Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Icy News: Thailand October Factory Output Collapses Due to Flooding

"BANGKOK, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Factory output in Thailand dropped a far worse-than-expected 35.8 percent in October from a year before due to severe flooding that shut seven big industrial estates, the Industry Ministry said on Monday, and some economists said that raised the chances of a deep interest rate cut this week.
A Reuters poll had forecast that factory output would fall 12.5 percent in October. In September, output slipped a revised 0.3 percent from a year earlier.
Compared with September, output in October plunged 38.9 percent..." - via
This little fact of the output says quite a bit about how the flood has affected operations in Thailand. Not to mention this, the jobs that were once there and of course, the recovery period. Do you expect the drop to be even more for November? Or perhaps this is the worst it can it? Let us know!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Icy News: With New Momentus XT 750GB, Seagate Continues to Believe in Hybrid HDD

"Seagate Technology LLC is shipping the second generation ofMomentus XT, its solid state hybrid drive for consumer and commercial laptops and the company's fastest drive ever for PCs.


With a drive upgrade, users can boost boot-up speed and overall performance to turbo-charge their laptop PC. Seven OEMs are gearing up to ship laptops powered by the Momentus XT drive. The drive is now available at online retailers Amazon, Canada Computers, CDW, Memory Express, NCIX, Newegg, and TigerDirect.

Powering the Momentus XT drive are Seagate's Adaptive Memory and FAST Factor technologies. Adaptive Memory technology works by identifying data usage patterns, and then moving the most frequently retrieved information to solid state memory for faster access. Adaptive Memory effectively tailors hard drive performance to each user and the applications they use. FAST Factor technology blends the strengths of SSDs and HDDs for faster access to applications, quicker bootup and higher overall system speed.

"Laptop users want faster access to all of their content, from gaming, music and video to spreadsheets and documents, creating strong demand for the highest performance," said Scott Horn, vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Seagate. "Seagate is excited to answer this need with a second-generation Momentus XT drive that delivers SSD speed, greater storage capacity and easy installation at an affordable price."

"High-speed storage devices make a difference when it comes to improving overall PC performance," said John Rydning, research vice president at IDC. "Seagate's newest Momentus XT drive gives notebook PC users an economical option for boosting PC performance while at the same time providing spacious storage capacity all in one device."
 (Source: Seagate)

Momentus XT For speed
The Momentus XT drive is nearly 70 percent faster than the prior Momentus drive version and up to three times faster than a traditional HDD while providing 750GB of storage capacity. The Momentus XT hard drive's SATA 6Gb/s interface and 8GB of SLC NAND flash double the interface and NAND read-write speed of the previous generation. The design of Momentus XT drive makes installation and upgrading simple and easy for any laptop or desktop computer and with any OS.

The Momentus XT drive is now shipping in volume worldwide.MSRP for Momentus XT 750GB is $245.

Tuning Momentus XT for Performance
The hard drive industry is transitioning from the current 512-byte sector standard to a newer Advanced Format 4K (4,096-byte) sector size that helps maintain data integrity at higher storage densities and capacities. Momentus XT takes advantage of this newer Advanced Format 4K standard and is already tuned for optimal performance on the latest PC OS.

Momentus XT customers can optimize Momentus XT to work with Windows XP and older versions of Microsoft Windows with simple steps." - via

Hybrid drives have been a popular alternative to the speedy SSD, with Seagate being one of the best manufacturer of hybrid drives. Seagates newer version of their Momentus drive is 70 percent faster then the previous version and 3 times faster than traditional HDDs. This is a great improvement from their previous model. Even with faster speeds and greater capacity do you think consumers will go with the hybrid route as opposed to SSDs? Let us know what you think about hybrid drives and if you would rather go with hybrid drives or SSDs. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Icy News: Kingston Says Lower NAND Prices Will Quicken Adoption of SSDs

