people. GOOGLE your product and hit shopping results on the left side of the screen. Hit compare for the one that shows the most results and then total price (sort). Done.
  • TheJian - Saturday, June 09, 2012 - link

    One more comment I forgot. All your newegg hits serve to set their AUTO PRICING engine off in high gear. Which after so many hits raises the price. It's currently sitting at $144 for the 128GB Samsung 830 which you show $130 for. So all the hits in the last few hours probably drove this up $14.

    I've watched this happen on a cpu that was rising throughout the day (back when the E8400 came out). I was trying to figure out if I could afford it and just watched it rise. Luckily not many knew it was a xeon 3110 also :) Which I picked up for $20 less and with better thermals :)

    Note newegg doesn't work like this for just hits in the list, such as searching for a GTX680 or something and getting a whole list. But an actual viewing of their product page will cause the hit (for any particular product).

    Here's hoping you get your SSD for the cheapest possible! As Seagate/WD have been screwing us since the flood. Seagates profits quadrupled (140mil to 563mil) and they shipped 8% fewer drives (overcharging a bit?). How do you QUADRUPLE your profits in a catastrophe? Fabricate the catastrophe, then charge more for everything you ship...LOL. FREAKING QUADRUPLE PROFITS! They did this while shorting your warranty (which will raise the profits even more over the next few years since there will be less they replace with shorter warranty). Seagate shipped 47mil drives (vs. 51 mil previously - not much of a catastrophe). Revenues were 3.2bil (again for 8% fewer drives) vs. 2.8bil before.

    Sept 2011 (pre flood) had WD at 239mil income (53.5mil drives shipped). After flood Dec 2011, $145mil (28.5mil shipped drives, with 4Bil in cash, so $199mil for recovery is nothing to them). March 2012, once WD started screwing the customers too they posted 483mil income on 44.2mil drives shipped. So Thailand flooding is a great business for WD. They shipped roughly 10mil less drives in the first 3 months this year compared to sept 2011 pre flood and yet DOUBLED their income from 239mil in that sept PRE FLOOD quarter. So you ship 20% fewer drives (roughly) and double your profits (note that extra 244mil they made this quarter covers ALL flood costs). So this quarter WD will just collect FLOOD PROFITS. Flooding is apparently GOOD for everyone's business. To top that off they are now FULLY recovered and are shipping drives at full capacity now (as of end of May). I wouldn't be surprised to see them top 500mil by cashing in on us. There is NO reason for drives to not be at PRE FLOOD levels for pricing from EITHER company. Sorry about grammar or spelling I've been up all night...LOL

    Worse, we now have 1/2 the competition, and idiot reporters are saying pricing won't come down until 2014...UMM...WHY? They're both making money on the flood and eliminated competition. It's been a great year for WD and Seagate...WTF?

    The only way to stop them, is to CLOSE YOUR WALLET until pre flood pricing returns! For the love of GOD (or whoever...LOL), quit buying drives! Buy a bluray and a 100 blanks (25TB of storage!) and burn something. Buy an SSD. Just don't buy a stinking hard drive. :)
  • TheJian - Saturday, June 09, 2012 - link

    2.5TB..LOL. No edit...bah. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, June 10, 2012 - link

    Thank you for that post TheJian Reply
  • TheJian - Sunday, June 10, 2012 - link

    You're very welcome. I hope it either saves you some money or at least closes your wallet to WD and Seagate for a while :)

    I say that as I have a blu-ray burner (LG WH12LS39-sata burner) and 100 blanks in my cart at amazon... :) The blanks are Optical Quantum (shiny, I hate the white's that bleed paint all over themselves making your drives work harder to read them through the 'fog' so to speak). 100 4x BD-R discs so I can dump a good 2.5TB for $75 ($37x2 50packs), and the drive is $85. Discount shockwave has the drive for $79 but it can take 10 days to get to you and I'm out of space so went for amazon who should have it here in 3 days or so.

    Taking my own advice; I hereby close my wallet to seagate until pre-flood (I want that 2TB 2 platter version for $70 like before - they sell a 2 and 3 platter version 4heads vs 6heads until all out of the 3platters I guess). The wallet has been closed to WD for a long while. As a tech in IT I saw too many die (ran hot in dell SFF's which killed them more frequently than seagates/samsung/hitachi) and watched us switch to seagate/hitachi for our stock replacement drives. Of note, WD only had 1% enterprise marketshare until buying Hitachi (not completed yet but will go through no doubt) who has 27% of the enterprise market. Seagate has like 63% of the enterprise share.
    Jan2012 article. That one shows Hitachi at 24% but they added a few since (can't remember where I got the 27% but it's the latest info - it was a merger article like the one above but an update on proceedings to may or so). We will feel the pain of these two mergers for some time. Of course global HD shares are quite different where WD does very well (equal split with seagate pretty much). Enterprise is getting raped by these guys as they HAVE to replace dead drives. Whereas I can go blu-ray to get buy for a while :) I'm saying a prayer that ALL of you on this board seeking drives go blu-ray (with 50-100blanks) or SSD to get you all by :) And it's been a while since I prayed...LOL.
    ***promptly gets down on knees and prays, nay, begs, pleads and just plain kisses GOD's ARSE to get people to stop buying Seagate/WD for a while***
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    Thank you again TheJian, for the further information.

