Two 2TB hard drives are currently available on NewEgg for a flat $79.99 with free shipping:
Because the price is truly flat, that translates to $0.04 per GB.
The cheapest way to buy optical media is by 100-pack spindle, and the most rock-bottom price on that is $18.99 (note that the third choice below has free shipping, and shipping must be included in cost):
100 DVD-5′s is 470GB worth of data storage, and the cost-per-gigabyte of storage you buy here is also $0.04 per gigabyte.
If you were to use non-rounded numbers, here’s how it fares out with the prices listed above:
HARD DRIVE: $0.039995 per GB
OPTICAL: $0.0404042553191489 per GB
Yes, this means the hard drive is just a smidge cheaper than optical is.
So? What’s the big deal here?
The big deal is that no one ever thought it possible that hard drive storage would actually be cheaper than optical. Hard drives after all are much more complicated compared to discs, yet there it is – the drive is cheaper than the disc.
The whole point of buying discs to begin with is because it was the cheapest way to store your data. Now that hard drives are actually cheaper at doing the same task, you’re losing money every time you buy discs.
Yes, I know, it is very difficult to grasp the fact you actually lose money buying discs over drives now. At present it’s a very tiny amount, but as drives dive even cheaper, that gap will grow wider and wider.
No, I’m not telling you to stop using discs, but if you store a lot of data and go through a lot of optical media routinely, you now save money by buying a hard drive instead. Granted, a hard drive isn’t as portable or convenient as optical discs are, but you do get more for the money.