Yeah you Coloradan's dont know cold. I do "winter" in shorts around here. It is like summer all year long.
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If you're truly worried about heat, shock, and vibration why not use an SSD? (That's Solid State Disk just in case you didn't know.) OCZ has a 32GB unit that boots XP in about 4 seconds and costs $160 last I checked.(Actually there's a $60 rebate available ATM, so $100.) Or go whole hog and grab a 128GB one... Absolute worst case? Snag a 2GB flash drive and run pseudo-embedded, with a cheap HD as your D: - that'd mean that even if your HD died you'd still have DVD, nav, and all the other basic functions, just your MP3's would be gone.
Failing that, at least for the heat/cold, there's not a lot you could do. Shock isn't that big an issue, and vibration can be lessened by jamming some foam pads alongside the HD mount.
Normal hard drive + car isn't really a great idea. Pretty much everything else can survive extremes of temp and vibration, though they may not WORK the whole time they'll survive. Laptop drives are built to accommodate greater extremes, but even then when your car hits human-killing extremes they tend to die too.
Desktop drives are a fine choice for cars and can last decades in the car environment. This is not some book knowledge rant but years of experiance including several installs and wrecks.
Like I said, shock isn't an issue so much. A single impulse such as, say, an accident, probably won't kill a hard drive unless it happens at precisely the wrong moment, and even then will likely only need a reformat rather than a replacement.
And you're wrong in that laptop drives are certified for far wider operating ranges of both shock and temperature than their desktop counterparts. Just a basic difference in intended use. How likely is someone to put their desktop in a car and run it? How likely is one to drop a full ATX case as opposed to a notebook?
Moreover, I've never heard of a desktop drive with an accelerometer cut-out to park the drive heads if dropped.
just for statistics: today i lost my 3,5" 250gb seagate desktop drive. It was mounted horizontally, dumped with 4 springs and some foam. Before i mounted i tried to simulate some bump and i saw the spring/foam system dumpening it quite well.
I live in italy, i had some bad start this winter when temperature goes under -3°C. Now i still can look in some folders, but he's dying, every day some folder is not more accessible (acced denied). I will check sectors and so but i guess the baby has gone.
My next buy will be probably a 2,5" dumped like last one.
Might want to look at a program called HDD Regenerator or SpinRite. I forgot which one I used, but when one of my older drives died from shock/cold, I was able to atleast get the drive booting and mirrored everything to another drive.
I think reliability generally matters on how many platters the hard drive you use have. The more platters, the closer the heads and something it bound to go wrong.
thinking to 2.5" hard drive, which one you suggest? I'm looking to momentus 5400.4 hard drive. Cheaper then 5400.5 and almost same reliability in shocks and identical temperature range