Time to buy Hard Drives

The COVID-19 pandemic is certain to disrupt global supply chains. There are some things which are easy to get now, but are likely to be hard to get in the near future. Anything that comes from overseas can fall into this category. If you’ve been putting off your purchase of hard drives, it’s a good time to make the purchase. (It’s not just hard drives, but, hey, this is a DAM blog.)

We’re about to learn a lot about how global supply chains work and what disruptions look like. The transformation over the last few decades has been truly remarkable as manufacturing and distribution chains seamlessly integrate elements from around the world. But we don’t have much experience with the chains breaking.

We’ve have had disruptions in the past, like the 2011 Thailand tsunami which flooded a WD manufacturing plant making 1/4 of the world’s hard drives. But we’re facing something different here. The potential for supply disruption is now global, and can include components that come from many different companies. Additionally, we’re likely to see some disruption in shipping infrastructure of both components and finished product.

Let me be clear: I’m not suggesting hoarding or panic buying. But I am suggesting that if you are on the cusp of needing any new hardware, (and are in a position to make a purchase now), you probably want to think about accelerating your decision a bit. My personal expectation is that it will take more than a year for normal manufacturing and supply chains to get back to normal.

If you’re looking for new drives, here are a couple options.

For externals, I like the G-Technology drives. Right now B&H is showing 14TB for $480 in USB 3.1 or USB C. (Those pages also link to 10TB for $300).

If budget is really tight, the WD product line has drives for a bit less: 10TB for $200, and 14TB for $279. (The $250 12TB is currently out of stock.)

And if you are looking for internal drives, you can get a Seagate Iron Wolf 8 TB for $220, 12TB for $370, and 14TB for $430.

Of course, it’s also possible that a global recession will reduce demand for all products so much that supply pipelines will remain full for a long time – or that prices may even deflate.

As for myself, I’m up to date on my storage purchases, so I don’t need to buy anything now. I have been stocking up on the parts that I use for camera scan rails with the expectations that these may be hard to get soon.

Good luck to everyone, and stay safe. Make use fo this time to catch up on your work backlog, and be as productive as practical.