I am updating my hard drive shortage blog from the beginning of the month. It appears the shortage continues and hard drive manufactures want to lock in one year pricing based on current global shortages. This may lead to PC makers to turn to the gray markets to attempt to stay on par with current orders and to stay competitive.

Reports found on all of the major tech sites suggests that large OEM’s are scrambling to buy quantities of gray market hard drives to fulfill present and future orders. The down side of this is that gray market drives may not be as good of quality in certain cases and not carry the full warranty as one would expect.

Here is how the gray market works. A company makes a certain product for sale within a certain country; say the U.S. as an example. The same company also manufactures the exact product, intending to sell them in other countries. Someone buys one these gray market products outside the U.S. and then imports them back into the United Sates for sale. Here is where it may get sticky. The original company may not want to provide warranty coverage or support because they weren’t intended for sale here in the U.S. to begin with. The end result is your only recourse may be the vendor you bought it from and that is typically a 30 day or less period.

If your in the market for a new PC you may consider purchasing an additional internal hard drive from a legitimate source like OWC for future storage needs. Reports suggest that HD pricing will rise and be unstable for some time throughout 2012. Buying gray market drives from sources for the lowest possible price could be risky and always read and review the return, warranty and support policies carefully.