"The high cost of flash has been a major obstacle for the mainstream implementation of SSDs in the market place. According to Kingston Technology, however, the use of SSDs are expected to expand significantly with falling NAND flash prices. The average price for 1GB of NAND flash memory is predicted to drop to $1 USD and will help trigger the replacement of HDDs with SSDs by late 2012, claims Nathan Su, flash memory sales director of Kingston APAC.
Su also stated that lower-per-GB costs will be another factor in prompting major flash chipmakers’ transition to 19nm and to other advanced manufacturing processes. The Thailand floods, a major factor in the current shortage of HDDs in the area, will also spur a demand for low-capacity and industry grade SDDs.
Since the beginning of 2011, Kingston has improved its SSD products to target entry-level and medium-range segments. The world’s independent memory leader changed its business focus to NAND flash-related products because of the shrinking demand of DRAM modules.
In addition, Su added that Kingston has developed a new line of products featuring portable external drives, which are intended to be used as accessories for consumer technology products including smartphones and tablets. Its new Wi-Drive product line, for example, offers pocket-sized portable storage and easy file-sharing for all Apple devices." -via storagereview
According to Kingston, the cost of NAND flash memory going down will help with sales. Will this price per 1GB drop be enough for the consumer that is currently on the fence? Let us know!

What Separates the ICY DOCK MB981U3-1SA From the Rest of the Docking Stations?

Click on comparison chart to enlarge. Click here for more product information.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Icy News: Arbitration Award of Half Billion Dollar Rendered vs. WD

"Western Digital Corp. reported that, on November 18, 2011, an arbitration award of $525 million was rendered against the company by a sole arbitrator in a pending confidential arbitration action in Minnesota." -via StorageNewsletter

With WD being fined for the amount seems bad at the time where their hard drive production will be lower for the coming months. With the company planning to challenge the result, it could lead to more issues as they go into drought with HDD's. Will WD stock drop further because of this? Or perhaps have no influence?  Let us know what you think about this!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Icy News: Corsair Expands 6Gb SATA Support With Performance Pro SSDs

"$530 for 256GB, with Marvell controller
Corsair Memory, Inc. announced the 2.5-inch Performance Pro Series SSDs.


The Performance Pro Series, designed with the Marvell SATA 6 Gb/s SSD controller, delivers an ATTO Max performance of up to 515MB/s sequential read and 440 MB/s sequential write, and can sustain similar performance when reading and writing compressed and non-compressible data, such as audio, images, and video files.

Additionally, the Performance Pro Series has built-in background garbage collection to allow for consistently performance even with operating systems that do not support the TRIM command. This integral performance optimization makes Performance Pro SSDs a solution for RAID configurations, which typically do not support TRIM.

Performance Pro SSDs provide fast SATA III connectivity that pushes the limits of the new SATA III 6Gb/s interface. They are also backward compatible with SATA 2 3GB/s, and include an 3.5" adapter for installation in both laptop and desktop PCs.

"We are pleased to provide a fast SATA 3 SSD that's designed specifically for real-world performance," said Thi La, Vice President of Memory Products at Corsair. "High-performance PC users work heavily with media files, and unlike some other SSDs, the Performance Pro can save, load and move music, photos and movies without significantly reduced performance. It offers consistent, reliable speed regardless of whether you're running Windows, OS X or Linux, and whether you’re using a single drive or a RAID configuration."

The Performance Pro Series SSDs are backed by a three-year warranty and are available in 128GB and 256GBconfigurations from authorized distributors and retailers worldwide." -via 

Corsair has always been one of the top manufacturers in memory devices, and they are showing it in their new SSD. The new SSD has a unique built in garbage collector that is not found in many SSDs. The SSD is super fast with 515MB/s read and 440 MB/s write using the SATA 6 Gb/s interface. Let us know what you think about Corsairs new SSD. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Icy News: Kingston Targets Consumers With SSDNow V200

"Kingston Digital, Inc., the flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., announced the next generation of its entry-level, budget SSDNow V200 Series.

