2.5's for Everything
At the same time I was writing this article, a little piece of news popped up in the TweakTown news section. An Amazon site leaked some information on the new ASUS Eee 1001P "in between" note/netbook. I am still not sure what to call these, but I am sure the spinners at CES will come up with a catchy term for us to recite over and over again for the next year. What interests me about the Eee 1001P is the 160GB HDD spec that was shown. Seagate is launching a 2.5 inch form factor, 7mm tall drive that is designed for In Between Books and comes in 160GB. Seagate is also launching these drives at CES, so I wonder .
ASUS isn't the only company jumping into this new market segment, but they are one of the first to have their secrets leaked. I think these new 300-450 Dollar products will be quite popular. My mother is already researching these new devices for use in her college classes. I hate to say it, but my mother doesn't understand the difference between system memory and HDD space, so if she is already researching these then this is the worst kept secret of 2009.
The bread and butter of the 2.5 inch FF market, the 9mm drives will branch out to many new sectors. QNAP has already released two NAS servers that use 9mm, 2.5 inch drives. SSDs are going to continue to invade both notebook and enthusiast desktop systems as well. The Corsair Obsidian 800D has support for 2.5 inch HDDs of all heights and the Proware miniEPICa DAS enclosure that we are reviewing next week also accepts 2.5 inch drives of all sizes.
More consumer products that utilize the 2.5 inch form factor are scheduled to be launched at CES, but you will have to wait for more of TweakTown's CES coverage to see those.
The 12.5 and 15mm drives are already wildly successful in the server market. Many companies are marketing servers with dedicated pages just for products that use 2.5 inch drives. In the above image we see a 2U rack mount server case that holds 24 2.5 inch drives. Typical 2U servers that use 3.5 inch FF drives can only hold 8. When you calculate that out to a 42U rack, the difference comes out to 168 3.5 inch drives or 504 2.5 inch drives. If a company was using 168 2TB drives, they would have 336TB of space. If they were using Western Digital's Scorpio Blue 1TB 2.5 inch 12.5mm drives, they would have 504TB of data storage space.
The Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB was designed and marketed as a consumer product, but that really just goes to show how far 2.5's have trickled down. Just last year 12.5 and 15mm drives were almost exclusively 10 and 15K SAS that sold for 400+ USD per drive.
I have yet to see or test the Scorpio Blue 1TB, but it is not because we haven't tried to get one in for a review. Our source at Western Digital tells us that the reason we have yet to even see a 1TB Scorpio Blue is because they are selling like crazy to OEMs. The press release that went out announcing the new king of 2.5 capacities stated that the Scorpio Blue 1TB would be available for around 250 USD retail. Apparently no one told Dell they are only listing the Scorpio Blue for sale in cases of 40 and that will set your back 12,491.99 USD or 312.30 Dollars each!