A forum member recently saw a deal for a new 4TB external drive priced at only $99.99. That does not include the 2% ebay bucks cash back one can get from purchasing through ebay. In comparison, other inexpensive external 4TB drives run around $130 while internal drives cost approximately $145 with today’s pricing.
For many, the potential risk of losing warranty in exchange for lower hard drive prices is worth it. Hard drives fail generally in the 1-5% per year range. With 30-45% discounts, it is easy to see how taking drives out of their external enclosure and using them as internal drives can save significant amounts of money over years. This only happens when the no-warranty drives are significantly less expensive.
Years ago we looked at the economics of purchasing low cost external drives in our piece: Internal or External Hard Drives: Are Warranties Worth the Cost? and found that there are certainly economics that make pulling drives from external enclosures, voiding warranties can be a prudent decision.
Indeed, Backblaze had a series about “shucking” drives after the Thailand flooding took hard drive supply to the brink. They famously filled their storage pods with drives they had to buy in small quantities. “Shucking” was their name for prying hard drives from external enclosures, much as one “shucks” corn from its fiberous encasement.
There are a few other forces at work here. First Samsung’s hard drive division was purchased by Seagate at the same time Western Digital was in the process of purchasing Hitachi. There is likely a limited amount of time that Seagate will keep the Samsung brand alive. Second, we have 6TB drives today and 8TB drives are coming soon. That means these drives will be at capacities around half of what high-end drives will be in the near future. Generally prices of the lower capacity drives are reduced as hard drive manufacturers know there is a cost to connect a drive and run a drive. Those costs make consolidation into fewer high capacity drives more attractive and make it less attractive to use smaller drives.
Overall, we do expect to see prices fall over the next few months as 8TB drives are released in higher quantities and as we move into the 2014 holiday buying season.
You can find the $99 offer here.
Check out the forums as we do have some members finding awesome deals recently and those members are sharing with the community.