31 Jul 2008

The Price/Capacity Sweet Spot

I spent a little time earlier this evening looking at hard drive prices. Since I’m a spreadsheet junkie, ‘comparison shopping’ tends to involve a lot of copying and pasting into Excel or Google Spreadsheet. This was no exception, and the results clearly showed a price-per-GB “sweet spot” in the 750GB drives.

Although we’d expect drives to get cheaper, in terms of capacity per dollar, over time (that’s what all those engineers at Seagate and Hitachi are paid to do, after all), it’s almost always been the case that the cheapest storage trails the technological bleeding edge by a certain amount. Principally I think this is due to the drive manufacturers overpricing the newest drives compared to older ones, in order to squeeze the early adopters for all they’re worth.

Right now, 1TB drives are selling at a slight per-GB premium compared to 750 and 500 GB models; it’s not until you get down into 320 and 250 GB drives that the per-GB price starts to creep back up above them. Hence, if you’re not desperate for the full terabyte today, it’s better to buy a slightly smaller drive and wait a few months for prices to drop some more.

Anyone interested in the actual data can view it either via Google Docs, or as CSV. (The Google Docs is preferable unless you have a burning desire to load it into Excel and do an X/Y plot.)

Google Docs Link
August 2008 Hard Drive Prices - 1kB Comma-Separated ASCII text (CSV)

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