fourth quarter of 2011 has some six weeks left in it and after that we are starting a new, and hopefully more eventful year. In early 2012 we expect to see the Thailand floods and resulting HDD shortage gone, new 28nm graphics and mobile chips are on the way, a slew of Android 4.0 products are in the works, along with Ivy Bridge and a whole lot of other goodies.
However, all is not well in the tech world. Graphics card manufacturers really like Battlefiled 3, Call of Duty 3, Modern Warfare 3 and the soon to come (Nov 25th) Batman: Arkham City. They claim that these titles boosted PC graphics card sales a lot, but at the same time both AMD and Nvidia partners are disappointed that 28nm graphics only come in early 2012 and not in time for the holiday season as expected a few months ago.
Graphics card makers tell us that the HDD shortage has already upset the rest of the upgrade market, and they expect to be affected by it, at least slightly. Most PC DIY guys who waited to upgrade their machines tend to swap hard drives quite often, but once again, since 28nm graphics are delayed, a lot of them are now stuck waiting for new Radeon HD 7000 and Geforce 600 series to do the final upgrade.
In its fiscal Q3 2012 conference call Nvidia said that it doesn’t expect Thailand flood to affect results in Q4 of Q1 2012. Big manufactures might have enough of HDD drives, as they tend to buy a bunch of them in advance, to prevent shortages and get better prices. However, the retail/upgrade market is another story altogether. In the end quite a few consumers will be forced to hold off their upgrades until hard drives get a bit cheaper. Mind you, we are talking about enthusiasts and many of them are in the market for very large hard drives, even a couple of drives for RAID setups.
Again, the HDD will really do well for SSD manufacturers as many power users will buy their first SSD drive now, considering that $120 or €120 roughly gets you a speedy 120 GB SSD. Once consumers feel the performance boost, consumers will probably buy a 2TB or 3TB hard drive for storage and rely on their new SSD as the primary system drive. Yes, SSD’s are that much better, but it is one of those “you have to see it to believe it” things. So while hard drive makers are struggling to restore output to pre-flood levels and meet demand, the disaster might play into the hands of SSD makers by practically forcing quite a few people to try out SSDs. Trust us, they won’t got back to mechanical drives once they do.Also read Thai floods to hurt PC sales in Q1 2012