Tuesday, April 17th 2012

2.5-Inch Hard Disk Drives to Start Seeing Adoption Next Year in Desktop PCs

New demand from all-in-one desktop PCs combined with requirements for new processors, lower power consumption and a thinner, smaller storage alternative to existing 3.5-inch hard disc drives (HDD) will help create a viable market for 2.5-inch HDDs beginning next year, according to an IHS iSuppli Storage Space market brief from information and analysis provider IHS.

Shipments of 2.5-inch HDDs to all-in-one PCs are forecast to reach approximately 1 million units in 2013, up from virtually zero this year. Shipments will then increase to 3 million units the following year and move up steadily until they hit some 7 million units in 2016. The HDD market for all-in-one PCs will continue to be dominated by 3.5-inch discs, with shipments by 2016 estimated at 31 million units, but growth will be much slower for the segment during the same period.

The 2.5-inch HDD is used widely today in a variety of products, including mobile or notebook PCs, external hard disk drives and enterprise applications such as servers and storage systems. Their advantages over conventional 3.5-inch HDDs include a smaller form factor, lower power consumption and higher endurance.

Of late, however, the 2.5-inch drives have also become attractive and desirable for desktop PCs, especially among all-in-one computers. With maximum capacities of 1 terabyte, the drives are proving very attractive for all-in-one PC makers in their next-generation designs. All-in-one PCs that have the potential to adopt the 2.5-inch HDD as their storage medium include the iMac from Apple Inc., TouchSmart from Hewlett-Packard, Series 7 from Samsung Electronics, IdeaCentre from Lenovo, Top Touchscreen from Asus Eee, and all-in-one desktops from Vizio and Acer.

With demand for all-in-one desktop PCs expected to grow, future market prospects for the 2.5-inch HDD appear encouraging, IHS iSuppli believes. Compared to conventional desktop PCs, all-in-ones possess superior features and performance, brought about by advances in processors, the adoption of NAND flash and the thinner HDD size. As such, all-in-one desktop PCs can extend the current markets for 2.5-inch HDDs covering notebooks, external hard drives and the enterprise, allowing the thinner and smaller drives to penetrate the desktop space.

Two disadvantages of the 2.5-inch HDD are speed and price. Most 2.5-inch drives typically run at 5,400 revolutions per minute (rpm), compared to 7,200 rpm for the 3.5-inch. The 2.5-inch also sells at slightly higher prices than the 3.5-inch as a whole, although the gap in price can be narrowed if 2.5-inch volumes become significant.

Nonetheless, enough positive factors are present to push growth overall for the 2.5-inch drives. As a result, the 2.5-inch will represent approximately 4 percent of the all-in-one desktop PC market by next year, and then go on to account for 18 percent of the all-in-one market by 2016. And as capacity and speed continue to improve and costs go down, the 2.5-inch HDD is expected to take share away from 3.5-inch HDDs in the traditional desktop PC market, IHS iSuppli predicts.

The 2.5-inch hard disc can enjoy about four to five years of uninterrupted growth before low-priced, high-density solid state drives become competitive.
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9 Comments on 2.5-Inch Hard Disk Drives to Start Seeing Adoption Next Year in Desktop PCs

#1
FreedomEclipse
Crazy Dogmatic Bullsh!t!
not a bad idea but then again not really a great one either. as they sacrifice performance for price. i understand if they wanted to put them in sff sysems and htpc's but on standard desktops that would be silly when 3.5" can be so much faster
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#2
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: FreedomEclipse
not a bad idea but then again not really a great one either. as they sacrifice performance for price. i understand if they wanted to put them in sff sysems and htpc's but on standard desktops that would be silly when 3.5" can be so much faster
3.5" drives aren't really that much faster in practice than 2.5" drives 7200RPM drives.
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#3
t_ski
Former Staff
I've been using a 2.5" drive as my storage drive in my PC for over a year. I don't need that much (500GB is plenty) and I need the extra space inside the case, plus it matches the size of my SSD's (makes custom mounting easier).
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#4
1freedude
I can finally claim to be an early adopter in tech land...
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#5
Jizzler
Nice. So easy to get rack cases with 2.5" mounts/carriers, but only a handful of options otherwise. Hopefully this trends pushes more cases to become 2.5" friendly (and smaller, tidier).

Because with more boards coming out with mSATA slots, and PCIe SSDs becoming more common, I'm ready for cage-less cases now! ;)
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#6
THE_EGG
Dang, we will have to go back to screwing our HDD's into the racks rather than using the easy toolless designs. :cry:
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#7
Prima.Vera
by: btarunr
Two disadvantages of the 2.5-inch HDD are speed and price. Most 2.5-inch drives typically run at 5,400 revolutions per minute (rpm), compared to 7,200 rpm for the 3.5-inch.
I loled here. To bad the 10K Velociraptors are the exceptions from the rule...;) ;also the lot of laptops with 7.2K rpm drives...
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#8
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: Prima.Vera
I loled here. To bad the 10K Velociraptors are the exceptions from the rule...;) ;also the lot of laptops with 7.2K rpm drives...
Yes, typically 2.5" laptop drives run at 5,400RPM to save on power, this does hurt performance. However, as you point out, there are plenty of 2.5" drives that put performance as a priority. Heck, my next OS mechanical drive is definitely going to be the 2.5" Momentus XT. Just because it is 2.5", that doesn't mean it has to be 5,400RPM.

by: THE_EGG
Dang, we will have to go back to screwing our HDD's into the racks rather than using the easy toolless designs. :cry:
Shouldn't be an issue, as the industry shifts to the 2.5" standard, and it is already happening with SSDs, case manufacturers will start to design more cases with 2.5" in mind with the same toolless designs they use on 3.5" drives. Or heck, at the very least use a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter in a 3.5" toolless slot and get two drives in the space of one.
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