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2.5-inch HDDs Expected Become More Popular Desktop PCs

By - Source: IHS | B 46 comments
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2.5-inch hard drives will be playing an increasingly important role in desktop computers.

Market research firm IHS believes that about 1 million 2.5-inch drives will be shipping in desktop computers next year, up from "virtually zero" this year, IHS said.

By 2016, the segment is forecast to grow to 7 million units. The unit volume is dwarfed by the 3.5-inch market, which will retain a dominant position in the foreseeable future. However, the growth opportunity appears to be clearly shifting toward the 2.5-inch market. According to IHS, 26 milllion 3.5-inch HDDs are predicted to ship in desktop computers in 2013 and 31 million in 2016. In 2013, 2.5-inch HDDs will account for only 4 percent of the desktop HDD market, but will climb to 18 percent by 2016, IHS said

“With a maximum capacity of 1 terabyte, 2.5-inch HDDs are proving very attractive to PC makers for use in their next-generation all-in-one designs,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “Multiple all-in-one PCs have the potential to adopt 2.5-inch HDDs, including the iMac from Apple, the TouchSmart from Hewlett-Packard, the Series 7 from Samsung Electronics, the IdeaCentre from Lenovo, the Top Touchscreen from Asus Eee and all-in-one desktops from Vizio and Acer.”

The opportunity for 2.5-inch drives will grow as speed goes up and the price difference between the 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch decreases. “The 2.5-inch hard drive market may enjoy about four to five years of uninterrupted growth before low-priced, high-density solid state drives become more competitive,” Zhang said.

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  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , April 16, 2012 12:41 PM
    "2.5-inch HDDs Expected Become More Popular Desktop PCs"

    What the????!!! Sounds like a bad translation to English

    IS it that hard to get right?? 2.5-inch HDDs Expected TO Become More Popular IN Desktop PCs
    Sigh
  • 14 Hide
    freggo , April 16, 2012 12:03 PM
    I fail to see the advantage of a 2.5" drive in a desktop. R/W speed has to be lower using the same RPM and the lower power consumption is of course not as crucial as in a mobile device.

    What am I missing ?
  • 12 Hide
    belardo , April 16, 2012 12:03 PM
    I still trust a 3.5" 1TGB drive more so to a 2.5" version. But its easy to see the 2.5 entering into the desktop market as DESKTOPS becomes smaller themselves... making them lighter, cooler and less power.

    But the performance is still sub-par to a 3.5".
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    halcyon , April 16, 2012 11:29 AM
    As long as they offer decent performance this sounds good. The WD Scorpio Black and Seagate Momentus XT come to mind as winners.
  • 12 Hide
    belardo , April 16, 2012 12:03 PM
    I still trust a 3.5" 1TGB drive more so to a 2.5" version. But its easy to see the 2.5 entering into the desktop market as DESKTOPS becomes smaller themselves... making them lighter, cooler and less power.

    But the performance is still sub-par to a 3.5".
  • 14 Hide
    freggo , April 16, 2012 12:03 PM
    I fail to see the advantage of a 2.5" drive in a desktop. R/W speed has to be lower using the same RPM and the lower power consumption is of course not as crucial as in a mobile device.

    What am I missing ?
  • 12 Hide
    tranzparentl , April 16, 2012 12:03 PM
    Not for me, I'll take the larger capacity 3.5" drives for my desktop (at least 3 of them please) and keep the 2.5" drives for my laptop.
  • 6 Hide
    drwho1 , April 16, 2012 12:08 PM
    “The 2.5-inch hard drive market may enjoy about four to five years of uninterrupted growth before low-priced, high-density solid state drives become more competitive,” Zhang said."

    In other words, we still need to wait for 4-5 long years before we see a REAL price drop on the SSD market.

    I just saw today a 240GB SSD for $200 on Newegg.
    Maybe this is a sign of good things coming.
  • 5 Hide
    gilbertfh , April 16, 2012 12:10 PM
    IMO 2.5" is great if you are going for an HTPC. But for a high end gaming rig I am thinkin SDD and 3.5" drives are going to be the preferred method for a long time to come.
  • 2 Hide
    tical2399 , April 16, 2012 12:12 PM
    Agreed with the poster above me. If performance is good and the drives are reliable then i'm with it. The only potential deal breaker would be price. If they cost more than the standard 3.5 drive with the same specs then i'll pass.
  • -1 Hide
    tical2399 , April 16, 2012 12:14 PM
    lol you guys post past. when i stated my first post, only the guy at the top had put something, by the time i was done like 5 more people had already posted.
  • 0 Hide
    memadmax , April 16, 2012 12:17 PM
    Well...
    The WD Velociraptor(2nd gen) is in 2.5 inch format with a heatsink that makes it 3.5 inch.
    So the performance of a 3.5 inch drive in 2.5 inch form factor is there.
    I think the real question is how long a high performance 2.5 inch drive will live, if you are going to go for high performance 2.5 inch drives.
  • 0 Hide
    spasmolytic46 , April 16, 2012 12:27 PM
    2.5's are great! I've been using them exclusively for about 3 years now. I take 4 of them and stuff them into a 5.25" enclosure and RAID them up. Right now I have 4 250GB WD Scorpio Black's in software RAID 0 and they are almost as fast my Corsair Force 120. I use the SSD for my OS and use the RAID for multimedia, Steam and .vdi's. Although I still use 3.5's in an external enclosure for backup purposes.
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , April 16, 2012 12:41 PM
    "2.5-inch HDDs Expected Become More Popular Desktop PCs"

