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2.5in HDDs in PCs seen as favorable alternative

Posted: 19 Apr 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:2.5in HDD? 3.5in? all-in-one PC? notebook?

According to the recent data from IHS Inc., demand from all-in-one PCs combined with requirements for lower power consumption and a thinner, smaller storage alternative to existing 3.5in HDD will help create a viable market for 2.5in HDDs in desktops next year. The market research firm also noted that global shipments of 2.5in HDDs to all-in-one PCs are forecast to reach about one million units next year, up from virtually zero this year.

Shipments will then increase to three million units the following year and rise steadily until they hit about seven million units in 2016. The HDD market for all-in-one PCs will continue to be dominated by 3.5in discs, with shipments by 2016 estimated at 31 million units, but growth will be much slower for the segment during the same period than for 2.5inch drives.

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

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

2.5in vs. 3.5in HDDs

Worldwide shipments of 2.5in HDDs to all-in-one PCs are forecast to reach about one million units in 2013, up from virtually zero this year, according to IHS.

With demand for all-in-one desktop PCs expected to grow, future market prospects for the 2.5in HDD appear encouraging, IHS believed. Compared to conventional desktop PCs, all-in-ones possess superior features and performance, brought about by advances in microprocessors and the thinner HDD size. As such, all-in-one desktop PCs can extend the markets for 2.5in HDDs beyond their current areas in notebooks, external hard drives and the enterprise, allowing the thinner and smaller drives to penetrate the desktop space.

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

Nonetheless, enough positive factors are present to push growth overall for 2.5in drives. As a result, the 2.5in will represent nearly four 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 2.5in HDD is expected to take share away from 3.5in HDDs in the traditional desktop PC market, IHS forecasted.

"The 2.5in 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 added.

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