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A year after the Thailand flooding disaster partially derailed production, the global hard disk drive (HDD) industry has fully recovered, with shipments to the computer market expected to hit a record level this year, driven by the enterprise market as well as the arrival of the Windows 8 operating system, even despite of recent drop of demand for consumer HDDs.

Record HDD Shipments Despite Slow PC Sales

HDD shipments in 2012 for the overall computer market, including PCs, are forecast to reach 524.0 million units, up 4.3% from 502.5 million units last year, according to IHS iSuppli market research firm. Still, in contrast to the glowing performance of HDDs in general, annual HDD consumer-related shipments will decline this year from 2011 levels. The 2012 number will be the highest shipment figure on record in the HDD books at year-end. HDD shipments are projected to climb continually until at least 2016. By then, HDD shipments will hit 575.1 million units.

The forecast includes HDD shipments only to the PC compute segment, which includes client HDDs for desktops and notebooks as well as enterprise HDDs for servers and storage systems. The forecast does not include HDD shipments for other applications such as in automotive, external hard drives or DVR devices.

“HDD shipments for computers will overcome a sluggish third quarter to reach record levels in 2012. The yearly rise in HDD shipments is the result of greater demand from the consumer and enterprise PC segments, both of which continue to clamor for disk space in order to hold storage-intensive media like music, videos and other forms of social media content. As downloadable media content becomes more readily accessible and affordable, so will the quest for storage space continue in order to satisfy unremitting demand. Meanwhile, the HDD industry has completely resolved disruptions to its HDD manufacturing and component supply caused by the Thailand disaster that struck one year ago,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS.

Windows 8 to the Rescue

Another major growth driver for the HDD industry will be the new Microsoft Windows 8 operating system to be launched in October. The market also will be boosted by ultrabooks, including those using hybrid HDD/SDD storage solutions, which will see an increase in shipments in the fourth quarter, although volumes will be relatively low this year.

Both factors are believed to be the best hope by the beleaguered PC sector to take on smartphones and tablets, the devices that have gobbled up the once-flourishing market of mobile computers like notebooks and netbooks. Through the revival of the PC sector, the HDD space - especially the enterprise HDD market - also stands to reap benefits by supplying the storage media for computers.

Such encouraging developments overall will help deliver a growth year while compensating for a weak third quarter, blamed by HDD players on persistent economic problems around the globe and the erosion of the PC market by smartphones and tablets.

Tags: HDD, Business, Seagate, Western Digital, WD, Toshiba

Discussion

Comments currently: 4
Discussion started: 09/28/12 04:27:33 PM
Latest comment: 12/12/12 08:52:54 PM
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An OS alone has nothing to do with increasing sales of hard drives. I can't think of any person who actually buys a dedicated hard drive for every new operating system, let alone buying an entirely new computer. In fact, most people are discouraged from buying Windows 8, there are plenty of polls showing businesses are not interested in the shift, and will remain with Windows 7. The benefits of Windows 8 is not worth the disadvantages it presents. Having tried it out myself, there is a large degree of disadvantages on many scales, yet it does nothing that Windows 7 couldn't already do well. Increased demand for hard drives is due to increased demand in data, and increased modernization of the world. Society has a long ways to go before you will see a decline in PC market or hard drive sales. Even typical consumers are now shifting to storing everything onto hard drives. Their entire movie, music, and photo collections.
0 0 [Posted by: mmstick  | Date: 09/28/12 04:27:33 PM]
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For every Windows release, the amount of data that is required to store is more for each release. A new hard drive might be required if adding the necessary applications after installing the OS. Windows XP requires at least 8 gigabytes of space to install it self and necessary applications like Office. Vista and Windows 7 requires at least 32 gigabytes. You could get by with 16 gigabytes with Vista or Windows 7.

Using separate hard drives is easier to multi-boot compared to using one drive. I have multi-boot with Linux and Windows using separate hard drives, so it is easier than using one hard drive. Microsoft makes it harder to use their boot loader that comes with Vista or Windows 7 with Linux and probably with previous versions of Windows. Using the BIOS to select one of multiple hard drives to boot from is easier than messing around with boot loaders and boot loaders that require some kind of layering.

Consumers are now shifting to use hard drives to store videos, music, and photos...really did you live under a rock for the past 12 years. They are doing this since the start of the millennium. I have been doing this since 2000.
0 0 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 09/29/12 11:07:29 PM]
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2. 
This is one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated on the public. Floods in Thailand causes shortages of critical parts and therefore sends up the price of hard drives. What shortages? Where are these shortages...in what part of the world? Has anyone had trouble getting Hard Drives? They just wanted an excuse to make more money so they used the floods as an excuse. Corporate greed at its finest.
0 0 [Posted by: FTL  | Date: 10/02/12 06:35:18 AM]
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3. 
I wonder if this data is still true going forward, as the HDD market is still seemed slow during this period.
0 0 [Posted by: kng_wm64  | Date: 12/12/12 08:52:54 PM]
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