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Ultrathin PCs, tablets drive demand for slender HDDs

Posted: 22 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ultrathin PC? tablets? HDD? SSD?

According to the latest forecast by IHS, a new generation of thin hard disc drives (HDD) 5mm and 7mm thick are predicted to post increasing sales in the coming years as mobile computers such as ultrathin PCs and tablets drive up demand by a factor of more than 25 from 2012 to 2017. The combined shipments of the HDDs used in mobile PCs will reach 133 million units by 2017, up from justfive million last year, added the market analytics firm.

Lighter in weight and thinner in breadth, the 5mm and 7mm models will form a new class of ultraslim HDDs that are forecast to eventually displace the much thicker 9.5mm drives that presently rule the industry. Shipments of the thicker 9.5mm HDDs for mobile PCs will deteriorate to 79 million in 2017, down from 245 million units in 2012.

Both the 5mm and 7mm HDD products will see increasing adoption starting this year, along with another form of storage device known as the hybrid HDD, in which a NAND flash component or so-called cache solid-state drive (SSD) is joined with the hard drive within a single storage enclosure.

"Use of these new thin HDDs and hybrid HDDs will proliferate because these devices are smaller in size and have the capability to improve overall storage performanceimportant variables in an age that emphasizes smaller form factors as well as optimal speed at affordable prices," said Fang Zhang, storage systems analyst at IHS. "Both the thinner HDDs along with hybrid HDDs could even start finding acceptance in ultrathin PCs and tablet PCstwo products that now mostly use solid-state drives as their storage element. Hard disks have lost market share to SSDs, which offer better performance and can be more easily used to achieve a thinner and lighter form factor crucial to tablets and ultrathin PCs."

This year, for instance, the total SSD shipments will climb nearly 90 per cent to 64.6 million units, while HDD shipments will decline five per cent to 545.8 million units. However, the new and thinner HDDs eventually could stem losses of the hard disc space, especially if their costs can fall to 10-15 per cent of a tablet or to 10-20 per cent of an ultrathin PC, IHS noted.

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