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HDD disruption set to carry on until 2013, Seagate claims

The disruption to supply of HDD devices caused by the flooding in Thailand will be felt into next year, it is claimed.

Leading hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturer Seagate claims that the disruption experienced in the sector is likely to continue throughout 2012 and into next year.

A large proportion of the world's HDD production comes from Thailand, a country which experienced severe flooding in the middle of last year.

The natural disaster caused many factories to shutdown for various lengths of time, leaving a large gap in supply of these devices.

A recovery of modest proportions was enjoyed in the final quarter of 2011, with Seagate itself managing to ship 47 million drives.

However, the disruption throughout the supply chain is still being felt. Seagate says that seven of its top ten suppliers experienced "direct factory damage" from the floods, with all product platforms feeling some form of impact as a result.

Looking ahead to 2012, the firm's chief executive officer Stephen Luczo expects the industry as a whole to be around 100 exabytes short, the equivalent to around 150 million HDD units.

"A large portion of the precision machining capability that support the hard drive industry  the motors and base decks to actuators and specialty mechanical parts, were catastrophically lost," he said.

"We believe the impacts of the flooding are going to be felt well into 2013 in terms of trying to address the needs of customers to acquire storage."

With a shortage of parts supply and requalifications of existing drives, Seagate says the unit cost for each device has increased by $2.50 (£1.58).

And it is not just the HDD market that has suffered, as other areas of the computing industry feel the knock-on effect.

Leading manufacturers AMD and Nvidia claim that the floods in Thailand have heavily impacted their ability to sell graphics processing units (GPUs).

Nvidia believes HDD shortages played a major role in a $116 million (£73 million) reduction in revenue in the final quarter of 2011, while AMD reported a loss of $177 million (£112 million) for the same period.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801282828-ADNFCR