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Internal HDD Prices Declines 5% from 4Q12 to 1Q13 – PriceG2

Areal density frozen
This is a Press Release edited by StorageNewsletter.com on 2013.03.29

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PriceG2, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, is a market research firm that tracks pricing of retail industry products HDDs, SSDs, USB keys and cards for professionals who do business in retail. Clients include storage manufacturers, VARs, Wall St. financial analysts, and private equity firms. The company's president is Andy Higginbotham who starts his career at Sony as a tape drive firmware engineer then promoted GM of the division. He added HDDs to his expertise serving as senior director at defunct start-up MarQlin, senior director marketing for Western Digital, and director sales and marketing for Samsung's HDD drive division.

The charts below show the lowest HDD price found by capacity in gigabytes at major U.S. retailers for internal desktop 3.5-inch and portable 2.5-inch HDDs. In January through March of 2012, pricing was exceptionally high from the October 2011 floods in Thailand. Price levels drifted down in 2012 from the record high levels, but finished the year overall at or above pre-Thailand flood pricing. For the first calendar quarter of 2013, industry pricing is estimated to have declined by approximately 5% overall from last quarter.

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Areal Density Slow Down
The HDD industry measures advances in technology as areal density, or the increase in the total number of bits that can be stored in a square inch on a disk platter. The chart below shows the highest capacity in gigabytes for an internal 2.5-inch portable PC class HDD with a maximum of two disks inside (9.5mm) that was available for purchase in the U.S. retail channel since 2007. The line on the chart labeled 'Lowest Price $' is the lowest price at which this drive was listed for sale. From 2010 to 2013, the maximum capacity available in a 2.5-inch portable drive with two disks has been frozen at 1TB. The highest capacity being frozen for the last 3+ years is an indication that the HDD industry is struggling to make advances in technology. The next technological breakthrough in HDD areal density is planned to use HAMR. Manufacturers have yet to be specific with their introduction timing to ship millions of units per quarter with HAMR technology.

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