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Time to move up (actually, DOWN)!

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  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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August 25, 2004 9:17:34 PM

The early PC hard drives were "Full Height" 5.25" devices. That means they took up 2 CD-ROM bays. Next came half-height drives, then 3.5" drives.

Laptops originally came with full sized floppies and 3.5" hard drives. They moved to low profile floppies and 2.5" hard drives.

With systems getting smaller and smaller, packaging efficiecy is getting stressed to the max. Technology exist today to make 1" drives of 20GB capacity. It's time for the following to occur:

1.) Desktops move to 2.5" drives, with 3.5" drives becomming the "old big server-sized" drives.
2.) Laptops move to 1.8" drives
3.) Portable drives based on 1" technology.

Really, the technology isn't being pushed much. 400GB 3.5" drives are more than most people will use for 5 years, it's time for 200GB 2.5" drives. Technology is not that difficult for 35GB/side on 2.5" platters, 70x3=210 so a 3 platter 2.5" drive could be produced for 200GB using current technology. If you're worried about cost, the main factor for reducing cost would be increasing sales.

Solid state drives may be our future, but the technology to produce them cheaply is still around 10 years away. By that time desktop PC's will probably be rare. In the meantime I give you solutions for today's technology.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>

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August 26, 2004 12:07:09 AM

I'll disagree (just for the hell of it). It's not difficult to use 400GB of disc space. I regullarly have to clear files from my 240GB RAID0 array which is used solely for downloads/uploads. I could easily consume twice that. While size is important for portable devices, and 'mini' PCs are fashionable in some markets, in reality, who cares how big the hunk of metal is under you desk, as long as your knees still fit! So is there a market for smaller PC drives? Are Soltek, MSI and the like demanding 1.8" drives for their micro-PC solutions? Is it even the drive that takes up the most space? No, no and no again. Mini-PC makers could easily use 7,200rpm 2.5" drives in their machines, but it would make bugger all difference to the overall size becaue the other components take up so much room. Mini-disc could have become industry standard and replaced the larger CDs but really there was no pressure to do so. In actual fact notebooks are getting wider (and thinner) as users opt for bigger LCD screens. Oh, and incidentally, the microdrive as already been invented.

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/myanandtech.html?member=114979" target="_new">My PCs</A> :cool:
August 26, 2004 12:30:32 AM

Quote:
Oh, and incidentally, the microdrive as already been invented.

No kidding. I said I was talking about currently available technology. But in this case I'd be refering to using multiple 1" platters to make a drive that's slightly larger than a micro drive and has a USB 2.0 interface, for use as a portable drive, rather than these huge portable hard drives people now lug around.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
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August 26, 2004 10:33:38 PM

2 things I see in the future: miniaturization and consolidation. Eventually, we'll all have handhelds that function as cellphone, palm pilot, console system, dvd/cd player, tivo, and computer. Of course things like full-size monitors and keyboards will still exist, but you'll just bring your comp home and dock into them.

"It's too late now anyway. That song is stuck in my head and the only way to get rid of it is to blow it out. With a bullet!! - Carl
August 27, 2004 4:01:23 AM

In the future we'll probably only have one central "computer" at home with dummy terminals where we want them. All our files or our entire "personal computer" will be on our keychains. We'll then just load our "personal computer" off a dummy terminal in our rooms.

</font color=red><i><font color=red>GOD</font color=red> <font color=blue>BLESS </font color=blue><font color=red>AMERICA
August 27, 2004 5:04:44 AM

Nah, monitors will go away in the home, WebTV was too simple and ahead of it's time.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
August 28, 2004 6:18:39 PM

No, what's really gonna happen is all homes will be equipped with a video wall that can be segmented into seperate screens. 1 for the computer so you can surf between commercials, 1 for super high def tv (like 60" or something). The technology is still in it's infancy eg. thin plastic fillaments woven together to make a screen that is only ounces but can be made to fill a whole wall. I read something (New Scientist maybe?) about organic and plastic materials that have binary movement (cellular level?)which can simulate different colors. How freakin cool is that? Think back to the future three when Marty was hiding from himself or something and they showed a similar concept. Whoa

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AMD ME??? Yeah they did me alright.
August 29, 2004 2:11:24 AM

You know a drive rack could put 6 2.5" drives in a single full-height bay? Current racks put 4 3.5" drives in 3 1/2 height bays!

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
August 31, 2004 7:16:45 PM

Quote:
Current racks put 4 3.5" drives in 3 1/2 height bays!

