PC shipments may be crimped by as much as a fifth in the first three months of 2012, hurt by the shortage of hard disk drives (HDD) after the Thailand floods, said IDC.

The technology research firm, which puts Thailand's share at 40-45 percent of the global HDD production capacity, expects half of that to be hit directly by the floods.

Top HDD makers Seagate Technology and Western Digital have large manufacturing facilities in Thailand.

Since July, floods killed at least 320 people and devastated industrialized areas at the center of the south Asian country. HDD manufacturers have raised prices by 20-40 percent since then.

While IDC believes HDD industry participants will recover and restore production capacity relatively quickly, supply will remain constrained for an extended period of time, the research firm said.

Goldman Sachs recently warned that global PC shipments in the December quarter are likely to fall 3 percent, year-over-year, compared with an earlier estimate of a 3.1 percent growth.

A large part of PC production for fourth quarter shipment has already taken place or can be completed with existing HDD inventories, limiting the impact on PC shipments to less than 10 percent, IDC said.

But in a worst-case scenario, total PC shipments could be depressed by more than 20 percent in first quarter of 2012.

(Reporting by Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)