CNETNewsNanotech - The Circuits BlogHard-disk shortage hits consumer outlets

by Brooke Crothers |November 10, 2011 4:08 AM PST comments
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A 1TB Western Digital drive is priced at $224 at reseller CDW.

(Credit: CDW) The fallout of the hard-disk drive shortage is now raining down on consumers, according to analysts and resellers.

The most immediate impact is rising prices and falling inventory of standalone drives, in the wake of the flooding in Thailand where roughly half of the world's drives are made. "Prices are going up. We're running out of stock and no longer taking back orders," said a sales representative at PC Connection, a major online reseller.

"We have half the stock we used to have," the sales rep added.

A sales representative at CDW, another major reseller, said prices have jumped as much as $100 on some HDDs.

A quick search at CDW, for example, of one terabyte (1TB) drives shows that many of the least expensive drives are listed as "call" (not immediately available) or showing lead times of between 3 and 11 days.

So, why is this happening? In addition to the most obvious reason--that hard-disk drive component factories in Thailand have been devastated by the flooding--other factors are now coming into play, both strategic and psychological.

"The hard drive manufacturers are doing everything they can to keep the big OEMs (PC makers) needs satisfied," said Jim Handy, an analyst at market researcher Objective Analysis.

"And that means that the little guys are bearing the brunt. And a lot of the little guys put together things like inexpensive external drives. That's the kind of thing that's more likely to go into shortage than PCs," he said.