Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB SATA HD

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At first glance it's clear that the new Western Digital Velociraptor is not your typical 3.5" hard drive.  In fact, it's not really a 3.5" drive at all.



While the WD Velociraptor does have a 3.5" form factor, the actual mechanics are housed in a 2.5" HDA drive with a 15mm z-height, similar to standard notebook hard drives--only taller.  The drive itself is mounted in a what is essentially a large heatsink, that WD has dubbed the IcePAK.  The IcePAK is what allows the WD Velociraptor to be mounted in any standard 3.5" drive bay and, of course, it also helps keep the drive cool.



As you probably surmised, the WD Velociraptor is targeted at performance enthusiasts, workstations, and low-end servers.  Its 300GB capacity comes from a pair of 150GB platters spinning at 10K RPM within the drive mechanism.  Four heads access the platters, and because the platters spin so quickly, and are physically smaller than standard 3.5" drives, the Velociraptor is able to access and transfer data much more quickly than competing offerings.



A visual comparison between the WD Velociraptor and a previous-gen 150GB Raptor reveals almost no similarities, other than their coloring.  And be aware, because the WD Velociraptor is not a standard 3.5" SATA drive, its connectors are not in the same position as other drives.  That makes the Velociraptor incompatible with virtually all external hard drive enclosures, DIY NAS boxes, etc.

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Comments
digitaldd 6 years ago

 the name alone gets a +1 from me. would be nice if it had 32MB of cache as some other drives more than 2x their size do

Marco C 6 years ago
I talked to WD about the cache size, and they said it offered little to no benefit, so they kept the buffer at 16MB. Obviously, it didn't hurt performance much!
^Bad_Boy^ 6 years ago
Maybe it's not needed for 300GB hdd...

Anyways it looks sweet ;)
Crisis Causer 6 years ago

Wow, that thing flies.  I have a 300GB hard drive now, so I know how to work with that capacity.  But the price is pretty steep.  What I actually payed most attention to in the article was the WD6400AAKS which actually seemed to usually perform inbetween the old Raptor 150 and the new Velociraptor 300.  Considering it's great capacity and relatively low price, I may end up eventually going for that drive when I need more capacity, likely this summer.

Marco C 6 years ago

Hey All.  If you wouldn't mind, please do us a favor and Digg this article if you liked it...

HH's VelociRaptor Diggage

willardcw4 6 years ago

Definately an impressive drive... its nice to finally see higher RPM drives break through that 150/160GB barrier thats been around for a few years.

nelsoncp21 6 years ago

yes very nice indeed. Wish these were out when I got my 150 raptor x's but they do just fine. 35% is a big jump though.

shanewu 6 years ago
Nice review, Marco. That drive looks pretty crazy...a 2.5" drive in a 3.5" heatsink...very interesting.

Consider it dugg!
nelsoncp21 6 years ago

It's dugg. wow that article had 75 digs on it when I clicked.

coolzonestefan 6 years ago

I guess this unit will cost insanely much,but it does worth it since it is better than even some SAS drives 

JSP 6 years ago

Good review. 

One additional comparison I would find interesting for these high-end hard drive reviews would be 'short stroking' a larger hard drive down to the size of the new drive being tested (300GB in this case), such as the 1TB WD included in the review.  'Short stroking' is when you only use the first part of a drive, reducing seek times and avoiding the lower performance inner tracks.  This is commonly used to 'cheat' in RAID or NAS benchmarks, though it can also be a useful tool for benchmarking when you are trying to push a RAID controller or NAS box harder.

I would expect that if you took the 1TB drive, and used only the first 300GB, you would get much better seek times and both read and write transfer speeds, and the cost can be lower than the Velociraptor drive.  I'm not sure how much performance you would gain, but when I've tested similar configurations in the past the improvement was significant.  Of course, you have to be disciplined to ignore that tempting extra 700GB since when you use it you lose the extra performance...

Dave_HH 6 years ago
Interesting idea there, JSP... I know of this practice in the enterprise space but I'm not sure too many end-users have ever tried this. Sounds like a reasonable approach to performance though, taking advantage of faster access times on the inner portions of the disk.
ice_73 6 years ago

 i just creamed my pants... ive long been a fan of the raptor and have one in my current rig. and was very sad to see current hard drives beating the raptor... now the raptor is back to being king of the castle.

imagine these in raid

one thing though, in the review you did not test raid of 2 150gb raptors (since 2 150 are somewhat the same price as the new raptor)  which would of been nice to see.



p.s. i posted this in the storage section of the forum for that thread but since the discussion is here imma copy and paste my post. hope you guys dont mind :-) 

JSP 6 years ago

I did a tiny bit of math, and it looks like the tangential velocity (rim speed) of the 7200 RPM 3.5" drive (79170 in/sec) would actually be slightly faster than the 2.5" drive (78540 in/sec), so I would expect that a 300GB short stroked 1TB drive might be slightly faster than the 2.5" drive in data transfer (assuming the same bit density, which may be false).  Since the 3.5" drive has longer tracks, it should maintain its speed parity for the entire 300GB.  Track to track latency within the 300GB should also be slighly better (longer tracks, so fewer of them), but rotational latency would be much higher so overall latency I would expect to be higher.

This seems like a valid comparison, and a real option for some, since the 1TB drives are actually cheaper than the Velociraptor.  This points to a performance drawback of WD's choice to go with a 2.5" form factor for a performance drive (lower rim speeds).

higgamo 6 years ago

ooo i would love to try that in raid 0, also digg lol 250+ nice

coolzonestefan 6 years ago

This drive is nice,I completely agree,it has outstanding performance,and will be a king till Seagate will launch the new series of HDDs like 7200.12.The 7200.11 was pretty close to the older version of the Raptor,much cheaper,much silent and a lot of space for storage

amdcrankitup 6 years ago

This drive is definatley one I would consider for my new system!

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