The SSDNow V200 helps consumers revive their current PC and extend the life of their investment. The SSDNow V200 brings value and performance to consumers who are looking for an inexpensive upgrade option to boost their computer..." - via StorageNewsletter

Kingston providing a refresh for their SSDnow line, most noteably, the better performance and 20% less in price is the result of technology moving quickly. Another feature is the SATA III support, which allows it to be updated with the newest SATA standard. They have really made this for the consumer with the bundle kits, providing DVD cloning and a how to guide. The price for the performance is good, but will these refreshes convince you to purchase/upgrade from your current system?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Icy News: Intel Shows Knights Corner Processor

"Intel has stated that it will deliver the most efficient and programming-friendly platform for highly parallel applications. At a private briefing at SC11, Intel discussed the benefits of the Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture in weather modeling, tomography, proteins folding and advanced materials simulation. The ahah moment occurred with they broke out a sample of the Knights Corner processor, the first commercial Intel MIC architecture product..." - via Storage Review
The 1TFLOP performance on a single chip is outstanding, with the new IMC architecture being a more efficient method for computing purposes. The main benefit of this is the parallel processing without porting to a new programming environment. Will consumer processors be able to reach this type of performance within the next 5-10 years? Let us know what you think about this! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Icy News: Prices of HDDs Already Tripling for SATA 3.5-Inch Units

"Doubling for SATA 2.5-inch disk drives tracks historical price of many products including HDDs.

To evaluate the consequences of the Thailand's floods on the HDD prices, we have selected three examples of popular capacity internal units.

1/ 1TB, 3.5-inch, 7,200rpm, 3Gb SATA,
Samsung Spinpoint F3:
Price has more than tripled.
Lowest price: $49.99 on August 25, 2011
Current price: $159.99 on November 10, 2011

2/ 1TB, 2.5-inch, 5,200rpm, 3Gb SATA,
WD Scorpio Blue:
Price has more than doubled.
Lowest price: $99.99 on July 30, 2011
Current price: $229.99 on November 03, 2011

3/ 300GB, 3.5-inch, 15,000rpm, 6Gb SAS,
Seagate Cheetah 15K.7:
Up only 66%, probably because enterprise drives are not manufactured in Thailand
Lowest price: $209.99 on August 26, 2011
Current price: $349.99 on October 27, 2011

Per comparison, here is the evolution of the price of a popular internal SSD:
120GB, 2.5-inch, MLC, 3Gb SATA,
Intel 320:
Highest price was $239.99 in June 2011, now 20% cheaper at $190.99. The 300GB Intel 320 SSD costs now $539,99 or only 54% more than the 300GB 15,000rpm Cheetah HDD. "

This really shows how much the flood in Thailand has affected the hard drive market. All of the HDD graphs have a huge spike in price since the flood. What is interesting is that the enterprise HDD market has only increased a minimal amount. This is due to the location of the manufacturing of the enterprise drives. The SSD market seems to be unaffected by the flood and is continuing its steady decline in price. It will be interesting to see where the SSDs market will be in terms of sales by the end of the HDD crisis. Will it have a dramatic increase? Let us know how you feel about these results. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Icy News: HDD Industry Will Run Close to Normal Only in Second Half of 2012

"Due to flooding in Thailand, predicts IDC
Widespread flooding is bringing unprecedented devastation to the people and economy of Thailand. With operations disrupted at more than a dozen HDD factories, damage to the HDD industry is significant.

And this will have a direct impact on worldwide PC shipments through the first half of 2012, according to a new International Data Corporation report.

In the first half of 2011, Thailand accounted for 40-45% of worldwide HDD production. As of early November, nearly half of this capacity was directly impacted by the flooding. In addition to assembly and component facilities being inundated with water, the industry faces work stoppages due to poor access and power outages. The full extent of the damage to HDD industry factories will not be known until the floodwaters recede, although it's already clear that there will be HDD supply shortages into the first quarter of 2012.

