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2.5 vs 3.5 HDD

There are two form factors of hard drive which are 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch. But as for 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD, what are their differences and which one is better? We analyzed several posts and what we have learned is listed in this post. This post from MiniTool will show you some differences between 2.5 HDD and 3.5 HDD.

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Hard drive is an indispensable part of the computer since it ensures that that computer runs normally. The hard drive is used to store all files and the operating system on the computer.

Hard drives generally come into two different form factors which are 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch. By the way, the form factor of hard disks denotes the diameter of the disk platter inside the hard disk. With different form factors, 2.5 HDD and 3.5 HDD also have some differences. So, in the following section, we will show you the differences between 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD.

2.5 VS 3.5 HDD: What Are the Differences?

In this part, we will show the differences between 2.5 HDD vs 3.5 HDD.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Size

The most obvious difference between 3.5 vs 2.5 HDD is the hard drive size. The 2.5 inch HDD is normally around 3 inches wide, whereas the 3.5 inch HDD is around 4 inches wide in diameter.

On the whole, the 2.5 inch HDDs are smaller in length, width and height than the 3.5-inch HDDs. They are also designed to be compact so that their thin dimension can be put to maximum advantage where less space is available.

In conclusion, the weight of 2.5 inch HDDs is much less than 3.5 inch HDDs. And with time goes by, the size of hard disk is decreasing and the 2.5 inch HDDs are newer than the 3.5 inch HDDs. One thing you also need to pay attention to is that only these two form factors exist in the HDD market while the older and larger ones are now obsolete.

2.5 inch HDD and 3.5 inch HDD

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Application

The second difference between HDD 2.5 vs 3.5 we will mention is the application of the hard disk.

In general, the 2.5 inch HDDs are used in the laptop, while the 3.5 inch HDDs are mostly used in desktop computers and Servers.

However, this does not mean that 2.5 inch HDDs cannot be installed in desktop computers. If you want to install the 2.5 inch HDDs on the desktop computers, an adapter is required, which allows the 2.5 inch HDDs to be converted so that its interface is like a 3.5 inch HDDs.

In addition to being used in laptops, the 2.5 inch HDDs also have more applications. The 2.5 inch hard drive is the standard size of large capacity SSD drives and also the standard size for portable external HDD.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Power

As for the 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD, their power consumption or power rating is another major difference. The 2.5 inch HDD has smaller mechanical parts, thus consuming less power than the 3.5 inch hard drives even though they are with similar specifications. Besides, the read and write power rating of 2.5 inch HDDs is around half of the read and write power rating of 3.5 inch HDDs with similar specifications.

However, power consumption is not a major problem of desktop computers, so the 3.5 inch HDDs are used in desktop computers without any restraint considering the power consumption.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Cache Size

Another difference between 2.5 HDD vs 3.5 HDD is the cache or disk buffer that is able to reduce the access time. Hard drive is equipped with the cache that makes the data transfer in and out much more efficient and reduces the data access time.

As for 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD, the 3.5 inch HDD generally has a higher cache size as compared to the same 2.5 inch HDD for the same price tag.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: RPM

Here, we will show you the fifth difference between 2.5 vs 3.5 HD. It is the RPM, whose full name is the Revolutions Per Minute, which is a measure of the speed of rotation of the disks inside of the HDDs. You can also call it the spin speed of the disks.

In general, the HDDs use standard spin speeds of 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM. (For more differences of 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM, you can read the post: 5400 RPM vs 7200 RPM: Is RPM Still Important?)

There is no doubt that the higher the RPM, the faster would be the performance of the hard disk. As for 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD, although both of them support the PRMs mentioned in the above, it is easier for 3.5 inch HDDs to have great spin speeds than the 2.5 inch HDDs because of their higher power consumption and physical dimensions.

hard disk structure

So, as for the revolutions per minute, the 3.5 inch HDD would be better than the 2.5 inch hard drives.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Storage Capacity

When it comes to hard drive storage capacity, it would an essential factor to consider because large capacity of hard drive is able to store more files and data.

Generally speaking, 3.5 inch HDDs have far greater range of storage capacities than the 2.5 inch HDDs. Through comparison, you can find that the maximum storage capacity available in 3.5 inch HDDs is around twice than the storage capacity of 2.5 inch HDDs.

So, if you want to store more files and data, the 3.5 inch HDDs would be a better choice.

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2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Data Transfer Speed

Besides the hard drive storage capacity, the data transfer speed is also another important factor to consider especially when purchasing a hard drive for computer. The data transfer speed is a measure of how fast the data can be read from the HDD or written to the HDD.

Usually, the data transfer speed of 3.5 inch HDDs is greater than the 2.5 inch HDDs. One of the reasons is that the 3.5 inch HDD can hold more sectors per track on the disk platter.

So, if the spin speed is the same, as for 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD, 3.5 inch HDD can read more sectors than 2.5 inch HDD so that it can transfer more data and files.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Price

As for selecting 2.5 inch HDD or 3.5 inch HDD, the prices of these two hard drives should be considered. Compared with 3.5 inch HDDs, the 2.5 inch HDD is more expensive because the 2.5 inch HDDs have the following features:

  • Tighter and smaller construction.
  • Complex design making it consuming less power.