    A good friend of mine determined the price scalping by general human experience, and it was great to see this, check it out and show him.

    I've avoided the spindle drive hike completely and I've been buying SSD's like mad since the spring price drop, so in a sense I've been doing my part to stick it right back to them. :-)
  • TheJian - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    You're welcome :)

    I still can't believe the profits, but it's easy to verify on any stock site. For anyone wanting verification just google stock:stx and hit enter, or stock:wdc and look at their quarterly reports which you can usually view the last 3-4 quarters side by side, check net profits. The top result with show 6-7 news outlets anyone can look at (google finance, yahoo, cnbc, etc).

    CeriseCogburn - Thanks for doing your part! :)

    That was a bit of typing before, though I had most of the info at the ready. I follow a more than a few tech's, pile up on NVDA and by xmas you'll get some drives for free on them :) - 2/3rd's of their stock price is in cash now...LOL. Easy money by Q1 with Kepler and Tegra3 just taking off (love or hate NV, money is MONEY! I own a radeon 8850 btw...LOL). Unfortunately only a few people will probably see these posts and the raping will continue :(

    Kristian?...Could we get an small article on WD and Seagate's profits, and the mass spanking these two are giving us on their drives? I'm guessing if a big site like anandtech did a little diddy on these bozos perhaps these "research" outfits would quit saying they expect no recovery until 2014! That's complete BS as WD has already said they're back to full production (seagate already was, only 8% drop anyway - hardly a catastrophe on their end, hence the quad profits from nowhere). Anandtech could take the bull by the horns and affect world wide pricing. If the ripoff article hit mainstream news media (TV, cnbc?...etc), I'm guessing they'd have to explain something or drop prices. Is this collusion? Price fixing? Even the IHS guy says they won't start a price war and will keep it this way as long as possible with 2 fewer competitors. Collusion?

    Most people just don't follow the stocks or realize this is happening. Until you look at profits, you may actually believe they're hurting (especially if you listen to them or their IHS SUPPLY SHILLS - he SHOULD have said drives should drop): This quarter they'll ship more drives than pre-flood. So what if Dell/HP etc signed long term contracts above flood levels. What does that have to do with MY price in the store? Why are all externals still cheap? Why didn't they go up? Surely an anti-hard drive raping article would be quite popular in this crap economy. Artificially keeping pricing high in a down economy should have consequences (at least a bit of bad publicity??).

    Anyway, thanks for doing SSD articles Kristian (and Anandtech in general). At least I'm fairly educated on my next pc part purchase (xmas SSD FTW!). Blu-ray and blanks until then...ROFL. AMEN!
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link


    Reading your comments actually got me interested in the whole situation. It's kind of odd to see increasing profits given that the companies were "struggling" due to floods just a few months ago. A quick conclusion would be that the HD market was getting too low-profit now that SSDs are becoming more and more popular, so the HD companies decided to blame the floods and use that as a tool to limit supply temporarily and increase prices.

    I'll talk to Anand and see what he thinks. This is definitely an intriguing topic - maybe the HD companies are just ripping people off?
  • TheJian - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    In my opinion, based on the numbers, that isn't really a question. It's a REALITY. There is NO other way to look at it. Hopefully Anand will come to the same conclusion and post an article about it. I see Dailytech picked up the article I referenced and posed it (shame...LOL - At least it wasn't Mick...). I was going to just paste my stuff onto that post from the 11th, but I didn't want to give them more hits for whoring out my post...ROFL). I don't want to see that crap repeated, I wanted it TORN APART! :)

    Instead of excusing them, the post should have discussed why they are getting rich during a supposed catastrophe. That is what needs to be analyzed. Why do they continue to rip retail users off? None of us signed some contract thinking no drives would be available. So why am I forced to pay a higher fee? Just to make Dell/HP feel better about getting ripped off?

