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Apr 13, 2012

Intel Wants HDDs of 5mm Thickness

Once in a while, a new product type shows up, which somehow gets enough backing that the industry segment it is part of has to change to some extent as well. 

Intel could be said to be running an advertising campaign for ultrabooks all on its own, even though there are plenty of PC makers who sell such things. 

Meanwhile, people haven't really been buying them all that much, but the Santa Clara, Calfornia-based company is nothing if not determined. 

Thus, instead of the item type losing support because of the lack of appropriate components, the PC industry had to come up with new things to suit them. 

Intel is now lobbying for a new breakthrough: hard disk drives with a thickness of just 5mm. 

That's right, the company wants storage suppliers to come up with super-thin, platter-based storage units. Somehow. 

Nevermind that Western Digital barely managed to create 7mm ones and considers the feat a great accomplishment (and let's be fair, it really is). 

For the HDDs that Intel wants, a new SATA interface would have to be made, about a quarter of the size of the existing SATA. It will also be moved from the center of the drive to the corners. 

All in all, the 5mm HDDs would be 28% smaller, volume-wise, than current 2.5-inch drives and still attain 1 TB capacity by 2015. 

At present, there are solid state drives thin enough for the sort of super-thin laptops that Intel envisions. 

However, setting aside just how expensive they are compared to HDDs, 128 GB or 256 GB just isn't enough space to go around. 

Sure, an external hard disk drive can make up for that, but the whole point of ultrabooks is to have an easy to carry laptop at all times, and needing extra baggage sort of clashes with the concept. 

All in all, 2015 is a realistic enough time frame and, even though it will be impossible to have more than one platter in the new HDDs, increasing data density should make up for it.


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