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Western Digital will next month ship in volume what it claims is the most reliable enterprise-oriented Serial ATA hard drive.

The 400GB WD Caviar RE2 is rated for a mean time between failure of 1.2m hours, the manufacturer said - and that's in "high duty-cycle environments", by which it means 100 per cent 24 x 7 operation. Like all of WD's enterprise-class drives, the new model is covered by a five-year warranty.

The unit incorporates WD's Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF) mechanism, which compensates for the hazards of operating in vibration-prone environments such as multi-drive rack-mounted servers and NAS boxes. It also features WD's Time-Limited Error Recovery (TLER) system, a RAID-specific technique that "prevents drive fallout caused by the extended hard drive error-recovery processes common to desktop drives". It does so by co-ordinating error handling with the host's RAID controller.

The four-platter drive spins at 7200rpm and incorporates 16MB of cache memory. It supports native command queuing. WD said it has an average seek time of 8.7ms. The average latency is 4.2ms. ®

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