All of you who are building computers, or wanting to buy a harddrive, have noticed that prices have gone up and stock is anything by impressive. If you really need a harddrive you might want to buy one today, the situation is just expected to get worse and worse.

No one can have missed that the prices of harddrives have skyrocketed and retailers are not getting proper information on the volumes to expect. It all started with the flood in Thailand that disabled Western Digital and gravely affected other actors since important component makers had to close.

Analysts Gus Richard at Piper Jaffray coommented on this and says that no one seems to take the problem seriously. Many manufacturers and analysts overreacted to the situation in Japan, and says that they are instead underplaying the problems in Thailand. He says that it looks like harddrive could be running out by the end of November, before new productions are ready.

During the fourth quarter, the current quarter, the demand is 180 million harddrive, but only 100 to 120 million will be shipped. This can get serious consequences where it ships in total 5 to 10 million less computers this quarter. At the same time OEM partners are prioritized, and retails gets the leftover scraps.

”Given the supply disruption demand will significantly outstrip supply at least for the December 2011 quarter, and will likely continue for multiple quarters,”

This will result in a domino effect for the first quarter 2012 when demand is expected to be 210 – 230 million, and the shortage somwhere between 60 to 80 million. This is where the shortage is expected to culminate and the poor demand with high prices can hurt PC sales with 10 to 20 million units.

Digitimes reports that the supply could improve as the manufacturer of engine wheels – Nidec has started production again. Richard disagree and says that it is the levers that is the biggest shortage since the lood in Thailand. One thing all agree on is that the effects of this will span over several quarters. If you are hunting for a harddrive and waiting for lower prices it may take a while before anything happens.

You may need to reconsider if you really need the extra storage considering today’s prices, because they are not exepected to improve, on the contrary. Perhaps it is time to start looking at an SSD instead?

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