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Will Hard Drive Prices Rise Due to AI?

May 7, 2024

An analysis from Trendforce predicts that global prices for hard disk drives (HDD) will rise significantly in the near future, spurred in part by rising demand created by artificial intelligence (AI). 

The analysis is fairly barebones; Trendforce quotes reports from industry leaders Seagate and Western Digital, both of which have announced price increases. Neither manufacturer cites AI as a direct factor, though Seagate mentions that its “ability to meet unplanned demand upside and changes is limited.”

But throughout the industry, there’s a general understanding that AI technology is big — and big technologies are often accompanied by big, unplanned changes. 

In December, we reported that artificial intelligence is expected to strain global data storage capacities over the next decade. AI servers are on track to consume more electricity than countries like Austria, Peru, and Switzerland. 

An analysis from Everypixel Journal shows the true scale of the AI data footprint:

  • In 2023, A.I. tools created about 15.47 billion images — more than photographers have taken in the last 150 years.
  • People create about 34 million images per day.
  • A.I. data usage isn’t limited to asset creation. ChatGPT’s website receives nearly 1.5 billion visitors per month, with each user spending about 7 minutes and 36 seconds on the website per visit.

The oncoming “data crunch” may be an even bigger issue: All of that AI data needs to be stored somewhere. At the enterprise level, hard drives still have significant advantages over solid-state drives (SSDs) and other technologies: Hard drives are relatively fast, reliable, and — most importantly — cheap. 

In the near future, most new hard drives may be used to store AI data.

While data tape technologies can be used for archival purposes, at-scale AI server units need storage media that allows data to be accessed quickly. Hard drives are simply the best option. 

And while demand will drive up the prices of hard drives, solid-state drives won’t suddenly become a cheaper option. Without going into extensive technical detail, SSDs are relatively complex devices that require precise engineering — and even the best SSDs have write-cycle limits, which become a significant issue in enterprise applications. 

Rising costs may inspire new HDD storage technologies. 

Currently, manufacturers are investing in technologies like Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) and Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), both of which can extend HDD areal densities. Greater densities mean more storage per HDD (and fewer HDDs required for a given task). 

Data centers will also need to improve the efficiency of their data-handling processes. But ultimately, manufacturers have control over supply — and in the upcoming years, their ability to scale production will be tested. 


At, we’ve seen the storage industry find novel ways to adapt to new challenges. We’ve also invested in our own research and development to provide reliable services for enterprises including RAID data recovery, ransomware recovery, and penetration (PEN) testing.

To learn more, call 1-800-237-4200 to speak with a member of our team or submit a request online.