The severity of HDD shortages in the coming months largely depends on the industry's ability to recover lost production capacity in Thailand. While IDC believes HDD industry participants will recover and restore HDD production capacity relatively quickly, HDD supply will remain constrained for an extended period of time.

As a result, PC vendors should plan
for and expect the following:

  • Significant HDD shortages by mid-November 2011 that will continue into 1Q 2012.
  • A large part of PC production for Q4 2011 shipment has already taken place or can be completed with existing HDD inventories, limiting the impact on Q4 PC shipments to less than 10%. But in a worst-case scenario, total PC shipments could be depressed by more than 20% in Q1 2012 vs. previous forecasts as a result of the HDD shortage.
  • Higher HDD prices as demand exceeds supply and manufacturers face increased costs for components, expedited shipments, and shifting of production to new locations.
  • The HDD industry begins to recover in 1Q 2012, and HDD pricing stabilizes by June, with the industry running close to normal in the second half of 2012.
  • Opportunities for larger PC vendors to capture enterprise accounts from smaller competitors and accelerate industry consolidation, particularly in faster growth markets.
"In response to the crisis, priority will be given to the large PC manufacturers that drive HDD shipment volumes as well as to the high-margin products used in enterprise servers and storage," said John Rydning, research vice president, Hard Disk Drives and Semiconductors. "But the HDD vendors can't neglect their smaller customers, whose business will continue to be important once capacity is fully restored. Some interesting production and partnering arrangements with customers can be expected as HDD vendors scramble to bring production back up while simultaneously angling for a strategic advantage."

"The HDD shortage will affect smaller PC vendors and lower priced products most, including mininotebooks (aka netbooks), emerging markets and entry-level consumer PCs. However, even the largest vendors are expected to face HDD shortages, particularly for portable PCs where the market is more consolidated," added Loren Loverde, program vice president, IDC Worldwide Consumer Device Trackers. "Nevertheless, the shortage will relieve some pressure on pricing and margins, and present some opportunities for strategic share gains among the larger players."

The IDC study, The PC Market Is Disrupted By HDD Shortages: The Severity, Resulting Opportunities, And Expected PC Market Reactions (forthcoming), assesses the impact of hard disk drive shortages caused by widespread flooding in Thailand on the PC market in calendar Q4 2011 and the first half of 2012. Assumptions about the recovery period for the HDD industry, as well as the timing for restoration of HDD inventories are factored into determining the impact on the PC market. Expectations for HDD pricing over this period are also addressed." - via

The flood  in Thailand is really affecting the PC HDD market. Now the expected time for things to be back to normal is not until June. With the HDD market at an all time high will SSDs have their chance to take over a larger portion of the market? Or do you think that consumers will just hold off on buying HDDs till the prices come back down? Let us know what you think about the flood and the current HDD prices.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Icy News: PC Makers, Microsoft May Be Hurt as Floods Crimp Sales, IDC Says

"Hewlett-Packard Co., Lenovo Group Ltd., Dell Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are among companies that may be hurt this quarter and in 2012 as flooding in Thailand strains personal-computer supplies and raises prices, IDC said.
PC shipments will decline between 2.2 percent and 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, down from a prior forecast for 5.1 percent growth, IDC said today in a report. In the first quarter, shipments may drop by 1.8 percent to 13.4 percent. IDC had projected a gain of 8.2 percent..." - via Bussinessweek
The news is out that the hard drive market will take a plunge for OEM, resellers and end users. This is unfortunate as the holiday season is coming up and is unclear how long it will really take for end users to see decreased prices. Once the flooding has been sorted out, the production will go first to OEM, followed by resellers and end users. Anything that uses hard drives will most likely take a hit from the disaster, but notice Seagate plants seems to be not flooded but their supply chain has. If you look at the prices for hard drives, externals seem to be about the same or lower price in comparison to bare hard drives. Yesterday, we posted similar news which focused on India's demand, but event really caused a world wide change in the market. What do you think about this?  Let us know!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Icy News: HDD Prices More Than Double in Two Weeks in India

