Hard drive price roundup

Is mechanical storage still expensive two years after the Thailand floods?

April 26, 2013

In this article we will be looking at hard drive prices from various online retailers. Is it still expensive to buy into old mechanical storage?

Hard drives used to be a relatively cheap component of the PC in previous years, and prices fell to an all-time low of R0.50 per gigabyte before heavy floods in Thailand stalled production at Seagate, Samsung and Hitachi’s plants in July 2011. In the wake of the devastation, prices were increased by all the major brands to compensate for their losses. In addition, both Western Digital and Seagate dropped their three-year warranties to two years in order to aid cash flow.

The Japan earthquakes earlier that year in March 2011 also served to increase prices for various components temporarily, although hard drive manufacturer Hitachi had to boost prices for its products as well, which severely affected the server market. In recent months prices have calmed down quite a bit and we can find 1TB drives today for under R800. Does the low pricing extend to most local retailers, or just some? We took some time to find out for you.

At the time of writing, pricing was sourced from Rebeltech, Wootware, Ikonix, Titan-Ice and Takealot. The table below covers 3.5-inch desktop drives only. The cheapest option is in bold text.

Drive type
Rebeltech Wootware Ikonix Titan-Ice Takealot
Western Digital 500GB Blue
688 729 673
Seagate Barracuda 500GB
642 678 663.37 619 673
Western Digital 1TB Blue
764 806 788.77 799 806
Western Digital 1TB Green 744 786 768.70 775 778
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 788 799 813.85 795 798
Western Digital 2TB Green 1064 1103 1085.96 1199 1134
Seagate Barracuda 2TB 1128 1099 1164.97 1169 1141
Western Digital 3TB Green 1482 1510 1524.86 1549 1599
Western Digital 3TB Red 1672 1703 1729
Seagate Barracuda 3TB 1648 1539 1701.68 1590 1613
Seagate Barracuda 3TB SV 1770 1703 1829 2010

With pricing the way it is now, it’s not worth it to stump up for a 250GB hard drive. 500GB drives are readily available at low pricing levels and on average you’ll be paying R670, which is close to R1.34 per GB. Across the board, it looks like Rebeltech is the cheapest for consumer-level drives and Seagate gets the most attention in the lower brackets.

Scaling up to 1TB and 2TB, average prices are around R787.30 for the 1TB drives and R1,128.80 for the 2TB drives. That equates to per-GB pricing of R0.78 and R0.56 respectively, which is very impressive. If you’re looking for a well-priced storage drive, it would be well worth your while to look at a 2TB drive.

However, as the size of the drive scales up, you need to look at the RAID versions instead because of their reliability and longer warranty period. Western Digital makes the “Red” drives and Seagate competes with a similar product which puts the letters “SV” to the beginning of the model number. Both drive families are geared towards RAID arrays for consumers and small businesses who like to build their own stuff and they have their own firmware optimisations with regards to how data is kept safe.

The 3TB families are pretty well priced and you’re still paying an average of R0.52 per gigabyte, which is very close to the pricing before the floods. Going above this is to the 4TB drives is a little  more expensive. Those cost n average R2,500 and the price per GB, especially if you’re just using it for storage, isn’t worth it. You could get two 3TB drives for roughly R500 more and still be lower in terms of per-GB pricing.

More Hardware news:

Best ITX chassis available in SA

AMD Radeon HD7990 reviews go live

Planning for the PC component upgrade bug: part 2

Tags: 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 500GB, hard drive, headline, Samsung hard drive, Western Digital drive

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