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Hitachi revs up new hard drives for cars

Two models for cars are designed for tough duty, and a slim hard drive for entertainment offers high storage capacity. Photos: Hitachi hard drives

As cars become more computerized--offering such features as navigation, multimedia and communications systems--the gear that goes into them is becoming better designed for the rigors of the road.

With that notion in mind, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced Friday that it will offer two new hard drives designed specifically to handle the jostle of a bumpy, swervy ride.

Hitaci hard drives

The Endurastar J4K50 is designed to withstand temperatures as low as minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 185 degrees, and can operate at altitudes ranging from 300 meters below sea level to 5,000 meters above. The Enduraster N4K50 is designed to operate at temperatures ranging from minus 3 degrees to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and at altitudes up to 3,000 meters, according to Hitachi GST.

Both car drives have a maximum storage capacity of 50GB and are designed to withstand relatively hard shocks from vibration and other motion, according to the company. Fluid dynamic bearings are used in the motors, as opposed to ball bearings, for more stable operation.

Hitachi GST also announced a slimmer addition to its CinemaStar hard drive line that will fit in slender digital video recorders, according to the company.

The CinemaStar C5K160 features a 2.5-inch disk drive with a capacity of 160GB. The drive uses "perpendicular" storage technology, which stacks bits vertically rather than on a flat plane, allowing more data to fit on the disk. The drive also requires only 5 volts of direct current, as opposed to the 12 volts required for some 3.5-inch drives. The CinemaStar C5K160 will be available in the first half of 2007, according to a company statement.

Pricing for these three drives will be announced closer to their release date, according to a Hitachi GST spokeswoman. The company said that the car drives will be available for after-market installation, not just as factory-installed options on new vehicles.