The increasing global shortage on hard drives from the Thailand floods is causing PC vendors who are searching for HDDs to look into gray markets, which is in turn causing hikes in gray market prices from US$45 to over US$100 for a 500GB HDD and from US$35 to US$60-70 for a 320GB model, according to Taiwan-based PC supply chain makers.
Because the HDD industry's future is unknown, vendors are looking anywhere they can to source drives to fill their inventory. DigiTimes source claims that brand vendors are going into a "panic" to fill their HDD inventory. Most have reportedly placed orders to HDD makers with combined volume already double or triple their usual demand, but since HDD makers can only reply that they have no more inventory, or cannot provide supply status, it leaves vendors with one choice: the gray market.
Another issue is Japan-based HDD motor supplier Nidec has had close to 2,000 sets of equipment damaged by the floods which may take more than two years to fully recover. The same sources claim that Nidec are currently seeking equipment from related industry players, but the claims have not been confirmed by Nidec. Sources claim that once this machinery is submerged in water, the machines require a total replacement.
Typically, earthquakes tend to be less disastrous as equipment only needs to be reset before resuming operations, but a wave of water? Not so good.