When a company sells 2 billion of anything, there’s bound to be a good amount of competition that arises along the way. Unfortunately, with that much competition comes a fair number of casualties.
A few weeks ago we posted on the OWC Blog that hard drive manufacturer Seagate Technology recently shipped its 2 billionth hard disk drive. And now the folks at StorageNewsletter have posted a little historical snapshot of those who have challenged Seagate and the two other current HDD manufacturers – Toshiba and Western Digital – along the way.
Grimly dubbed the “HDD Graveyard”, StorageNewsletter lists all of those companies that have failed or discontinued production on HDDs since the technology’s introduction by IBM in 1956. Of the 220 companies that have entered production since that year, only the three mentioned above have survived. That leaves 217 that have failed or discontinued production. This list is worth checking out not only because it unearths some very notable names, but it also brings to light some interesting trivia from the history of the HDD.
Of course, the advent of Solid State Drives has played a big part in eliminating some of the need for HDDs, but it’s interesting to see the journey of their platter-based brethren. So take a stroll back in time and check out just how far the HDD has come.
As you may recall, Apple changed the hard drive upgrading game with the 2011 iMac.
Up until 2009, changing a drive was easy once you could get to it. A few screws here, a connector there and voila – you were good to go. And OWC had you covered for all your iMac DIY hard drive upgrades.
With the late 2009 iMacs, Apple introduced a different connector for each brand drive, but as long as you stayed within the same hard drive brand, then it was the same, once you got to it – it was easy-peasy to make the old switch-a-roo. And OWC had you covered for your iMac DIY hard drive upgrades.
Then came the 2010 iMacs and the ‘same for same’ caveat still applied, but the 27″ iMac model introduced an additional SATA drive connection on the motherboard and the OWC Turnkey Upgrade program was born. Send us your 27″ iMac and we’d add up to 3 SSDs or even an eSATA port. It was a little more difficult, so we started with a do-it-for-you service, then made it available as a DIY kit. And OWC had you covered for all your iMac DIY hard drive upgrades.
Lo and behold, the 2011 iMac changed the game again, no longer could you swap out the drive without failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT) and sending the fans into a tizzy. Soon after, we expanded the iMac Turnkey Program with our Do-it-for-you service on these machines as well. And, now, we’re happy to announce that we’ve crafted that solution into an elegant little DIY Kit. So, once again, OWC has you covered for all your iMac DIY hard drive upgrades. Article Continues…
We’ve finally got some positive news amongst the dire supply conditions brought on by the Thailand floods; Western Digital has resumed its hard drive production in Thailand.
According to a press release on the WD Web site, the company restarted production of hard drives in one of its buildings on November 30, one week ahead of schedule.
They have also removed all the the slider head equipment (a key component in drive manufacturing) for refurbishment. Head slider manufacturing is expected to restart some time in March. Other facilities are expected to be pumped dry within the next ten days or so, allowing refurbishment to commence there, as well.
While it’s a glimmer of hope, it should be noted that those slider heads are a significant component of hard drives, and that supplies are still low. WD estimates this quarter’s hard drive production will be around 120 million units (including inventoried supply at the beginning of the quarter) versus a demand of between 170 million and 180 million units.
So, hard drive supplies are still going to be short for a while, but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 | Author: OWC Larry
Three weeks ago, I thought the Thailand/hard drive situation was bad and had worst-case scenarios in consideration. A week later and the worst of the worst-case didn’t line up with what was becoming reality. It seems like there may be some improvement in drive supply by mid-December, but it’s still disastrous and supplies are not likely to return to previous “normal” levels for many months—possibly even as long as a year.
For those who haven’t been following our coverage of the problem, here it is in a nut shell.
First, Western Digital’s main production complex in Thailand (one that produces about 60% of WD’s output and roughly 18% of the overall world drive supply) was first inaccessible, then literally under water from the flooding. Adding to the problem, there are also many drive sub-component manufacturers also impacted by the flooding; the one most critical to the hard drive industry would be be Nidec. Article Continues…
The Mayans may have been wrong… We’ve got massive flooding in Thailand causing a world-wide hard drive shortage, asteroids are on the way, Internet Explorer is no longer on top of the web browser food-chain, dinosaurs will soon be roaming the earth while the Mac Pro goes extinct, people are talking to their phones now, the Mac platform is becoming more susceptible to viruses, there are dogs and cats, living together – it’s mass hysteria! Is November 2011 the end of what we know?
OWC Radio is a monthly, forum-based podcast focused on the events and happenings in the Mac community. This week’s hosts are: OWC Grant, OWC Chris S., and OWC Mike H.