June 29, 2005 2:27 PM PDT

Home storage to bolster hard-drive growth

Storing all of those digital photos and on-demand TV shows on your computer should keep sales brisk for hard-drive manufactures for at least the next four years, a new study has shown.

Research firm IDC's "Worldwide Hard Disk Drive 2005-2009 Forecast," released Wednesday, shows that the number of drives shipped worldwide and the resulting profits should increase at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5 percent and 10.1 percent respectively from 2004 to 2009.

Consumer devices with disk drives smaller than 2.5-inches, such as MP3 players, handheld global positioning systems, computers in automobiles and portable media players, are expected to be the fastest-growing category, with a worldwide shipment increase of 37.4 percent during that period.

But when it comes to storage capacity for PCs and media players, bigger is better with consumers, said David Reinsel, director for Storage Research at IDC.

"What is it that will fill up their drives? You figure a couple of gigabytes for music and a couple more for photos," Reinsel said, noting that more PCs are shipping with 80GB hard drives instead of the 40GB machines that came out a few years ago.

Reinsel also said that hard disk drives could reach 1 terabyte in capacity sometime in 2007 to 2008, thanks in part to the industry's transition to perpendicular magnetic recording, or PMR. Instead of lying flat, the disc is magnetized so that the bits stand on end. The result is a disc drive that could hold almost double the amount of data of current designs. Seagate, Western Digital, Maxtor, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Toshiba and Samsung have all subscribed to the new PMR design.

"We could get to 2 terabytes by 2009, but it is more likely that it will be a stronger adoption of 1-terabyte machines for things like a TiVo or digital video players," Reinsel said. "Customers want their media whenever they want it. It's not that they have a fear of losing it that is holding people back from adopting 2 terabytes, but fear of not having enough space to record their favorite episode."

Reinsel said 3.5-inch drives found in desktop and laptop PCs will continue to make up the lion's share of the 630 million hard disk drives IDC is forecasting will ship over the next year. The next largest category is 2.5-inch drives, which the analyst predicts will end up in different designs such as placing a motherboard behind the display screen or sub-towers like the Mac Mini.

5 comments

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Could be....
.... I've got over 2.5 TB of hard drive space now, but it takes about
18 drives to do it. I'd love to have a couple of 2 TB hard drives to
work with, plus two more for back-up.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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Re: backup
Backing up to terabyte drives is certainly the most convenient. However, I just got an email this week from a family who lost a lot of equipment due to a lightning strike near their house. They had surge protectors - but they were not protected against such an event.

I wonder if people are going to take that into consideration as they configure the high storage systems in their future.
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Link Flag
Consumer storage needs may be underestimated
In this article, the writer talks about the consumer maybe needing a couple of gigabytes.

I know in our house, we've already exceeded 10 gigabytes of music that we've ripped from CDs we own or downloaded from freely distributable podcasts, etc.

Right now, our digital photo needs are minimal - the one digital camera we have is in a phone, and that one is using an online photo album to save his photos. But the kids have been getting digital copies of the 35mm film they have taken, and digital still / video cameras are coming soon, I suspect, to my family, and many gigabytes will be used for that.

And then there's DVR storage needs - I really need a huge disk for archival purposes for shows we've
recorded on tivo.
Posted by lwvirden (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think the article said...
.... terabytes, not gigabytes. A couple of gigabytes in today's world
isn't even bait.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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