As all-in-one desktop computers become the norm, that's also driving up demand for 2.5-inch hard drives, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli.
But as consumers (and manufacturers) gravitate towards more compact devices, that also means that the standard 3.5-inch hard disk drives are all but on the way out.
Besides its smaller form factor, the 2.5-inch hard disk drive also offers opportunities for lower power consumption and higher endurance. Beyond just all-in-one desktops, they're also typically found now in laptops, external hard drives, and enterprise servers and storage systems.
Fang Zhang, an analyst covering storage systems at IHS, explained in the report just why all-in-one desktop sales seem to be making the difference here:
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. Multiple all-in-one PCs have the potential to adopt 2.5-inch HDDs, including the iMac from Apple Inc., TouchSmart from Hewlett-Packard, Series 7 from Samsung Electronics, IdeaCentre from Lenovo, Top Touchscreen from Asus Eee and all-in-one desktops from Vizio and Acer.
Nevertheless, there is a downside to 2.5-inch hard drives: they cost more. Furthermore, they're currently considerably slower at at 5,400 revolutions per minute (rpm), compared to 7,200 rpm for the 3.5-inch.
Thus, the 3.5-inch HDD is probably safe for now. IHS analysts predict that the hard drive market for all-in-one PCs will continue to be dominated by 3.5-inch discs, with shipments by 2016 estimated at 31 million units. At the same time, they posit that growth will turn out to be much slower over the next four years than for 2.5-inch drives.
- Samsung leading AMOLED race while boosting small display market
- Nokia Lumia 900's bill of materials: $209
- Global semiconductor sales down 1.3 percent since February
- Samsung continues lead over LCD TV shipments in U.S.
- Smartphone, tablet sales driving mobile, touchscreen chip markets