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?

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    My SSD came with an adapter to put it in a standard 3.5" slot. I assumed this was standard. – Brendan Long Jul 18 '12 at 20:41
  • Brendan, it certainly is not. My current Samsung (last year's model) came without an adapter. – Urs Reupke Jul 19 '12 at 8:21

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.

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    +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 – Hennes Jul 18 '12 at 14:23
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    @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. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Jul 18 '12 at 15:09
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    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... – Thomas Weller Oct 8 '15 at 9:06
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    Whatever the capacity is, a 3,5" should be available in much higher capacity, due to the physical volume which can be filled. – Thomas Weller Oct 8 '15 at 9:36
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    @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(?) – Code Jockey Feb 12 '16 at 19:34

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

enter image description here

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

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    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. – LawrenceC Jul 18 '12 at 13:33
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    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". – a CVn Jul 19 '12 at 11:00
  • @MichaelKjörling I agree, but it was the only comparision that I found to post here. – Diogo Jul 19 '12 at 11:50
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    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. – Sun Sep 16 '14 at 17:07

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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  • The smaller drive may even allow more air flow/cooling in a case than a 3.5" one would. – Joe Jul 24 '12 at 20:39
  • Dennis - I was thinking of the whole box, not the drive in particular. – Joe Jul 25 '12 at 21:58

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