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Thin hybrid HDDs to make headway in storage market

Posted: 07 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hybrid hard disk drive? SSD? NAND flash? Ultrabook? notebook market?

According to IHS, a thinner hybrid hard disk drive (HDD) intended to serve as storage media for computers such as Ultrabooks could help the HDD industry in its continuous battle against tablet devices. The last couple of years has been challenging of the industry that has devices such as iPad eating away from the sales of notebooks. However, the market research noted that a new and thinner hybrid HDD measuring just 5mm will make tables turn for the industry.

Unlike the rival HDD with cache SSD form of storage that combine two different physical drives into one unit along with software, hybrid HDDs are basically hard disk drives containing a built-in layer of NAND flash memory. Not only do hybrid HDDs offer a new way to store data, their thinner profile also would be ideal for even slimmer and lighter, next-generation Ultrabooks, the computing device that PC players are hoping would provide the best chance to win the war against tablets.

The hybrid HDD is obviously more compact than current 7mm drives. It can be swapped with older HDDs, is less expensive than pure solid state drives (SSDs), and can serve in a larger market than just Ultrabooks and SSD-based notebooks. For instance, thin hybrid HDDs can also be used in market segments such as the external HDD sector, all-in-one desktop PCs, gaming platforms and even tablet PC designs.

Shipments of hybrid HDDs are expected to surge by a factor of six in the course of four years, rising from 1.2 million units this year to 25 million units by 2016. In comparison, the rival HDD with cache SSD will see shipments rise at a slightly less expansive rate, climbing from 9.8 million units in 2012 to 64.2 million in 2016.

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Figure: Worldwide hybrid hard drive shipment forecast (Millions of Units)
Source: IHS iSuppli Research, Sept 2012.

Depending on the resulting performance of the hybrid HDD products now in development as well as their eventual price point, the 5mm hybrid HDD could potentially replace many conventional HDDs, including the 9.5mm and 7mm HDDs used in notebooks. All told, the potential market for 5mm hybrid HDDs could amount to more than 100 million units by 2016, which includes the market for notebooks that do not currently use pure SSDs, HDDs with cache SSD, or any form of hybrid HDD.

As such, the 5mm hybrid HDD could considerably revive the ailing notebook market and help it become competitive again. Both the storage industry and the PC market would benefit in the process.

With Ultrabooks next year expected to adopt the 5mm hybrid HDD as soon as the new storage media becomes available, more notebook PC manufacturers will initiate their own adoption of thin hybrid HDDs, IHS iSuppli forecasted.

Consumers will also reap significant improvements on their end, including�a more efficient PC form factor, lower power consumption and greater cost-performance value.

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