As we warned in our recent budget gaming PC build, for the last month or two now, hard drive prices have skyrocketed as a result of the flooding in Thailand (again, our hearts to those affected). As an example, WD's Caviar Blue and Caviar Black series have both shot from around $40 to the $150 range; some drives are altogether unavailable now, especially most of the mid-high range drives, leaving only poorly performing hard drives at inflated prices.
WD just announced that their efforts to recover one of their factories have resulted in success, putting them a week ahead of the initial schedule. Unfortunately, even with factories being pumped dry and resuming production as normal, WD predicts a demand of 180 million units for December with a maximum supply output of 120 million units, continuing HDD price spike.
WD informed us in a statement that they "believe that significant industry supply constraints will continue in the March quarter and beyond."
That's bad news for gamers, but we'll make it through -- other drives are still out there, and as more companies recover, you can bet there will be fierce competition to reclaim the throne of preferred HDD manufacturer (and if anything shakes the industry enough to restructure the hierarchy, this is it).
Seagate released a similar statement, noting that they do not expect quite as speedy a recovery as WD is predicting. Seagate has indicated that it believes the industry will attempt to compensate en masse for the drive shortage by "[optimizing] unit shipments by manufacturing lower component count / lower capacity hard drives; thereby, only modestly offsetting the growing petabyte shortage [...] Pricing is expected to remain [as is now]."
We'll keep you updated as events unfold; here's hoping to a resurgence in the SSD or HDD market sometime soon.