Got 20 Cents? Here's Your Gigabyte

According to market research firm iSuppli, the ferocious competition between various hard disk manufacturers is driving the cost of storing your precious ones and zeros down. Way down.

Average pricing of notebook hard drives tumbled, falling to $53 in the third quarter of 2007, from $86 in the same period during the previous year, according to the survey by the El Segundo, Calif.-based market research firm. Desktop hard drive prices fell to $51 in the third quarter of 2007, compared to $52.75 the previous year.

Overall, about 134 million hard drives shipped in the third quarter of 2007, compared to 114 million the same period a year earlier, a 21% year-on-year increase, iSuppli found.

Prices also dropped as a result of intense competition among six hard drive vendors: Seagate Technology LLC, Western Digital Corp., Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc., Toshiba Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co., said Krishna Chander, an analyst at iSuppli.

The numbers aren't completely straightforward. The average price for a desktop hard drive hasn't dropped; manufacturers have kept prices stable while greatly expanding the capacity of the disk. The actual cost per drive for notebook computers has fallen overall. Solid state drives are always a worry for disk manufacturers, but for now, they're too expensive to compete on a large scale at 7 to 10 dollars per gigabyte. Because if you've got 20 or 30 cents, you've got enough for a hard disk gigabyte. Unless you left your wallet in El Segundo. 
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