Ultrathin and tablet PCs to drive demand for thin hard drives

Ultrathin and tablet PCs to drive demand for thin hard drives

Summary: PCs can only go thin and light if components do so too, and IHS predicts that there will be an increasing demand for 5.0- and 7.0-millimeter HDDs and SSHDs over the coming years.

TOPICS: Storage

Interest in thin and light PCs will generate a healthy demand over the next few years for svelte hard drives.

Worldwide shipments of 5.0- and 7.0-millimeter HDDs found mobile PCs will hit 133 million units by 2017, up from just 5 million last year, according to a Storage Space Brief from analytics firm IHS.

The new class of ultraslim HDDs are expected to displace the much thicker 9.5-mm drives that are currently popular in mobile devices. Shipments of the thicker 9.5-mm HDDs for mobile PCs will be eroded to 79 million in 2017, down from 245 million units in 2012.

(Source: IHS)

Demand for hybrid HDDs, which combines an SSD with older HDD technology, is also expected to increase.

"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," said Fang Zhang, storage systems analyst at IHS.

"Both the thinner HDDs along with solid-state hybrid drives (SSHD) could even start finding acceptance in ultrathin 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."

This year, total SSD shipments will increase by almost 90 percent to 64.6 million units. Compare this to HDD, where shipments are expected to decline 5 percent to 545.8 million units. However, IHS believes that the new and thinner HDDs could help stem losses of hard disks, especially if "their costs can fall to 10-15 percent of a tablet or to 10-20 percent of an ultrathin PC," IHS believes.

All three of the storage players – Western Digital, Seagate, and Toshiba – either have, or are expected to have, thin HDDs and SSHD on the market, ready to take advantage of this wave.

Topic: Storage

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  • SSD and Hybrid, lots of luck

    You can keep your SSD and Hybrid SSD / hard drives. Until the make the technology better that you can recover something of data after the drive Brick's i wouldn't touch one of those drives with a 10' pole.
    • Whoa

      If you think your data is safer on an HD than a SSD, then you're barking up the wrong tree... Or just plain barking...
      Henry 3 Dogg
  • Stating the obvious?

    Did you think they would drive demand for thick hard drives?
    William Farrel
    • RE:Stating the obvious?

      Well unless you backup to the cloud religiously and let the NSA snope on you, where else you going to backup onto? Another SSD drive? Maybe a regular hard drive. At least when you use a regular hard drive it gives you fair amount of warning when it's going bad. On the SSD it just dies, so unless you're backing up every minute you are S.O.L.
  • Next Week

    Smartphones, tablets, and ultrathin PCs to drive demand for Smaller Screens!
  • Another use of super thin SSD's as I evolve my gear

    I moved to an Ultrabook, ultrathin PC about a half year ago that has a 128 GB SSD, quad core, 8 GB DDR3, touch screen, etc. Best move I ever made for speed, of course, but with Windows 8 and the setup from the manufacturer this is the best laptop/hybrid I have ever used. I can't understand the complaints. 5 hour plus battery life with all the software I need. I keep hearing about SSD's bricking, but all I hear is someone knows someone else with this experience. Nobody in my acquaintance knows who this someone else is and the newer SSD's have lab failure rates that are longer than anyone's lifetime. HOWEVER, the new, thinner SSD's will be able to be stacked in an ultrathin to allow RAID function and on-board mirroring for the fearful ones. That solves the bricking concern for them and will give me either a speed boost or double the storage with backup via NAS at home/office and cloud on the road. With the new/cheaper 1 TB SSD (and we all know that once that barrier was broken, 1 TB is just the beginning). I still like my iPad best as a tablet and/or reader. For me, nothing comes close. On the road, both the iPad and the Utrabook fit into my hotel room safe for physical security.
  • Stupid idea

    "...there will be an increasing demand for 5.0- and 7.0-millimeter HDDs and SSHDs"

    The SSD is probably only 1.5 mm thick anyway. Just throw the bulky case away.
    Henry 3 Dogg
  • The next Bond Movie...

    Bond: So, Q, your latest gadget is [grins] an iPhone?
    Q: Well, it's been tricked out a bit. See these clips on the side? The back comes off.
    Bond: Ahh. So, there's a set of lock picks, plastic explosive and detonator caps, all masked in a slightly thicker case? That doesn't go noticed, because people expect the added thickness of a phone case?
    Q: Yes, but you're missing the point Bond- THE BACK COMES OFF! You can change the battery yourself, or replace the hard drive if you want. God, I'm going to make a fortune selling this case on eBay!