Cost Per Terabyte Improvement

November 2, 2016


It used to be that a 4 Terabyte (TB) drive from HGST was a superior deal for a large hard drive when on sale for $160. That’s $40 per TB. Then prices dropped a little further as Solid-State Drives  (SSDs) became popular. On occasion, the 4 TB drive would drop to a sale price of only $140, which comes out to about $35 per TB.

Now the price efficiency is even better. No, the 4 TB drive didn’t drop in price again. You are still looking for a low price of $140 for a new one. However, if you are careful, you can find a 5TB HGST drive for only $170. That is only $34 per TB. Not a tremendous difference from the previous low of $35 per TB, but a dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Larger drives, specifically the 6 TB HGST drive, are still showing poor scales of price efficiency. Presumably, the 6 TB drive is at about $37 per TB due to the premium of being such a larger drive. If the natural law of industrial scale were in place, the cost per terabyte on these monstrously huge 6 TB drives would be even better than $34 per TB. However, that is not so. Is it a premium price? Or just the cost of pressing so many bits into a tiny 3.5″ drive frame? Maybe a little of both.

Bottom line: The new king of per-TB price efficiency is HGST’s 5 TB drive.

Why focus on HGST drives in particular? According to the findings of a cloud company named Backblaze, HGST had the lowest failure rates. Therefore, I’m interested in those drives for maximum reliability. After all, a failed hard drive is a waste, and a very costly source of forever-lost data.