In Storage, Size Matters: What you need to know about SSD form factors

By Kent Smith on January 13, 2014, 1:44 AM

When hard disk drives initially made their way into microprocessor-based computers, they used magnetic platters up to 8 inches in diameter. Because that was the largest single component inside the HDD, it defined the minimum width of the HDD housing—the metal box around the guts of the drive.

When solid state drives first started replacing HDDs, they had to fit into computer chassis or laptop drive bays built for HDDs, so they had to conform to HDD dimensions. However, there’s no requirement for the SSD to match the shape of a typical HDD form factor and that's becoming more obvious as of late.

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User Comments: 16

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Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Nice article - haven't seen one talking about form factors. Thanks.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I just have mine hanging somewhere in the air below the DVD drive :eek:.

Guest said:

I just have mine hanging somewhere in the air below the DVD drive :eek:.

Haha, been there done that.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Velcro with heavy duty hooks (particularly plastic to plastic hooks) are a personal favorite for putting HDD's and SSD's places they were not meant to be. =)

Nice informative article, good to see the "odd form factors" on display.

howzz1854 said:

I can't wait for them to do away with the 3.5" HDD factor. trying to fit SSD inside those large 3.5" sucks. and waste of space. I've evern went with 2.5" HDD + SSD and have them sitting right below the Optical drive now. freed up those 3.5" drive bays for water pump and reservoir.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can't wait for them to do away with the 3.5" HDD factor.
I wish this as well, but I'm not looking forward to it until after 1TB SSD are below $100. And if they do it right they can drop the 2.5 inch form factor as well by mounting the SSD to the backside of the motherboard. With all the mass storage requirements and server farms, I doubt it will be anytime soon.

Guest said:

Well desktop drives are 3.5inch, laptop drives are 2.5inch but you can fit 2.5inch drives into 3.5inch bays using an adapter (and there generally cheaper) or if you got an awesome case like mine with pull out trays using mostly screwless design you do need to screw the drive to the tray unless you want it just hanging around, the screws are smaller but the thumb screws on the back of the case should be small enough to screw it in.

Everything you need to know about SSD sizes... done!

Guest said:

Great, thanks! I've learned something new.

Guest said:

Everything you need to know about SSD sizes... done!

Only if you don't take mSATA, M.2 and PCIe SSDs into account.

Guest said:

What, no discussion of z-height??? Huge failure.

howzz1854 said:

Well desktop drives are 3.5inch, laptop drives are 2.5inch but you can fit 2.5inch drives into 3.5inch bays using an adapter (and there generally cheaper) or if you got an awesome case like mine with pull out trays using mostly screwless design you do need to screw the drive to the tray unless you want it just hanging around, the screws are smaller but the thumb screws on the back of the case should be small enough to screw it in.

Everything you need to know about SSD sizes... done!

you missed my point. this isn't a thread about comparing our chasis. I was talking about the fact that one still need to make SSD fit into the now almost obsolete 3.5 cage with adaptor, strap, or whatever it is that you use. the industry should just do away with 3.5" altogether sometime soon.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

No mention of 5.25 drive bays that we use today actually being half-height bays. What difference does it make if the height was not mentioned? That was not the point of the article. The point of the article was that the diameter of platters no longer dictate the dimensions of storage media, and how the dimensions have already changed since the introduction of SSD.

JC713 JC713 said:

What is the point of mSATA when there is M.2?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wasn't M.2 basically a compatibility merger between both mSATA and mPCIe?

Chongler said:

Once the price comes down enough, what will stop Motherboards from being built with a 2-3 TB SSD Built right onto the motherboard?

waxbytes waxbytes said:

Once the price comes down enough, what will stop Motherboards from being built with a 2-3 TB SSD Built right onto the motherboard?

By that time 2 to 3 TB will be considered a "drive cache" for whatever next level of storage is..

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