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Thinner, Faster HDDs To Change Storage Market

El Segundo, Calif. – IHS iSuppli is forecasting a steep growth curve for the latest generation of thin hard disk drives.

The new 5mm and 7mm thick HDDs are intended for conventional laptops and desktops, but could eventually find their way into ultra thin laptops and tablets and possibly stem the HDD market share loss to solid state drives (SSD), said Fang Zhang, storage systems analyst at HIS.

The thinner drives will quickly replace the standard 9.5mm HDDs that now dominate the market.

Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba have all announced production of the smaller drives or a hybrid SSD/HDD version.

IHS’ forecast had 5 million of the thin HDDs shipping last year with the number leaping to 74 million in 2013. The number will jump to 99 million in 2014; 110 million in 2015; 115 million in 2016 and 133 million in 2017.

During this same period the number of 9.5mm HDDs shipped will decline from 245 in 2012 to 79 million in 2017.

Zhang believes the thinner drives with their lower price point and high performance could even reverse the HDD’s market share loss at the hands of SSDs.

This could happen especially if their costs can fall to 10-15 percent of a tablet or to 10-20 percent of an ultrathin PC, Zhang said.