Although the prices on medium sized, 3 to 4 TB, spinnings disks remain about constant since the beginning of the year, a new drive has jumped right to the top of the list this time: The Seagate ARCHIVE HDD 8TB at 260 Euro or 0.03 GB Euro per GB (30.6 GB per Euro). This drive is not for everybody, though. It’s using Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) in “drive managed” mode, which means it’s a write-a-few-times / read-many drive. Or in other words, well suited for a large movie collection or as its name suggest large backups in single disk mode. It is specifically not designed for RAID mode. This review goes into further details. What’s interesting, is that it’s a 6 platter (1.33 TB platters) drive, without any other special hacks to make that work. If the same disk goes to 10 TB by next year as hinted earlier, it will mean 1.67 TB platters.
Contrast that to the Hitachi HGST Ultrastar Helium 8 TB drive at the opposite end of the HDD price spectrum. At 800 Euros, it’s more than three times more expensive than the Seagate 8 TB drive. The HGST uses helium to pack 7 platters into one drive, and needs a special seal to keep the light helium gas inside. It’s still an unproven technology, and only time will tell if it really works. Given the very high price over even 6 TB “normal” drives, it’s unclear which market segment would bet on this drive. Maybe it’s still priced at “early adopters” premium.
In the SSD section, Samsung has moved to the 850 series in both EVO Basic and Pro lines. Crucial has launched new BX100 and MX200 MLC lines. The new BX100 line gets overall good review in this Anandtech article. Prices have not changed significantly, and the larger drives still give the most bytes per coin. The 500 GB drives are now excellent laptop upgrades if you’re still on spinning disks.
Finally, on flash cards I’ve also added micro SD, and a good selection of alternative SanDisk SD cards. Except for size, the distinguishing factor on these cards is read and write speed. This SanDisk article explains the Class and UHS ratings. It’s nice to see that the cards it makes most sense to buy for the average consumer are also towards the top: For your phone (if it has a memory slot) a 64 GB Sandisk Ultra microSDXC Class 10, 48MB/s at 43 Euro should be a good investment. While for your mid-range DSLR a 64 GB Sandisk Extreme SDXC, Class 10/UHS 3, 40/60MB/s at 50 Euros will give lots of space and good burst rate even with raw files.
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.040000 CHF.