Hard drive prices could go up significantly after the rumored 'collapse' of key player — paving the way for growing SSD domination in the storage market

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Resonac, a company that manufactures a crucial component in hard drives, is rumored to be in the midst of a collapse, which could mean severe disruption in the development and distribution of the best hard drives around the world.

After Chinese language reports suggested an unnamed HDD component supplier underwent major layoffs in the last few months and was set to shut down, some digging by sister site Tom's Hardware identified Resonac as the troubled supplier. 

It could spell trouble for the likes of Seagate and Western Digital, whose collective shipments fell 43% year on year between 2022 and 2023, according to Trendfocus data, as reported by Tom's Hardware.

What could Resonac's rumored collapse mean?

Resonance's collapse could have severe ramifications for the rest of the industry. It's a Japanese company that employs 25,000 people and is one of the few companies out there that makes the discs that go into HDDs. So it may not necessarily fit the profile of the Taiwanese outfit first identified in Chinese language reports.

Earlier this year, we had expected some of the biggest hard drives on the market, including the Seagate 22TB HDD, to also be among the cheapest large-capacity hard drives out there by the time Christmas hit. 

This is ahead of hard drive manufacturers, like Seagate and Western Digital, locked in a race against each other to create and distribute massive hard drives up to 30TB in size.

It was once widely expected 2023 would be the year of 30TB HDDs. Both Seagate and Western Digital had sought this year as the point by which they would reach the milestone. Another company in the industry, Showa Denko, said in 2022 it too expected to reach that milestone by the end of this year.

But, however, that is just the start, with the same company suggesting some years ago that its work on the new generation of heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) media for hard drives could see it manufacture 80TB hard drives. This chimes with Seagate-backed research that tweaked HAMR storage density even more to reach sizes of up to 100TB.

Nonetheless, with the best SSDs increasingly coming down in price, it could pave the way for this alternative and much faster storage medium to dominate in the years to come – should the rumors be true and Resonac is, indeed, the company on the brink of collapse.

Even if the company isn't Resonac, it's worrying news that a major HDD component supplier is set to close its doors, with the subsequent supply chain disruptions hampering a market that's already in a less than healthy position. 

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Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Channel Editor (Technology), Live Science

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is the Technology Editor for Live Science. He has written for a variety of publications including ITPro, The Week Digital and ComputerActive. He has worked as a technology journalist for more than five years, having previously held the role of features editor with ITPro. In his previous role, he oversaw the commissioning and publishing of long form in areas including AI, cyber security, cloud computing and digital transformation.