Western Digital Velociraptor Is New "Fastest Hard Drive Ever"

Illustration for article titled Western Digital Velociraptor Is New "Fastest Hard Drive Ever"

Western Digital has announced the Velociraptor ($300 retail), their latest and greatest in speedy storage. Connecting through 3GB/s SATA, the 300GB, 10,000RPM Velociraptor is actually a 2.5" hard drive with a massive "Icepack" heatsink that makes it large enough to fit in a 3.5" bay. Maximum PC already got their hands on a preproduction unit. So how fast was it? Real fast.


In fact, the Velociraptor bested the competition (Western Digital's old Raptor and the Samsung HD103UJ) in every test they threw at it. Plus it worked great in a RAID setup as well.

So then Maximum PC decided to pull out an SSD to see what the Velociraptor could really do. Of course, the $300 Velociraptor was thwarted by the more affluent $1,950 Mtron Pro-series 64-gigabyte SSD.

Still, in terms of bang for your buck, you aren't going to do any better than Western Digital's new chosen one. And besides, it's just a matter of time before someone rips off that heatsink and fits this 2.5" monster into a laptop.

Here's the full press release:

WD(R) Announces WD VelociRaptor(TM) - The World's Fastest SATA Hard Drive

Next-generation 10,000 RPM, 2.5-inch, 300 GB SATA Hard Drive, WD VelociRaptor is 35 Percent Faster and Twice the Capacity of the Previous Performance King

LAKE FOREST, Calif., April 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — WD(R) (NYSE: WDC) announced today that it is now shipping WD VelociRaptor(TM) hard drives, the next generation of its 10,000 RPM SATA "Raptor" series of drives. Designed with an enterprise-class foundation, the new WD VelociRaptor hard drive is modified specifically for PC and Mac(R) enthusiasts and professional workstations. Destined to become the new high-performance favorite of these groups, the WD VelociRaptor hard drive comes packed with twice the capacity and a 35 percent performance increase over the previous generation.

From the bloodlines of the WD Raptor, the most popular hard drive for high-performance enthusiasts who demand the ultimate SATA drive, the WD VelociRaptor hard drive is built with enterprise-class mechanics and packs 300 GB of storage capacity into a 2.5-inch enterprise form factor. The 2.5-inch WD VelociRaptor drive is enclosed in the IcePack(TM), a 3.5-inch mounting frame with a built-in heat sink — a customization that fits the drive into a standard 3.5-inch system bay and keeps this powerful drive extra cool when installed in a high-performance desktop chassis.

"Demand for ever-higher PC performance continues to increase and WD is the leader in this category with the WD Raptor. We created WD VelociRaptor hard drives to lead PC enthusiasts into the next era of PC and Mac storage performance and satisfy their insatiable thirst for computing speed," said Tom McDorman, vice president and general manager of WD's enterprise business unit. "The new WD VelociRaptor delivers the greatest performance and reliability of all SATA hard drives currently on the market."

WD VelociRaptor is the next step up for the speed-craving PC enthusiast, and as with all WD drives, attention to detail in features, performance and reliability is a top priority. Features of the new WD VelociRaptor hard drives include:

Killer Speed — Built on the performance of the WD Raptor, these 10,000

RPM drives, with SATA 3 Gb/s interface, and 16 MB cache deliver mind-

bending performance.

Rock-solid Reliability — WD VelociRaptor drives are designed and

manufactured to business-critical, enterprise-class standards to provide

enterprise reliability in high duty cycle environments. The design

results in the highest available reliability rating of any SATA drive at

1.4 million hours MTBF.

IcePack Mounting Frame — The 2.5-inch WD VelociRaptor drives are

enclosed in a 3.5-inch enterprise-class mounting frame with a built-in

heat sink that keeps this powerful little drive extra cool when installed

in high-performance desktop chassis.

Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF(TM)) — Optimizes performance when

the drives are used in vibration-prone, multi-drive chassis.

SecurePark(TM) — Parks the recording heads off the disk surface during

spin up, spin down and when the drive is off. This ensures the recording

head never touches the disk surface, resulting in improved long-term

reliability and increased drive protection when the chassis is moved.

Price and Availability

WD VelociRaptor (model WD3000GLFS) hard drives will be available on Alienware's high-performance ALX gaming desktop by the end of April. At launch, Alienware will offer maximum performance with two 300 GB WD VelociRaptor hard drives in RAID 0 configuration on www.alienware.com. WD VelociRaptor hard drives will be shipping exclusively through Alienware this month and will be available through the company's online store (http://www.shopwd.com) and at select distributors and resellers mid-May. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the WD VelociRaptor 300 GB is $299.99 USD. More information about WD VelociRaptor hard drives may be found on the company's Web site.



These appear to be great, but I'll wait and see how they actually perform in the first few months or so. I would like to clarify a few things that other comments indicated:

1) These drives are SATA-2 (3.0g) while the old ones were SATA-1 (1.5g). However, this means almost nothing for single and even dual setups in a RAID-0 configuration. The interface speed is only really an issue when you start to max it out. Internally, these drives are very fast, but nowhere near the 1.5g or 3.0g marks, so the interface change will have little impact unless you string several of them together in a performance-based RAID configuration.

2) As others have stated, the drives are slightly larger than laptop drives, so it will be very difficult to make them even work in a normal laptop. Also, the heat generated by performance drives like these would not be good for the laptop.

3) It's very possible for a 10k drive to outperform a 15k drive. The interface used (i.e. scsi vs. ide vs sata), firmware, disk recording method, speed of the heads, etc. all determine the actual speed of the drive along with the rotational latency (based on the rpms).