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Consumers benefit again

According to reports, we may witness a price war in the hard drive business industry. At least this is what Seagate Technology CEO Bill Watkins said on Wednesday. Seagate is currently the world's largest hard drive manufacturer and competes with such companies as Western Digital, Hitachi, Samsung and Toshiba. According to Watkins "If pricing doesn't drop for us, it'll be an upside." Seagate is expecting stiff price cutting from its competitors through into 2007.

Seagate believes that despite the aggressive price cutting from competitors, the only gains they are receiving are minor. Watkins indicated that "[our competitors] are getting volume units and share, but it's lousy share." Watkins said that Seagate gains more share because of product quality, reliability and support rather than heavy price cutting. Watkins also noted that Seagate's competitors are cutting prices so much, it erodes into the profitability of its competitors.

Seagate acquired its largest competitor, Maxtor, earlier this year and announced that it would cut the company in half. Seagate mentioned that despite the job cuts, it would keep many of Maxtor's enterprise level product lines and services. Seagate also made several announcements of its own so far this year, including a 300GB, 15,000 RPM, perpendicular Cheetah and 1TB NAS products under the Maxtor brand name.

At the moment, Seagate is one of the few companies that are not under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is currently investigating more than 80 companies for stock-option manipulations and back-dating practices that give huge financial gains to executive level employees. Watkins indicated that he was confident about his company's business practices, saying "we have a very rigorous stock-option grant program. It's such a rigorous process. We feel confident."



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Reliability
By Ardan on 8/14/2006 2:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
How do you people manage to blow up your hard drives after a year and a half or more? Is it just bad luck, or what? When lightning struck my house last year (the 2nd time in 5 years), it totally fried most components. In the two desktop machines we built, the insides of the cases smelled like one great big electrical arc happened and everything was dead. You know what component survived? The Seagate HDs in both.....and the Western Digital in one of the machines, the two 80GB Hitachi Deskstar SATA drives in this one and the two Maxtor drives in the other machine (which was 10ft away from the lightning).

Since I saw my first PC in 1991 or 1992 (I'm 23), not one hard drive has failed us. In fact, I have a Maxtor 40GB drive for linux I have to put back in my PC today and that drive has been just as consistent as every other hard drive we have ever owned.

In fact, my dad has two massive speakers in his basement that he bought in Germany in the early 70s after he was done in Vietnam that run like new, no repairs ever done :). The receiver he bought for those speakers still works great upstairs (obviously not as good as the 5 year old receiver downstairs), though the bulb lighting up the needle, frequency list, etc burned out a few years ago finally (so its tough to find a radio station). Just about every car we've ever had has ran an outrageously long time without problems, and we're of irish descent so....maybe its luck? ;)

Either way, I'd have to pound my hard drives with a hammer to have them fail. Bummer for all you people :P.




RE: Reliability
By gramboh on 8/14/2006 3:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
Never had a drive fail either, I ran an old 486/66 with Linux with a 1.2GB from sometime in the mid 90's 24/7 without ANY fans (including PSU), it had an uptime of 400 days (no UPS) before the power went out.

Gave my sister an old T-Bred 1200 with 6.4GB Quantum SE Fireball from 99 or 2000 that runs fine 24/7 to this day, have an old Maxtor D740X 40GB that ran fine 24/7 until I retired it.

I've used Quantum/Maxtor/WD/Seagate and I prefer Seagate (personally) for performance/noise/reliability.


Knock on wood :)


RE: Reliability
By ShapeGSX on 8/15/2006 9:11:26 AM , Rating: 2
Keeping the drives cool is key. When I bought a case that I knew I would be populating with 5+ hard drives, I made sure that the case (Thermaltake Tsunami) had a large 120mm fan pulling cool air from the front of the case over the drives. The case also separates the drives to allow air to flow over them. And it uses rubber grommets to isolate them from vibration.

I've never had a drive fail on me, either (knock on wood).


RE: Reliability
By bldckstark on 8/15/2006 1:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
My first hdd upgrade was in 1994. A WD 850Mb. I forget what the speed is, but I think it was somwhere around 2rpm. That is still running in my daughters computer. 12 years old and still going, uhhh, weak. But it is still going. I just have it in there to see how long until it breaks.


RE: Reliability
By mindless1 on 8/16/2006 2:28:47 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it can easily be bad luck. Manufacturing defect, or pre-delivered handling stress can take it's toll.

It's a matter of percentages though when all else is working well (like power & cooling), that a certain % of people will be in the percent failed group and you'll never hear the end of it from them how Brand X is crap.

I've had a couple Maxtors fail, and Seagates, Samsungs too. I have quite a few drives in fileservers, it's not unexpected and as telling is how many drives HAVEN'T failed, unlike those bashing Maxtor I see nothing wrong with them, they do fine and were a great value.

Gotta love Seagate's warranty but frankly, 3 years from now will I want to pay to ship off a drive, get back what may be a refurb and put that to a serious use? Probably not, it'll end up delegated to some old testbed instead, I'll untimately end up buying another new drive as a result of the failure. For someone who only has a few (like single-digit) drives, that spare drive may come in handy.

I have quite a few more and would've rather just had a pro-rated refund than $ tied up in a drive I don't want to put into any primary storage role. So I put a few in mirrored arrays and they do fine, but I won't store only online copy of any data on those arrays either.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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