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ED#136 : Our Take On Western Digital's New 1 TB VelociRaptor Rev. 2.0
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ED#136 : Our Take On Western Digital's New 1 TB VelociRaptor

Despite predictions that SSDs would soon replace HDDs, the march of the venerable hard disk drive continues! Western Digital today launched their third-generation VelociRaptor hard disk drive, which continues to be the world's only 10,000 RPM hard disk drive with a SATA interface. The third-generation VelociRaptor improves on its predecessor by using Advanced Format Technology (AFT) and higher-density platters to deliver not only 1 TB of storage capacity but also a sustained throughput of 200 MB/s! Take a look at its key features :

Ultra fast - Designed around a 10,000 RPM spin speed, these SATA 6 Gb/s drives include a 64 MB cache and deliver the ultimate in performance for photo and video editing.

Rock-solid reliability - With 1.4 million hours MTBF, these drives have the highest available reliability rating on a high capacity SATA drive.

Ultra-cool operation - Consumes less idle power and uses similar active power as the previous generation WD VelociRaptor, while offering higher capacity and performance.

Advanced Format (AF) - Technology adopted by WD and other drive manufacturers as one of multiple ways to continue growing hard drive capacities. AF is a more efficient media format that enables increased areal densities.

IcePackâ„¢ mounting frame - The 2.5-inch hard drive is enclosed in a backplane-ready 3.5-inch mounting frame with a built-in heat sink that keeps this powerful little drive extra cool when installed in high-performance desktop chassis.

NoTouchâ„¢ ramp load technology - The recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit.

Pre-emptive Wear Leveling (PWL) - Ensures reliability for applications that perform a high incidence of read/write operations at the same physical location on the disk.

Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFFâ„¢) - Optimizes operation and performance when the drives are used in
vibration-prone, multi-drive chassis.

The new VelociRaptor remains a 2.5" drive but will come in a 3.5" IcePack mounting frame that also serves as a heatsink for the drive. Note that, as was the case with previous generations, removing the drive from the IcePack mounting frame automatically voids its warranty. If you prefer your VelociRaptor "naked", Western Digital will be offering models without the IcePack mounting frame at a slightly lower cost.

Western Digital will be offering three main SKUs - the WD1000DHTZ (with a capacity of 1 TB), the WD5000HHTZ (with a capacity of 500 GB), and the WD2500HHTZ (with a capacity of 250 GB). Here's a summary of their physical differences :

 

  WD1000DHTZ  

  WD5000HHTZ  

  WD2500HHTZ  

Formatted Capacity

1,000 GB

500 GB

250 GB

User Sectors

1,953,525,168

976,773,168

488,397,168

No. Of Platters / Heads

3 / 6

2 / 4

1 / 2

% Of Platter Used

100 %

75 %

75 %

The two smaller drives were obviously "sized" at 500 GB or 250 GB for marketing purposes. If Western Digital wanted to maximize storage capacities from their drives, they would offer storage capacities of 667 GB and 333 GB, but those numbers might not go down so well with the end-users. Hence, those two drives have a lot of spare capacity. Kinda wasted... Now, if only someone's smart enough to hack the firmware to access it!

Because hard disk drives are formatted from the outer tracks inwards, this undersizing of the 500 GB and 250 GB models will likely mean that these drives will only be accessing the faster outer segment of the platters, and therefore, perform better than the 1 TB model. They would also have better random access times. In a way, it is like this HDD modding method.

The problem, however, is the cost per GB is much higher for these lower capacity drives. The 1 TB VelociRaptor goes for RM 1,099 (US$ 349), while the 500 GB VelociRaptor costs RM 699 (US$ 219) with the 250 GB VelociRaptor at RM 549 (US$ 179). That translates into RM 1.10 (US$ 0.35) per GB for the 1 TB drive, RM 1.40 (US$ 0.44) per GB for the 500 GB drive and a whopping RM 2.20 (US$ 0.72) per GB for the 250 GB drive.

Although many people point out that it's cheaper to get an SSD with a smaller capacity to serve as a boot drive and a higher capacity HDD to store data, the new Western Digital VelociRaptor offers enough storage capacity to serve as both a boot drive and a data drive. That means having your cake and eating it too... if you have the budget!

Due to its high price, this drive will not be most users' cup of tea. To them, it is like a Ferrari - very fast and desirable but not practical for everyday use. That would not be accurate as the VelociRaptor's main forte isn't really its high sustained throughput (although it is very fast in that respect). It is really its much quicker random seek time, which is a big boon to real world performance but wouldn't show up in pure transfer rate tests.

Hence, it will be of great interest not only to power users and hardware enthusiasts, but also people working with graphics and video. Once you try the VelociRaptor, it will be hard to go back to a regular desktop hard disk drive!

So, will you be getting one? Tell us!

For the full review of this hard disk drive, please take a look here.

 

The Launch Event Photos

 

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Questions & Comments

If you have a question or comment on this editorial, please feel free to post them here!

Date Revision Revision History

10-05-2012

1.0

Initial Release.

11-05-2012

2.0

Added more commentary on the new WD VelociRaptor.
Added the 1 TB WD VelociRaptor launch event photos.





 
   
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