So, with these features, the 2.5 inch HDD would be more difficult to design so it is more expensive.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Shock Resistance

The ninth difference between 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD is the shock resistance. The laptop is equipped with HDDs that are more shock resistant. So, the 2.5 inch HDD is more shock resistant than 3.5 inch HDD. In addition, 2.5 inch HDD may also be equipped with accelerometers which can detect that HDD is dropped and immediately cause the HDD to park its heads to minimize the damage from the shock.

If the hard drive is broken due to the physical damage, the data and files on it will lose and it will not be recovered. So, the factor of hard drive shock resistance is also important.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD: Adapters

The last difference between 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD is the hard drive adapters. The 2.5 inch HDD can be used on the 3.5’’ chassis using the hard drive adapter, which the 3.5 inch HDD cannot be used on the 2.5’’ chassis.

Besides, you can install a 2.5 inch HDD in a 3.5’’ slot while you can’t install a 3.5 inch HDD in the 2.5’’ slot.

2.5 inch HDD adapter

As for 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD, this post has introduced 10 aspects including the hard drive size, hard drive application, hard drive power consumption, cache size, RPM, storage size, data transfer speed, price, shock resistance, and the adapter in the above part. From the above information, you should have known which one is better.

In addition, for laptops or portable hard disks, the 2.5 inch HDD is recommended. For desktop computers and Servers, the 3.5 inch HDD makes perfect sense. So, you can decide to choose which one is suitable for you according to the above factors.

This post showed the differences between 2.5 inch HDD and 3.5 inch HDD in several aspects. I’d like to share it with more friends. Click to tweet

Replace Hard Drive Without Data Loss

As we have mentioned in the above part, hard drive is an essential part of the computer. A larger hard drive is able to store more files and get better performance. So, some people want to replace the hard drive with a new 2.5 inch hard drive or a new 3.5 inch hard drive.

So, if you want to upgrade to a larger hard drive or upgrade HDD from 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch without data loss, what can you do?

It is possible for you to upgrade the hard drive without data loss. Therefore, in the following section, we will show you how to upgrade computer hard drive without data loss.

To upgrade computer hard drive, MiniTool ShadowMaker is strongly recommended. It is a piece of SSD cloning software and a USB clone tool, which can upgrade hard drive or clone OS to another hard drive without data loss.

So, in the following part, we will show you how to upgrade hard drive from 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch without data loss.

Now, here is the tutorial.

1. Click the following button to download MiniTool ShadowMaker or you can choose to purchase an advanced edition.

Free Download

2. Install it on your computer.

3. Launch it.

4. Click Keep Trial.

5. Click Connect in This Computer to enter its main interface.

click Connect in This Computer to enter its main interface

6. After entering its main interface, go to Tools page.

7. Then click Clone Disk to continue.

click Clone Disk

8. Then click Source module to choose disk clone source. You can choose the original system disk as the disk clone source and then click Finish.

select disk clone source

9. Click Destination module to choose a target disk and then click Finish.

select the target disk

10. Then you will receive a warning message which tells you that all data on the target disk will be destroyed during the disk clone process. If you have important files on it, back up them first.

11. Then the disk cloning process will begin. The costing time depends on the number of files on the hard disk. Please do not interrupt the disk clone process until it is finished.

start to clone disk

When the disk clone process is finished, you will receive a warning message which tells you that the original disk and target disk have the same signature. You need to remove or disconnect either of them. Besides, if you want to boot computer from the target disk, change the BIOS settings first.

read the warning message

When all steps are finished, you have upgraded hard drive to a larger one or upgraded hard drive from 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch.

Bottom Line

As for 2.5 vs 3.5 HDD, this post shows their differences focusing on 10 aspects. If you have different idea with 2.5 HDD and 3.5 HDD, you can share it in the comment zone.

If you have any problem with MiniTool ShadowMaker, please feel free to contact us via the emai [email protected] and we will reply to you as soon as possible.

2.5 vs 3.5 HDD FAQ

✳️Is 2.5 or 3.5 hard drive better?
2.5 inch HDD and 3.5 inch HDD have different specifications. Both of them have their specific features and you can read the above part to learn more. The 2.5 inch is mostly used in laptop and the 3.5 inch HDD is mostly used in desktop computer and Servers.
?Are 2.5 or 3.5 drives slower?
Even in the best situation, the 2.5 inch HDD will be a minimum of 25% slower. That is true the outer sectors of a 3.5 inch HDD will be faster, but the middle will be the same. The middle of a 3.5 inch HDD would be faster than a 2.5 inch HDD.
❇️Can I use 2.5 HDD on a desktop?
In general, the 2.5 inch HDD is usually used for laptops. However, the 2.5 inch HDD can also be used on a desktop computer as long as you use the adapter.
?What does 2.5 hard drive mean?
2.5 hard drive means that the hard drive is 2.5 inches in length. The 2.5 inch hard drive is usually used in laptop computers.
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