Perennially Curious

Making sense of it all.

Cents Per GB: How Much Does Physical Storage Cost

Computing follows Moore's Law and hard disk prices have fallen precipitously and predictably, since the dawn of computing, barring the Thailand floods of 2011 which constrained the world's supplies of storage media. In addition to capacity, the form factor also affects pricing of media. For example, a compact hard disk is usually more expensive than a larger, comparable unit. The graph below analyzes the storage costs (cents per GB) based on Amazon prices today (29th December 2013) for the following representative models of storage forms:

The price per GB shows a more than 50 fold variation from 3.7 cents to 187 cents. ($0.0367/GB for 3TB Seagate Expansion to $1.8725/GB for a 4GB SanDisk Cruzer flash drive).

It is also clear that a larger capacity does not always mean a lower per GB cost, particularly for the largest capacity models.

While a low per-GB cost is desirable, the total cost is important as well. A plot of cost per GB vs total cost shows that there are some particularly undesirable models in there that have both a high per GB cost and a high total cost. These are encircled in red. 


An important caveat to this analysis is that price variability for the items concerned was not taken into account.  

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