Mechanical hard drives are getting as thin from 9.5mm thickness form factor as sales and demand of 5mm and 7mm thick counterpart along with ultrabooks, tablets, ultra thin PCs and all-in-one desktop systems are increasing. The 5mm and 7mm are also lighter, adding to advantage over the current 9.5mm thick drives.
The combined demand for 5mm and 7mm HDDs is predicted to touch 133 Million units by 2017, whereas 9.5mm thick HDDs will go down to 79 Million during the same time. The adoption of Hybrid drives have also increased (a recent review was put up lately) where NAND is embedded on the HDD to ensure quicker than traditional HDD’s boot and application load timings.
Even though it is being said that the total SSD shipments will increase 90% to 64.6 Million units and mechanical counterparts going down 5% to 545 Million units, the newer formfactor HDDs could try to make up for the loss by being used in tablets and ultra thin PCs.
The storage system analyst for IHS said,”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 performance – important variables in an age that emphasizes smaller form factors as well as optimal speed at affordable prices. Both the thinner HDDs along with hybrid HDDs could even start finding acceptance in ultra-thin PCs and tablet PCs – two 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.”
WD said that they would be shipping the thinnest 1TB drive with 7mm thick form factor under their ‘Blue’ label, which would be used by Acer and Asustek in their ultra thin systems. In response, Seagate said that they will be shipping 5mm 500GB thick HDDs to Asustek, Dell and Lenovo.
WD, Seagate and also Toshiba have been working on 7mm SSHD for a while now, but Toshiba until now only had 750GB 9.5mm thick SSHD until now.