Average HDD Capacities Continue to Increase

Despite the drop in HDD unit shipments, both sequentially and year-over-year, total capacities shipped by the two leading makers of hard drives increased in Q1. Seagate supplied 55.6 EB (Exabyte) of HDD storage last quarter, up from 54.6 EB in Q1 2015, but down from 60.6 EB in the previous quarter. The total capacity of Western Digital’s HDDs shipped in the first quarter of 2016 was approximately 62.2 EB, a moderate increase from 61.3 EB in Q1 2015.

When it comes to hard drives, one thing that has been growing quarter-over-quarter for a long time now is average HDD capacity, particularly in the enterprise segment, but not only there. In Q1 2016, an average drive could store around 1.4 TB of data, an increase of 28.5% (Western Digital) and 29.7% (Seagate) from the same quarter last year.

Average HDD Price Stays at $60 compared to Q1 2015

Despite the local price hikes by HDD makers, the industry can clearly produce more hard drives than it can consume, which is why prices of mass HDD models remain rather low. This will likely change in the future, when consumers shift to higher-capacity drives because of 4K UHD video or other reasons, but right now an average HDD from either Seagate of Western Digital costs approximately $60.

This will likely change after Seagate implements its plans to cut down its manufacturing capacities and supply-demand balance of the market will stabilize. However, it remains to be seen how significantly that is going to change going forward.

Market Share: Seagate, WD and Toshiba Shipments Market Trends: Client, Notebook, External and NAS all Down


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  • nandnandnand - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Don't trust the cloud! It's meant to shackle and spy on you! Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, July 14, 2016 - link

    It's also way too slow, way too unreliable, and way, way, way too limited by bandwidth caps. Reply
  • tamalero - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    Makes you wonder if most companies will just switch to corporate/business storage devices in the end. And leave the SSDs for consumer market. Reply
  • Achaios - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    I upgraded my Dec 2013 rig last mont.

    One of the upgrades, was replacing the two WD Green 2TB drives in Raid 1 I had with two WD Blue 6 TB drives also placed in Raid 1.

    This will set me up for the next 5-6 years, so presumably I won't be buying any more HDD's until then.

    My rig uses a Samsung 840 EVO 500 GB SSD as an OS/Games drive and a Samsung 750 120GB SSD (upgrade) as an emergency boot drive/virtual memory drive.

    I think I am all set until the next major upgrade event. Don't think I will be buying any more storage (SSD or HDD) for the next 5 years or so.
  • bill.rookard - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Agreed. I just updated my NAS with some 4TB enterprise drives (3x4TB in RAID5) and retired my 5x2TB RAID5 array. Same overall size, but vastly increased reliability and I should be good for a few years.

    Meanwhile all my new builds are SSD based.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    SSDs are big enough now that most users dont need HDDs anymore.

    Even for gamers, the richer ones can afford all SSD storage. My laptop has a 256 and 512GB SSDs in it, and I feel no squeeze for space, just install the games you actually play. And if more space is needed, 2TB SSDs exist now. I doubt many gamers need more than 2TB of games downloaded at any one point.

    Which leaves media creation and one of the few that still need HDDs, although that may change. Outside of backup devices, HDDs dont have much of a future in consumer devices.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Agreed; however the problem is that most consumers don't understand that SSDs will make their laptop much more responsive; and that the lack of spinning rust is the biggest reason why their phone and tablet are so much more responsive. 3/4ths of PCs are still crippled with HDDs and sold to customers who only understand two numbers: Total price, less is always better here. Number of GB, more is always better here. If they don't actually need the disk space, and most don't, they're wrong about the latter; but you can't fight ignorance at the boxmart.

    Just checking prices for new name brand laptop HDDs on Newegg shows the price margin between 1TB drives and smaller ones has almost completely vanished: 250 GB, $39; 320 GB, $45, 500 GB, $45; 1TB $52; 2 TB, $94. Just based on how far 1 TB laptop drives have dropped in price I'm not surprised that Seagate's discontinuing their smaller capacity drives; WD and Toshiba will probably end up doing the same within a year.

    At the same time the cheapest ~960GB SSD on Newegg is still $200, with $50 only getting you 240GB. That's enough of a price/capacity gap to keep the majority of the clueless with legacy storage for at least a few more years.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Very true, but the kind of people that dont understand SSDs are probably the same kind of people that want the most GBs because they think it will make the computer faster. Nothing will help them I'm afraid.

    But then, the cheap junk they usually buy gets the scrap parts anyway, the good lines of HDDs always went into business machines and stuff with a higher margin. That market is falling in love with SSDs very quickly.
  • FunBunny2 - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    -- But then, the cheap junk they usually buy gets the scrap parts anyway, the good lines of HDDs always went into business machines and stuff with a higher margin.

    and the same thing is happening in the SSD space.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, May 12, 2016 - link

    Technically illiterate customers looking at the only number they think they understand and wanting HDDs was my point. Excluding those willing to pay a little extra for a stylish thin laptop I don't see that changing any time soon because the price per GB difference is still way too large. Reply

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