    What the????!!! Sounds like a bad translation to English

    IS it that hard to get right?? 2.5-inch HDDs Expected TO Become More Popular IN Desktop PCs
    Sigh
  • 0 Hide
    Darkk , April 16, 2012 12:43 PM
    To the above poster: RAID 0? Good thing you have 3.5" external as backups.
  • -1 Hide
    stingstang , April 16, 2012 12:43 PM
    spasmolytic462.5's are great! I've been using them exclusively for about 3 years now. I take 4 of them and stuff them into a 5.25" enclosure and RAID them up. Right now I have 4 250GB WD Scorpio Black's in software RAID 0 and they are almost as fast my Corsair Force 120. I use the SSD for my OS and use the RAID for multimedia, Steam and .vdi's. Although I still use 3.5's in an external enclosure for backup purposes.

    You have 4 2.5 drives in a 5.25 bay? Sir, I want to know your secret, because that is AMAZING!
  • 4 Hide
    spasmolytic46 , April 16, 2012 12:50 PM
    @ Dark - it's an entertainment center, not a production server and yes that is exactly why I have backups.

    @ stingstang - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817986007
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 16, 2012 1:17 PM
    I didn't know you could make a 2.5inch HDD a full computer... (Re-read the title)
  • 0 Hide
    rantoc , April 16, 2012 1:19 PM
    For quiet computers where performance isn't the main metric like htpc's and the like the 2.5" makes sense but as soon as capacity with descent performance become more critical they can't replace the 3.5" drives (wru 3tb 2.5" for instance?). If its only performance SSD is the way to go and as their capacity/price will become more consumer friendly so will the 2.5" factor adoption go so no matter how you put it... 2.5" will be the next standard after 3.5".
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , April 16, 2012 1:22 PM
    spasmolytic462.5's are great! I've been using them exclusively for about 3 years now. I take 4 of them and stuff them into a 5.25" enclosure and RAID them up. Right now I have 4 250GB WD Scorpio Black's in software RAID 0

    Sounds complex, expensive and noisy. In comparison to a quality SSD unit, the raptors are not much faster than a good 3.5" drive. consumer grade RAID0 isn't exactly reliable, a small error will destroy the RAID. Having a single WD-Raptor 600GB would make more sense, cheaper and reliable.

    PS: Rather neat 5.25 drive bay there... hot swap too, eh?
    I think this one is quite cool too, with only 2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817986006

    @ stingstang : fitting 4 x 2.5" drives into a 5.25 space is easy.
  • 0 Hide
    matt_b , April 16, 2012 1:24 PM
    For SSD drives, sure. A 2.5" drive just doesn't have the physical space/technology to cram high capacity on a platter drive though. For large storage needs, 3.5" platter drives will continue to be the main desktop format primarily due to price. For the desktops shipping with between 500-750 gigabytes of storage, I could see the 2.5" drive increasing in popularity with OEM computers. On a side note, if we did ditch the 3.5" form factor altogether, would scale of manufacturing bring the 2.5" drives noticeably down in price?
  • 1 Hide
    spasmolytic46 , April 16, 2012 1:40 PM
    @ belardo - It's really not so complex. Win 7 ultimate includes "Dynamic Disks" which is a MS software RAID solution. It's way easier than most motherboard BIOS or Linux console setups for RAID. Just point and click and you have a stripe or a mirror. The backups are easy too with Acronis on a schedule.

    I know eventually they will fail, but so far so good. Those WD black's have been in use for 2 years without any hiccups. A single 600GB raptor still wouldn't be as fast, wouldn't hold as much (my steam folder is almost 600GB by itself) and wouldn't be any quieter.

    That link isn't the the one I actually have, mine is an older model no longer in production by the same company. It only does SATA II, but it does have a jumper for 2 speeds + off for the fan. The fan was quiet at first but got loud after about 6 months. After doing some temperature monitoring I determined I didn't really need it and have it turned off.

    I was really looking forward to getting more drives to take advantage of the hot swap, but with prices these days I'll wait. When I bought my blacks they were on sale for $40 each. I don't even want to think about what they cost now.
  • 0 Hide
    Shin-san , April 16, 2012 1:48 PM
    I never thought of putting a 2.5" drive into my desktop until SSDs came along
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