I did a survey of the cost of buying hard drives (of all sorts), microsd/sd, USB sticks, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and tape media (for tape drives).
Here are the 2022-07 results: https://za3k.com/archive/storage-2022-07.sc.txt
- Used or refurbished items were excluded. Multi-packs (5 USB sticks) were excluded except for optical media. Seagate drives were excluded, because they are infamous for having a high failure rate and bad returns process.
- Per TB, the cheapest options are:
- Tape media (LTO-8) at $4.74/TB, but I recommend against it. Tape drives are expensive ($3300 for LTO-8 new), giving a breakeven with HDDs at 350-400TB. Also, the world is down to only one tape drive manufacturer, so you could end up screwed in the future.
- 3.5″ internal spinning hard drives, at $13.75/TB. Currently the best option is 4TB drives.
- 3.5″ external spinning hard drives, at $17.00/TB. Currently the best is 18TB WD drives. If you want internal drives, you can buy external ones and open them up, although it voids your warranty.
- 2.5″ external spinning hard drives, at $24.50/TB. 4-5TB is best.
- Blu-ray disks, at $23.16: 25GB is cheapest, then 50GB ($32.38/TB), then 100GB ($54.72/TB).
- Be very careful buying internal hard drives online, and try to use a first-party seller. There are a lot of fake sellers and sellers who don’t actually provide a warranty. This is new in the last few years.
Changes since the last survey 2 years ago:
- Amazon’s search got much worse again. More sponsored listings, still refurbished drives.
- Sketchy third-party sellers are showing up on Amazon, and other vendors. At this point the problem is people not getting what they order, or getting it but without a promised warranty. I tried to filter out such Amazon sellers. I had trouble, even though I do the survey by hand. At this point it would be hard to safely buy an internal hard drive on Amazon.
- Spinning drives: Prices have not significantly dropped or risen for spinning hard drives, since 2020.
- Spinning drives: 18TB and 20TB 3.5″ hard drives became available
- SSDs: 8TB is available (in both 2.5 inch and M.2 formats)
- SSDs: Prices dropped by about half, per TB. The cheapest overall drives dropped about 30%.
- USB: 2TB dropped back off the market, and appears unavailable.
- USB: On the lower end, USB prices rose almost 2X. On the higher end, they dropped.
- MicroSD/SD: Prices dropped
- MicroSD/SD: A new player entered the cheap-end flash market, TEAMGROUP. Based on reading reviews, they make real drives, and sell them cheaper than they were available before. Complaints of buffer issues or problems with sustained write speeds are common.
- MicroSD/SD: It’s no longer possible to buy slow microsd/sd cards, which is good. Basically everything is class 10 and above.
- MicroSD/SD: Combine microsd and sd to show price comparison
- Optical: Mostly optical prices did not change. 100GB Blu-Ray dropped by 60-70%. Archival Blu-Ray, too.
- Tape: LTO-9 is available.
- Tape: The cost of LTO-8 tape dropped 50%, which makes it the cheapest option.
- Tape: This is not new, but there is still only one tape drive manufacturer (HP) since around the introduction of LTO-8.