Has disk drive progress stalled?

Magnetic disk drives were supposed to get more capacious, on a per-platter basis, at a steady “Kryder rate” (40 percent per year).

Now that it is time to get a monster hard disk drive to run Windows File History and try to recover from the CrashPlan debacle, I’m trying to figure out what progress has been made since April 2015 when I purchased a 6 TB hard drive for $270. If capacity had grown at 40 percent per year, with the same number of platters and roughly the same cost, this should be a 16 TB drive for $270. One can purchase a 16 TB drive from Amazon, but it costs $580 and some of the extra capacity comes from extra platters (9 versus 5 for the WD60EFRX that I bought in 2015).

If you want to spend $270 on a 5400 RPM drive, you get 10 TB, not a huge increment over 6 TB after more than four years.

Have all of the brightest minds in storage moved to work on SSD?

6 thoughts on “Has disk drive progress stalled?

  1. Got a USB backup drive for 1/2 the price of a standalone drive last year. Voided the warranty & used it as a SATA drive without any problems. The rising prices may be increasing service costs as the knowledge of installing standalone hard drives has left the population.

  2. The Wikipedia page you linked to cites a platter density growth rate of 15% per year for 2009 to 2014, not 40% per year: “The Kryder rate over the five years ending in 2014 was around 15% per year.”

    Buying the highest capacity drive does not get you the best price per TB; that was true in 2015 and remains true today. In April of 2015, I bought a 4 TB external drive for $119 from Amazon. The current offering at $115 is a 6 TB drive, and interestingly that’s still the sweet spot for lowest price per TB, although $154 for 8 TB is very close. The price ratio at the sweet spot appears to have dropped an average of about 11% per year.

    As the previous poster observes, external drives are substantially cheaper than internal drives, and the best prices for internal drives are obtained by shucking external drives and using the WD red or equivalent drive found inside.

    • our industry and the cloud world may be exceptions to your view.
      we both acquire use and discard old vs new HDD continually…
      increases in capacities are very welcome…

  3. I just got a second 8TB Easystore from BB for $140. These are external drives. That was a deal, I guess, price is back up to $200. For $210 you can get the 10TB (on sale). They changes prices on these drives quite often, putting them on and taking them off promo. USB 3.0 and good quality. Fits in a safe deposit box! Hopefully the “memory glut” continues and SSDs become as cheap as magnetic drives.

  4. Backing up can get tricky when you are using sd cards and usb keychain drives, not to mention external drives or even arrays of disks when dealing with large files or databases.

    Your keychain usb or phone sd card might contain more important data than anything else, and yet end up getting backed up the least, because of inconvenience.

    A wireless set-up for backing up is great for convenience’s sake.

    Online backup is supposed to be good for mobile devices, but I would not trust the integrity of ‘the cloud’.

    I do not know of any catch-all back-up solution for modern data storage diversity, but I haven’t looked too hard.

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