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25 3.5in hard disk round-up: battle of the terabytes

SSDs are of course the hippest and fastest form of storage, but if you want lots of storage capacity without breaking the bank, you're still often relegated to the familiar realm of the hard disk. There's still some choice out there in this category, and prices are slowly creeping down. Hardware.Info tested and compared 25 hard disks ranging in capacity from 250GB to 4TB.

It's a question that keeps coming back, "when will hard disks become affordable again?" Hardware enthusiasts think back with longing to September 2011, when you could buy a 1TB hard disk for £30. Then the heavy floods took place in Thailand, where many hard disk factories were located at the time. Prices of hard disks tripled in a matter of weeks, which affected the entire computer industry.

Two years on, the prices have finally started to come down again, but it seems unlikely they will reach pre-flood levels again. A Western Digital Black 1TB costed about £60 in September 2011, and now the average price is £85. The most popular hard disk of last year, the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, back then costed £44, but now costs £57.

If you're planning to wait for prices to hit rock-bottom again, you had better hope that your current hard disk(s) will stay operational for a very long time. There are several reasons for why it will likely never happen. Hard disks were actually sold at a loss back then, in order to boost sales and keep production high. It was wonderful for consumers, but probably not very tenable for the manufacturing parties. It makes sense then, that the floods in Thailand were used to bring the market back into balance, and create more reasonable pricing for hard disks. You can read the rest of 25 3.5-inch hard disk round-up: battle of the terabytes on (opens in new tab).