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HGST hoiks out Death Valley-proof hi-cap HDD

Ruggedised drive intended for satnavs and in-car ents

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HGST has introduced a disk drive to stop you getting lost in Death Valley.

Cars and disk drives mix surprisingly well - so long as you ruggedise the drive so the head and platter can move each move around a bit, taking vibration and temperature changes into account, while still being able to read data. Today's satnav and entertainment systems in SUVs, saloons and 4x4s need disk drive capacity and affordability; flash being, well, too flash.

WD subsidiary HGST has brought out a new, high-capacity disk drive, the Endurastar J4K320, for such vehicular infotainment and telematics apps - video, audio, radio, navigation, connectivity, security services, and diagnostics.

It is a ruggedised 2.5-in single platter drive, spinning at a relatively slow 4,260rpm and using a basic 1.5Gbit/s SATA interface. The maximum areal density is 425Gbit/in2. It operates where cars go; at altitudes of up to 5,500 meters (18,044.62 feet) and an operating temperature range of -30°C to +85°C (-22°F to 185°F), a sufficient range of temperatures to cope with Death Valley in the summer and Alaska in the winter.

Its capacity starts at 80GB, and passes through 100, 200 and 250GB to a maximum of 320GB. HGST says this is its sixth generation Endurastar drive, and it must have injected the embryo with growth hormone because the thing has a had 220 per cent capacity jump over its 100GB J4K100 predecessor, with its 172Gbit/in2 areal density.

The drive's operating shock tolerance is 300G (2ms) and its non-operating shock tolerance is 800G (ms). HGST say this is okay for driving on gravel tracks and the like. OEMs like Mitsubishi Electronics are qualifying it and it'll likely appear in new cars towards the end of next year.

In high summer your sat-nav will then happily tell you to turn right on highway 190 for Stovepipe Wells and the Death Valley gas station – all without missing a beat in the hottest place on Earth. ®

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