    PRODUCTION is in full swing at both WD and Seagate. This quarter is the first they will exceed pre-flood drive sales. Then why am I still be screwed at the store? Why did Externals NEVER go up? The same thing should be true at retail/newegg/amazon etc...Those prices have no reason to be high now with production about to EXCEED pre-flood production. What catastrophe are we in now? Is there another LARGER flood I'm unaware of that continues to hurt drive pricing? It seems completely made up at this point, when looking at the profits they are raking in (RECORD PROFITS!). Just tell Anand to look at their profits for Sept 2011 (pre flood), Dec2011 (the actual damage quarter) and 1st quarter 2012 (the complete RIPOFF quarter). I'd like to see another follow up next month or so when we get the June quarter's numbers as they will show HUGE profits for both no doubt.

    Thanks for looking into it! :)
  • jwilliams4200 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Actually, there is another way to look at it -- basic economics, supply and demand.

    The flood caused a "supply shock" (look it up on wikipedia), reducing the overall number of HDDs that could be supplied to consumers. As a result, the market price adjusted sharply higher in order to reduce demand to the amount that could be supplied. That is basic ECON 101 behavior, and not at all mysterious.

    WD's production was cut sharply by the flood, but Seagate's production was not as badly impacted, as some of your figures show. But since WD HDDs and Seagate HDDs are "substitute goods" (wikipedia it), the supply curves are closely linked. So Seagate did indeed profit from the overall reduced supply, since WD lost more production. Again, this is all basic economics, and nothing nefarious is needed to explain it.

    Now that production has nearly returned to pre-flood levels, there is still reason for prices to be higher than before -- pent-up demand. Many consumers have delayed HDD purchases while waiting for prices to come down. As these consumers begin to reenter the HDD market, demand will be higher than it ordinarily would be, and so the price must adjust higher than it would ordinarily be so that supply can meet demand.

    All of these issues are well understood by economists. They are so well understood that they are all taught in introductory economics courses.

    There is one more issue that is not basic economics, but I think it is relevant. Others may argue with me about it, since unlike the above concepts, it is not basic economics. The issue is that I think the HDD industry was not long-term viable at the prices that we saw in early-Fall 2011. Clearly the industry was not profitable enough for Hitachi or Samsung to want to continue producing HDDs. Hitachi and particularly Samsung are huge corporations which produce many products and have immense resources. If they did not think it was worthwhile to allocate their capital for HDDs in the future, then it seems obvious that the HDD industry was in severe decline.

    Therefore, I think somewhat higher prices (than we saw in Fall-2011) are necessary for the HDD industry to be lively going forward. Without a prosperous HDD industry, no one will invest the billions of dollars that are necessary to develop the next generations of HDD technology. So I am actually not disturbed to see prices moderately higher than they were in Fall 2011. I expect the price per GB to start falling again eventually, but I also want to see 5TB and 8TB HDDs in the near future, and I am willing to pay a little more $/GB for that new technology.
  • CeriseCogburn - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    A mrono can understand the issues, the problem is locked in contracts from the big system producers at elevated prices and no relief form the manufacturers.

    In the end any excuse is eliminated by merely seagate and wd reducing prices, which they very well can, and still retain enormous profit they never expected.

    Instead they will keep the inflated contract prices and scarf the hundreds of millions.
  • TheJian - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link,2817,2405500,

    One more regarding the duopoly that they've created now (these two control 86% of the market post mergers), and having pricing power to keep them artificially high. June 7th.
  • jwilliams4200 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    What a terrible article! It amazes me that they failed to mention "Toshiba" at all.

    One of the conditions that government regulators put on the WD acquisition of Hitachi GST is that there must be a third 3.5" HDD producer with at least 20% market share (that number came from Hitachi GST's 3.5" HDD market share).

    So, WD sold Toshiba IP and production facilities to allow Toshiba to produce 3.5" HDDs. I don't know all the details, but it seems likely that WD basically sold Hitachi GST's 3.5" HDD business to Toshiba. Toshiba also sold their Thailand 2.5" HDD business to WD. I don't know the details of the deal, it may have been primarily a swap rather than a cash transaction. Or not.

    The situation is further complicated by all the regulators involved -- China, US, Europe. I believe China required that Hitachi GST continue producing HDDs for an extended period before the acquisition could be completed. Also, I believe the WD/Toshiba deal involved WD/Hitachi GST producing HDDs for Toshiba for some period of time.

    As you can see, it is all very complicated. But the author of that article seems remarkably ignorant of the details of the situation.
  • CeriseCogburn - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    What becomes clear is the governments of the world control production.
    Communism, fascism, or regulation, what's the difference - it's not working and prices are still crazy.

    The pols get their due payola.
  • mgl888 - Saturday, June 09, 2012 - link

    Anand = A NAND

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