There are many which fit five 3.5"-ers, actually. Not much room for ventilation, but they still work pretty well. Just have to provide a commanding reason for air to flow through them.

Also, don't you move down in transfer speed when you go smaller? Kind of like always being on the very inside track of the hard drive? Or do they spin the smaller ones faster now since a smaller disk is easier to spin fast? I like the idea of little 1" USB hard drives, but I would probably put a bigger, faster drive in any machine I build for myself.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by grafixmonkey on 08/31/04 02:20 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
August 31, 2004 11:28:40 PM

Mechanics say the smaller drives are capable of being spun faster. Economics say there's not enough money in it yet. Physics say that a 15,000RPM 2.5" drive would be too hot for a laptop anyway.

The technology has been around a while. And yes, I have seen a couple 5 drive racks, and yes I believe the reason they're less common is heat. You could put 7 2.5" drives in 2/3 the space, but they'd also be hot. That's why I'm comparing 4 drives to 6 instead.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
September 1, 2004 1:53:16 AM

yeah, makes sense to me. Wouldn't you inherently lose a lot of data density because you have to hold all the extra drive housings and mechanics though? My prediction would be 3.5" drives would remain the best solution in servers and the smaller ones would be the best for home PC's and corporate workstations.
September 1, 2004 2:13:15 AM

How many people do you know running 5.25" drives? It's about the same situation now as it was back when companies started switching to 3.5" drives.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
September 1, 2004 4:37:48 PM

Still though, if I could still get a 600GB 5.25" drive for $400, and was choosing that or a 400GB 3.5" drive for $300, I might be inclined to get the 5.25" drive. Unless I was low on 5.25" bays. But that's just me... My system's gonna be heavy anyway, I may as well use the case space and have lots of storage - my preference.

I can definitely see an advantage to smaller drives though if everything started getting smaller. Like CD drives really don't need to be so big anymore. There are lots of "slim CD" drives that combine a half-height CD drive with other hardware. If 5.25" vanished entirely, and motherboards and cases got smaller and more attractive for home PCs (like mini-ATX that didn't suck), especially with the new SATA cables that allow for smaller drives, computers could get a lot smaller and more attractive with 2.5" or 1" drives. What really needs to get smaller is expansion cards. We've got PCI-Express now, so maybe that will happen. It's already hell finding a case to hold the occasional full-length PCI card that you find. Maybe the future is those little cube cases, except with actual good hardware and expandability inside.

Just don't give Dell any ideas here... they'll start packing every Dell machine with a 1" hard drive, and make the inside of their cases even more ridiculous, and us techies will have to hear about every Dellie who can't figure out how to fit a new hard drive in there when 20GB isn't big enough anymore. You should see the Dell Dimension "workstations" (pronounced, "suckstations") we have at work. They used blade server motherboards, and hacked a completely custom case with a 1/3-height power supply (180W for a P4 system??). Cards extending further back than the end of the PCI slot don't fit at all, because they put two PCI slots in a riser card enclosed in a steel box, and it ships with exactly one spare power connector. And the words "Thou Shalt Not Upgrade" etched in the plastic on the side of the case.
September 1, 2004 7:21:58 PM

1/2 height CD drives are standard. 1/3 height are available (but hard to find). I'd love to see CD drives to to 1/3 height as standard. I think the big limitting factor is heat buildup in DVD burners.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
September 2, 2004 5:54:08 PM

That might explain why most of them that I've seen are for servers, and are only readers.

I want to see a complete redesign of the computer case. I hate that all the plugs are on the back, where they are hardest to reach. It's fine for power and video, but many expansion cards have plugs that I actually need to access frequently. Plus, there is a lot of bulk added and space wasted by insisting on putting everything on one side of the motherboard backplate. Cube cases are great, but unfortunately have cable routing problems because none of them seem to provide decent holes from one side to the other, and they're all made for huge servers and end up being bigger. And the mini-cube cases are great too, but they go way too far and eliminate all chance for upgradability.
September 2, 2004 9:47:34 PM

Consider the tiniest of Micro ATX desktops to use full sized power supplies. The back of the right CD-ROM sits over the power supply by about an inch. The back of the left CD-ROM, if present, sits over the RAM. The portion in front of the board is taken up by 3.5" drives. If you were to put a huge slot fan in front and over the CPU cooler you'd have the most space efficient design possible for current, large drives.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
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