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TheBradster

Hard drive rip-offs by resellers?

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I've got an old PPC based 12" Aluminum PowerBook. It's in excellent condition. About a month ago, I started getting spinning beach balls so I got a copy of Scannerz and did a scan on the drive. The drive had some repeatable irregularities, which means some of the sectors were "weak." Finally the thing got worse over a period of a month and now the test results are showing flat out bad sectors in the 10G-20G range. This is an **original** drive. The unit used to be my main system years ago, but as the hardware and times changed I moved up. I've kept using this thing in the morning to check e-mail and go to weather.com to check out the weather maps, etc. It still works great for what I use it for.

 

Several years ago I was at a store and there was a 2.5" 80G WD HD, and it was for sale for about $60. I thought to myself "you know, you really ought to get that, the price is cheap." I didn't because I figured I could always get it later. Well, I can, but now the price is about $140! I've checked some other web sources and most that are selling new drives are asking a lot to. You can get a 500G SATA 2.5" for as low as $60 (maybe even lower if on sale) but they want a ton for an IDE drive. Others are selling "refurbished" drives for a lot less, but I figure they're likely repaired junk. Some claim they're overstock, but if they were overstock, why would they call them "refurbished." Refurbished means it's been repaired, overstock means it's new, never used, and the manufacturer made too many of them. Why would someone sell a "refurbished" drive that's new but overstock when they could charge almost 5 times as much calling it new.

 

Have I just been looking in the wrong places? I tend to look locally mostly but some of the better known web vendors seem to be pulling the same stunt. Is anyone even making IDE drives anymore?

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AFAIK, no major manufacturer is still making IDE drives in commercial quantities. I'm sure there are still a few being made - some industrial computers are still running MS-DOS programs and recording to tape drives, but as far as on a consumer level, I think you're merely seeing increased price due to heavily decreased production.

 

As far as a recent jump in price, don't forget that last year's flooding in Thailand sent hard-drive prices skywards - they still haven't come down all the way. Many unscrupulous sellers (and many who didn't know what the heck was going on) took this as an excuse to raise prices on ALL hard-drives, not just those in production. Sadly, these prices are without the competition we see in more modern SATA drives, so there was almost no reason to drop the prices back down.

 

I would keep an eye on Newegg.com - one of the shell shocker deals (front page) in the past year was an IDE laptop drive I believe. They also have a bargain/reduced/open box section on their website which would be worth a look-see. Geeks.com also has older tech sometimes.

 

Good luck!

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'Refurbished' hard drives are out-of-date that have sat on the shelf too long so don't have the same mfg warranty. That's why you see the production date on hard drives. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them necessarily.

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IDE drives will not get any cheaper. On the contrary, prices will go high. The less the demand, the bigger production cost per Item is. The last time I've bought an 2.5 IDE drive, it was bought from Asia via eBay. It was relatively cheap, but it took 21 days to arrive. Local prices were far beyond the reason.

 

As to refurbished items, I can tell that at least on eBay, some sellers tend to use the wrong condition description (i.e. Seller Refurbished instead of Used). So it's not necessary something bad or suspicious.

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