The ensmallening of spinning media…

I remember 5.25″ hard drives. They were around for a surprisingly long time.

I remember “full height” 3.5″ hard drives. (All 3.5″ drives today are about 1″ high. This is, I think, called half height.) I’ve also seen a slimline 3.5″ drive, which was really neat. I think the one I saw was a 2GB SCSI drive, and it was a replacement for a full height 3.5″ drive. Which accentuated the contrast.

I remember 8″ floppies. I never used ’em though. I did use 5.25″ floppies a lot in my Apple ][ clone, and my first PC. (An Amstrad PC1512.)

I reckon 3.5″ hard drives will only be around another couple of years. They’re being attacked by 2.5″ hard drives from below and above, and by 2.5″ SSDs from the side.

That is, all the fast (10K, 15K) hard drives nowadays seem to be 2.5″.

And at the cheap end, 2.5″ hard drives are getting bigger and bigger capacities. I know that 2TB 3.5″ drives exist, but so do 500GB 2.5″ drives. This gap will shrink.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are SSDs, which are all 2.5″, as far as I can tell. Even that form factor is only for backwards compatibility. A new form factor specially for SSDs will appear once rotational media is dead.

I for one welcome our new non-spinning media. (I’m sure there’s a pun in there…)

Soon the only 3.5″ drives about will be 7200rpm SATA drives. These will be for people who want capacity above all else. And the alternative will be SSD: for people who want IOPS and/or a small form factor. And, eventually, SSDs will eat spinning media.

I won’t miss them. Spinning drives will go the way of tape. Indeed, they might only be used as a replacement for tape.

I just wish Seagate and all the other hard drive makers (both of them!) would darn well get into the business of making SSDs and start competing with Intel already. Those X25-Ms and -Es are just too expensive. Delicious, but too expensive and too small. Roll on competition.

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One Response to “The ensmallening of spinning media…”

  1. Sam Says:

    Flash will definitely be the storage medium of the future, but it is still some ways off before maturity. You can easily get a 500GB hard drive for under $100, but a similar SSD would cost you thousands. I can’t wait until spinning hard drives are no more, they are unreliable and slow.

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