"To read this article from Moneylife, click on: 
Hard disk prices more than double in two weeks due to flood in Thailand
A 1TB HDD that used to cost less than Rs3000 before Diwali is now selling for Rs5700 and more. Consumers, especially those who want to buy or upgrade computer and laptop in India have been shocked to discover that floods in Thailand have caused HDD prices to skyrocket. Disks that were ranging from Rs1,200 to Rs3,000 for 250GB to 1TB have almost doubled to Rs3,000 to Rs6,000 within past 10 to 15 days." - via Storage Newsletter

We had talked about this earlier last month about the flood in Thailand, and now, we see the result of what has occurred. What you all think about this? As hard drives pricing more than double, it will be difficult to sell for the upcoming black friday and following holiday season. Will you purchase more hard drives even at this price? Let us know.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Icy News: Hardware and Software Caching Explained

"With the price of platter based hard drives as low as they are (under normal conditions) and the price of solid state drives still relatively high, the concept of hybrid storage solutions; combining the low price of platter based storage with the speed of solid state drives, will become increasingly common. We are going to break down two different approaches for a hybrid storage setup; hardware-based and software-based implementations..." - via Storage Review

SR (Storage Review) has a nice article, going over some of the available software and hardware caching options. Some of the more common solutions to end users are the Momentus XT OCZ synapse and Intel RST. We talked about SSD caching being a trend in the upcoming years and so far, everything has come true. We think about this and say, 'would this be the best solution to the storage wall with either SSD or HDD?' We have to rethink about how a hard drive should look like, especially with SSD's. On SR's article, they mention two of the more intense solutions, which both use PCI express interfacing. This improves the connection and performance dramatically. 

Here at Icy Dock, we also have our solution to SSD caching, which is not to use it. At this time, the technology is still expensive and can be a hassle. Our MB882HX-1SB uses a RAID implementation to not cache, but to have two separate partitions (Hybrid and HDD). 

Check out our ICY TIP about this:

So let us know what you think about this. This is interesting as the trend may keep going this way or perhaps go a different direction!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Icy News: Seagate Kills Off Green Hard Drives, Plans to Launch Barracuda Hybrid Hard Drive

"As part of today's announcement of 1TB hard drive platters shipping in the 3TB Barracuda XT, Seagate also released news that they'll cease production of their line of Green hard drives. Seagate also will be migrating the Barracuda XT line to a new Barracuda Hybrid line of hard drives, implementing the caching technology seen in their wildly popular notebook hybrid hard drive, the Momentus XT
Seagate says the move to drop the green drives comes in response to demand largely from OEM customers. OEMs and channel customers want to reduce overhead costs by having fewer products to qualify and manage inventory for. Seagate went on to say that end users want big capacities and big performance, reducing the need for low-power desktop drives. Production of Seagate's Barracuda Green will end in February. 
Moving the Barracuda XT to a hybrid hard drive solution is less of a surprise. Seagate's performance line of drives stands to benefit from the knowledge gained from shipping over a million Momentus XT hybrid drives. Seagate did not release any details around the desktop hybrid solution, however in a prior news release, they indicated the Momentus XT 2 would be released this year. It stands to reason that a Barracuda XT Hybrid could also see release before the end of this year." - via Storage Review
Seagate discontinuing their Green hard drive line seems to be a good move, as they go towards the hybrid technology seen with the Momentus XT hybrid drive. Yesterday, we talked about caching technology being what is next for the storage industry and Seagate is one example that is moving towards this trend. What you you think about this? What would be the benefits and disadvantages for moving towards caching technology? Let us know!