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Western Digital forced to raise prices on HDDs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Aug 2011 2:49 User comments (14)

Western Digital forced to raise prices on HDDs Western Digital has been forced to raise the prices of its HDDs, says Hexus, thanks to the continued demand and scarce supply for rare earth elements.
The move is effective immediately, with WD already informing partners of the price hike.

Prices are expected to be hiked 10 percent for 500GB drives and 5 percent for 1TB drives.

Rare earth elements, the supply of which is controlled by China, have been increasing in price for a year now, as the nation intentionally holds back supply to make as much profit as possible from desperate manufacturers.

It is unclear whether the price increases on WD drives will make their way to consumers or if the manufacturers will have to eat the charges, for now.

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14 user comments

128.8.2011 15:13

Blasted China!

228.8.2011 15:20

So much for buying cheap drives on black friday/cyber monday this year like I usually do..

328.8.2011 16:00

Looks like China is taking a cue from U.S. Oil companies. So much for communism being against capitalism!

428.8.2011 17:21

It's just a short-term cashing in, fairly understandable.

China knows that other countries have been finding rare earths in the spoil from other old metal mining works and as other countries look to escape the current Chinese monopoly on supply they are being found (Japan has recently found huge desposits apparantly).

529.8.2011 13:04

#1, raising prices due to low supply is a game the oil industry has used for eons. There is no reason the price of a HDD already built should be raised due to the fact that the original price of materials was lower prior to manufacturing. I can see where drives made AFTER this announcement could go up. Otherwise this is just another fleecing laid onto the consumer for a poor economy.

#2, how on earth did China become the only supplier of these elements? I simply refuse to believe that there aren't other areas with the exact or similar materials on their home fronts as well. That's like saying that the middle east is the only place there's oil.

629.8.2011 13:40

HDD's seem to have hit a plateau. The size has not increased nor has the price really decreased in quite some time.
I usually buy a new HD about every 6 months or so and it was always more beneficial to buy one every six months than to buy more than one when they are on sale because the price/size would be better in 6 months or so.
Not this time. They've been languishing at the current levels for a long time. I'm afraid that size has reached a point of diminishing returns and a price point much less than $90 per 2TB is going to be around for a while.

We really need New HDD tech.

Oh, Im sorry... Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?

729.8.2011 14:06

Originally posted by ThePastor:
We really need New HDD tech.
I'm right there with you...!

829.8.2011 15:38

I think we get these scare stories every so often is a point worth bearing in mind.

Rare earths have been mentioned many times in the last few years but periodic blips aside electronics still either cost less or the same for more spec.

It also should be noted that currency depreciation is a much more likely reason (as the US $ falls and most commodities are still priced in US $'s).

Roll on the 4tb drives at currrent 2tb prices (which I expect to be a reality within 12 - 18mths, look how fast 1tb & 2tbs fell).

929.8.2011 16:03

You would think so, if you've been following HD prices for any time at all... the next thing should be 4TB for about $100...

But I'm wondering if they are figuring out that a drive larger than 2TB in a computer is really kind of nich now days. I mean, unless you are building a large video library there really is no purpose to a HD more that 2TB at this point in time.
Sure, some people need more, but the vast majority of mass-market computer users barely use 500gb. 2TB is over kill, 4TB would be stupid.

I'm thinking that the manufacturers have reached a point of diminishing returns.

Now, if only I could get a 2TB SSD for $100 ... Now we're talking!

Oh, Im sorry... Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?

1029.8.2011 17:52

yea i now need some hard drives.......damn should have brought them 3 weeks ago when they were a little lower :(

Who Dare Wins

1130.8.2011 03:17

No natural resources are renewable, a myth that if we used up all the rocks this world has to offer and think that more will magically appear is amazing.

instead of using resources that can never be renewed. water, oil, rocks,natural metals. we should focus on manipulating those that can, generating new composite materials from such ventures.

EDIT: my point being why are drives still being manufactured using the same material they have been for the last 60 years.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 Aug 2011 @ 3:19

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1230.8.2011 12:17

Originally posted by DXR88:
...why are drives still being manufactured using the same material they have been for the last 60 years.
IMO... Because the monkeys from 60 years ago did it, wrapped all their wealth into the mines & got away with it. So the monkeys that come along behind them figure they can do the same thing, but bigger & better. Leaving a huge carbon footprint.

Greed & the inability to change. I figure, why have enough money to buy god (12 times over) if you're not going to spend it? Having $10 Billion in your wallet means shite if you're not going to use it. Not to mention the fact that gazillionairs have made the ACTUAL value of money so invaluable that a dollar figure being used as an indicator of success is lost.

"I've got $12 Billion!!!"... Okay, what did you do to earn it? Dig ditches, saved 100K lives with a new invention or sat on your ass & moved papers that screwed granny out of her life savings?

1330.8.2011 15:36

Originally posted by DXR88:

...why are drives still being manufactured using the same material they have been for the last 60 years
Well as a general point I can see what you mean but that's not entirely true.

When we have a will to impose safety & health standards then methods & materials are being renewed all the time, the banning of hazardous materials in electronics manufacture for instance.
The use of miniture photo-optical techniques in microprocessor production to name another.

But generally it is simply a fact of life that in our western 'liberal economic system' (the only kind of 'liberal' the right-wing loves these days) businesses have every incentive to maximise the return on current investment.
In fact it is a legal requirement with some corporate law.

Until we the people start to assert our will to change this through regulation & law nothing much will change.

.....and they won't give up quietly or easily, one only has to look at any number of instances of an established profitable industry fighting a rear-guard action.
From resisting environmental protection, to decent safety standards to human health (smoking) to global warming, those with the $ billions willl happily spend millions getting others to look after their interests (look at the Kock funded teabaggers)........and these guys know that local & central Gov is the only thing capable of stopping them, hence the on-going all-out assault on Gov.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 Aug 2011 @ 3:42

1430.8.2011 18:38

WD: scarce supply for rare earth elements ???
......those concerns have driven a new rare earths mining boom around the world.

17 Rare earth elements are not as "Rare" as they get a name for it.

Mongolia is the new leader.
What China Doesn't Want You to Know:

Rare earth elements are not exchange traded in the same way that precious metals or non-ferrous metals are. Instead they are sold on the private market, which makes their prices difficult to monitor and track.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 Aug 2011 @ 7:10

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

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