Are 3.5 inch SSD drives available? Why so many 2.5inch versions?


Solution 1

It is cheaper to produce just one version, instead of two. 2.5" variants can be used in laptops and desktop computers which makes them more flexible. The 3.5" versions could only be used in desktop computers.

The technology easily fits into a 2.5" case. There is no need to “artifically” produce a bigger case than necessary.

Solution 2

There are 3.5" SSDs available, but they are not common:

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The 2.5" form factor presents a lot of benefits when compared to 3.5" ones: they are smaller, lighter and cheaper (require less materials to manufacture such as aluminum and plastic). Even though, 2.5" generally offers the same features such as speed and data capacity like the 3.5" ones.

Also, thinking of HDDs (this does not apply to SSDs), it also has increased energy efficiency (less power consumption):

enter image description here

So regarding costs and benefits, there are no reasons to keep SSDs (even HDDs) in a default 3.5" form factor, but if you really want to install a 2.5" SSD or HDD into your desktop, you could just use an 3.5" adapter such as this:

enter image description here

Solution 3

As @Marco already mentioned, it a simple design choice. If it fits in a 2.5" case, why make it bigger?

Even for desktops, smaller is better: Using an adapter, you can easily fit two 2.5" SDDs in a 3.5" slot.

That being said, there are some 3.5" SSDs. For example, 3.5" SATA III OCZ and 3.5" SATA II OCZ.


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Updated on September 18, 2022


  • blippy
    blippy 3 months

    I want an SSD SATAIII because to me it represents the best combination of quietest & fastest. But there doesn't seem to be much choice relative to 2.5" variants or non-SSD 3.5".

    I feel like there's something I'm not aware of. Why are desktop SSD drives not commonplace?

    • Urs Reupke
      Urs Reupke over 10 years
      Brendan, it certainly is not. My current Samsung (last year's model) came without an adapter.
  • LawrenceC
    LawrenceC over 10 years
    Reminds me when I would try to keep around the 3.5"-to-5.25" brackets just in case I wanted to put a HDD in a CD-ROM drive bay. Guess you could cascade two adapters if you wanted to put a 2.5" in a 5.25" bay.
  • Ramhound
    Ramhound over 10 years
    Most cases made recently feature a built-in adapter for their 3.5" slots. Failing that most SSD drives come with an adapater of their own. The adapater show by Diogo is overkill but effective.
  • ganesh
    ganesh over 10 years
    +1 for “The technology easily fits into a 2.5" case. There is no need to artificially produce a bigger case than necessary.“. Brief yet to the point
  • Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight
    Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight over 10 years
    @Ramhound tool-less models always look over-engineered compared to the alternative which can just be a piece of sheet metal with two 90* bends, 4 holes on the outside to secure to the case, and 4 holes on the bottom to hold the drive.
  • user
    user over 10 years
    You are comparing apples to oranges in the power consumption comparison. Considering the higher motor speed as well as increased turbulence, I wouldn't be surprised if that alone accounts for most of the power usage difference between the two drives you compare (MBF2600RC 10krpm 2.5", 7.1W; MBA3147RC 15krpm 3.5", 12.4W). Sure, the larger platters are going to need a somewhat stronger motor, which translates to more power used, but at least make a reasonable comparison. Comparing a 2.5" 10krpm drive to a 3.5" 15krpm one isn't, if you want to make a point about power usage in 2.5" vs 3.5".
  • Diogo
    Diogo over 10 years
    @MichaelKjörling I agree, but it was the only comparision that I found to post here.
  • Joe
    Joe over 10 years
    The smaller drive may even allow more air flow/cooling in a case than a 3.5" one would.
  • Joe
    Joe over 10 years
    Dennis - I was thinking of the whole box, not the drive in particular.
  • Sun
    Sun about 8 years
    I am thinking once SSD come in bigger sizes, the components required may be too big to fit in a 2.5" form factor. Perhaps a 8TB SSD may require a 3.5" form factor.
  • Thomas Weller
    Thomas Weller about 7 years
    If the "technology easily fits into 2,5 inch", why can't I buy a 8 TB SSD? It seems to me as if it doesn't fit...
  • Marco
    Marco about 7 years
    @Thomas 4TB SSDs are available today and 8TB and 16TB SSDs are already announced and will be available soon. All in 2.5" format.
  • Thomas Weller
    Thomas Weller about 7 years
    Whatever the capacity is, a 3,5" should be available in much higher capacity, due to the physical volume which can be filled.
  • Code Jockey
    Code Jockey almost 7 years
    @marco - seems to me (as Thomas also says) that they could fit a good chunk of chips into a 3.5" form factor and have a 20TB "desktop" SSD available. Except for lifespan, which is being upped by tech advances, I for one would prefer a large capacity 3.5" SSD (maybe using cheaper chips?) over a smaller capacity slim drive for my NAS server. Seems 4-10 times as many regular (older) MLC NAND (not 3D or even TLC) crammed into a 5-10TB drive at a 3.5" form factor, parallelized to increase speed, and maybe even some mirroring, could compete with HDDs in every category right now(?)
  • d-b
    d-b over 2 years
    Doesn't that adapter require two connectors/cables? And that prevents you from maximizing the storage capacity?