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The number one hard drive manufacturer predicts the future of the desktop and notebook hard drive markets

There has been a quiet battle between the desktop and notebook PC markets the last few years, a battle that will no doubt end with the mobile market taking over the desktop scene. Technological advances in computing are producing faster, more powerful components in smaller packages and manufacturing these parts are becoming cheaper due to improvements in processes.

It's also no secret that the average consumer wants everything in the palm of their hands, ready to go wherever they need to go, and able to fit in the smallest of spaces while still being able to perform like their desktop counterparts. For this reason we can expect to see a decrease in desktop sales while notebook and mobile computing products are taken off the shelves more quickly.

Recent market data analysis from Seagate Technology details what the hard disk drive industry expects in the near future. According to Seagate, the company claims there was a 20% increase in the number of desktop drives shipped from 2000 to 2007, roughly 120 million and 150 million respectively.

On the other hand, notebook hard disk drive shipments show a 400% increase in shipments from 25 million in 2000 to roughly 100 million in 2007. According to Seagate, though the growth of notebook drive shipments has since slowed down we should still expect to see a 200% increase in drive shipments from now until 2011 where the number of notebook drives in the hands of consumers will surpass the number of desktop drives out there.

With the shift from desktops to the notebook computers in mind, Seagate drew a speculative roadmap which shows the percentage of each of the various notebook hard disk drive capacities shipping throughout the world on a quarterly basis until the 2nd half of 2011. Seagate hints at 500GB notebook drives in the 2nd quarter of 2008 while 750GB and 1TB drives are predicted to penetrate the market in the late-2010/early-2011 time frame.

Currently, Seagate's latest mobile hard drive line, the 5400.4 Momentus series, tops out at 250GB. Seagate's 250GB notebook drive is a latecomer among manufacturers such as Samsung, Western Digital and even Hitachi with its current financial troubles.

Seagate is even further behind the competition in capacity with recent launches of the 320GB notebook drive from Toshiba. However, that has not stopped Seagate from earning the number 2 spot in notebook hard drive sales according to a Seagate's research group.

The gap between desktop and mobile drive capacities is narrowing very quickly with new developments in nanotechnology and platter density.  As far as drive capacity goes, desktop drives will always take the crown, but the desktop PC market stands no chance against the demand of the consumer for mobile and ultra-mobile devices.

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Seagate is forgetting something
By amanojaku on 1/18/2008 1:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Notebook drives aren't the only 2.5" drives on the market. It's true that notebook drives will probably replace desktop drives as capacities and performance increase, and prices drop. Let's not forget SAS and SSD drives, however. 2.5" drives, whatever the technology, should replace 3.5". Less power, less space, less heat, less noise. Just make them as good or better than their larger siblings.

RE: Seagate is forgetting something
By KristopherKubicki on 1/18/2008 1:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sort of with you on this. I think by 2011 we'll see a lot of SSD integrated right onto the motherboard -- the hard drive will just be "axillary" or backup storage.

By Capsaicin on 1/18/2008 2:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
I could see this for systems like Dell's MediaDirect or custom integrated solutions rather than a typical PC. I think we'll still have separate disks for traditional "full OS install" scenarios (and HDDs for mass storage if the OS is on a SSD).

RE: Seagate is forgetting something
By TomZ on 1/18/2008 2:50:52 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you about that. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to put a pile of flash on the other end of a PATA or SATA link. It makes more sense to map it more directly into the memory and/or i/o space of the processor itself. After all, that has the advantages of lowering cost, lowering complexity, and increasing performance A LOT. And who is not for those things?

RE: Seagate is forgetting something
By blowfish on 1/20/2008 10:18:08 AM , Rating: 4
I like that - axillary - meaning you'd have a2.5" drive under each armpit!

By codeThug on 1/20/2008 2:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
good joke.

I don't think too many people got it...

RE: Seagate is forgetting something
By TomZ on 1/18/2008 2:13:06 PM , Rating: 4
1. 2.5" drives will only replace 3.5" drives when the cost to manufacture (and sell) is less than or equal to the cost, which is not the case today. In other words, there is practically zero benefit for most desktops (excepting SFF computers of course).

2. The benefits of SSD are most compelling for mobile computers compared to desktop application. Therefore, I think you'll see their use being "few and far between" for desktop machines (3.5" replacements) for the next couple of years, despite them gaining some traction in the mobile computer space.

3. SSDs are far behind magnetic HDDs in terms of cost and capacity, and therefore far, far behind in terms of cost/GB. While this is predicted to narrow to as low as 3X over the next 5 years, that is still a pretty significant difference. Therefore, I think that SSDs will continue to be used in niche and high-end systems only for the next several years, while magnetic HDDs - today's and tomorrow's - will continue to own the bulk of both the desktop and laptop markets.

SSDs are very cool from a tech/nerd standpoint, however, its own cost and competition from traditional HDDs is going to cause SSD volumes to grow slower than most of us would like to see.

RE: Seagate is forgetting something
By Haltech on 1/18/2008 2:51:29 PM , Rating: 1
If I could get a 200gb SSD for under $350 then I be right on board but until then

RE: Seagate is forgetting something
By Christopher1 on 1/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Seagate is forgetting something
By TomZ on 1/19/2008 4:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
Possibly, but they would probably carry a $5K price tag, which makes them pretty irrelevant for 99.9% of potential customers.

By radzer0 on 1/18/2008 2:53:50 PM , Rating: 2
Failures are getting more and more with cheaper drives being put into new machines. Also the fact there are alot more "old" 5+yr laptops around that because the speed is decent alot of people still find use in them.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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