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Conclusion

WD's New Raptor Drive <i><b>Is</i></b> a Bird of Prey!
By , Achim Roos

Our benchmark results speak for themselves and prove that Western Digital has done the right thing from an enthusiast standpoint. The new VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS will ship in May at retail prices of approximately $300, and it is the fastest and coolest 3.5"-like hard drive you can get for desktop PCs. WE say ’3.5"-like’ because it is a 2.5" hard drive that comes pre-installed in the IcePack frame, which provides efficient cooling and easy installation in standard 3.5" drive bays. The VelociRaptor provides the quickest access time, the best transfer rates, excellent application results, amazingly low surface temperature and an acceptable noise level along with its unorthodox product name.

Western Digital deserves kudos for being bold enough to take a huge step and transition its high-performance enthusiast and workstation-class Raptor drive from the 3.5" to the 2.5" form factor, although this transition is mainly taking place in the enterprise segment - where WD cannot compete in performance, and although the Raptor was beginning to be considered outdated from a performance standpoint: 3.5" 7,200 RPM provide faster transfer rates and a much better cost per gigabyte today, and the high-performance segment was being attacked by Flash SSDs.

Looking at the performance results, a maximum capacity of 300 GB and a price point of slightly below $300, it is fairly safe to say that Flash SSD may certainly be capable of threatening WD’s performance lead very soon, but this will only happen at capacities of 64 GB and 128 GB for the time being, and only at hefty price points. Flash memory densities aren’t high enough to provide higher capacity drives, and high performance 128 GB Flash drives will remain way above the $1,000 line for the time being.

The only drawback we found is the inability to drop the VelociRaptor into existing 3.5" hot swap bays, because the SATA and power connectors of the VelociRaptor aren’t located at the standardized position, which would be necessary for seamless upgrades. Despite providing best-of-class performance, WD has abandoned the important 3.5" entry-level enterprise storage market. But at the same time the product is ready for the era of 2.5" enterprise storage, where chances are much better now than they were years ago when WD failed at conquering the enterprise storage market.

Remember this logo, as it represents the currently fastest hard drive for high-end desktop PCs and enthusiasts, as well as workstations.

Remember this logo, as it represents the currently fastest hard drive for high-end desktop PCs and enthusiasts, as well as workstations.

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  • 0 Hide
    mpkonig , April 21, 2008 11:42 AM
    Athauglas......on page 5 is the drive with the top plate removed..not with a clear window.
  • -1 Hide
    rodney_ws , April 21, 2008 12:09 PM
    *drools*
  • 0 Hide
    Zorg , April 21, 2008 12:16 PM
    Very nice and about time. Now, who has $300 to lend me.
  • -3 Hide
    royalcrown , April 21, 2008 12:27 PM
    LAME as all hell...mant new 320gb/platter drives are almost as fast with a lot better capacity and surely price.. ! This is like a raptor ME edition...zzzz
  • 0 Hide
    zenmaster , April 21, 2008 12:49 PM
    #1 - Finally! Tom's Seems to have gotten a scoop. It's been a while but it's nice to See Tom's have a major hardware review out before the others.

    #2 - A very well written article. I've noticed an uptick in the quality of articles of late. Kudos again.

    #3 - A very nice HDD. Something I may definitely look at adding to my system.
  • 0 Hide
    Zorg , April 21, 2008 12:50 PM
    Quote:
    LAME as all hell...mant new 320gb/platter drives are almost as fast with a lot better capacity and surely price.. ! This is like a raptor ME edition...zzzz
    Oh really, which ones?
  • 0 Hide
    royalcrown , April 21, 2008 1:04 PM
    western digital 640 aaks series b3 revision:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    Seagate 7200.11 (if they can work out their doa prob):

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148316

    A few of samsung's F1 spinpoints...

    they are all pretty close, especially seagate at 114mb STR, 60 low and around 100 average across 320 gigs.

    A 150 gig drive that is just a bit higher is not so awesome, and yes I know seek times, IO and all that matter too. Do you really thonk the new raptor is gonna be 90 bucks like these, I sure don't.

    If they at least have a 320 same performance, or the performance was closer to 150 (as in a larger 3.5 platter), then sure, but it's sad considering a 7200 is almost passing them ALREADY.


  • -1 Hide
    royalcrown , April 21, 2008 1:11 PM
    My bad, 300 gb does make it look beter ! but still those other drives are way to close considering this is the raptor series.
  • 0 Hide
    Zorg , April 21, 2008 1:13 PM
    Well you answered it yourself i.e., seek and IO. You can't take read / write as the total picture. The drives you posted aren't really that close in read / write either. I'm sure you know the last bit of performance costs the most money.

    You could say you don't think it's worth the cash, I have no problem with that, but it sounds a lot like sour grapes to me.
  • 0 Hide
    Andrius , April 21, 2008 1:27 PM
    Seriously. Just what about this drive isn't impressive?
    It has twice the storage space of the previous top model.
    It has better benchmark results.
    It runs cooler way cooler.
    That IcePack is perfect for mounting behind front intake fans(improved airflow).
    I'd want 1 over any 1TB drive. The price is also quite reasonable for a Raptor.

    I'd call that progress in every way.
    There's just no pleasing some people.
  • 0 Hide
    rodney_ws , April 21, 2008 1:29 PM
    Honestly, who was expecting the next Raptor to be a 2.5 inch drive? I know it's in a 3.5 inch enclosure, but you just know the guys at Alienware are trying to figure out how one of these is going to work in a laptop.
  • 0 Hide
    nihility , April 21, 2008 1:33 PM
    About time they updated the raptors, they've been doing pretty poorly for quite a while. It's cool to see over 120MB/s read/write on a desktop drive.
    I wonder why I/O performance isn't as good as the SAS drives even though it has faster read/write speeds and latency. Could this be fixed with firmware?
  • 0 Hide
    deuce271 , April 21, 2008 1:40 PM
    They look like a really nice answer to SSDs. I'm really considering getting one but $300 for a hard drive is a lot of money.

    Hell, it'd be the most expensive component in my rig...
  • 0 Hide
    Zorg , April 21, 2008 1:52 PM
    Quote:
    Honestly, who was expecting the next Raptor to be a 2.5 inch drive? I know it's in a 3.5 inch enclosure, but you just know the guys at Alienware are trying to figure out how one of these is going to work in a laptop.
    Notebook HDs only need 5V and the velociRaptor needs both 12V and 5V. I'm not saying it can't be done.
  • -1 Hide
    royalcrown , April 21, 2008 1:57 PM
    It's not sour grapes...it's spoon feeding us tiny bumps and calling it amazing that gets me...it's better, but amazing or wow or making a big deal about an incremental increase is just hyping it up, when it's not that big of a step up.
  • 0 Hide
    Shinigami84 , April 21, 2008 2:30 PM
    Lets see how it looks to me:
    - I get 30%+ of performance increase compared to my 1TB drive (yah, 10EACS)
    - I get 300gb for $300, I already have 1000gb for $300
    - I can get 640gb instead of 300gb with little speed decrease but it will cost $130.
    So 30%+ speed increase equals almost 5x price increase? My wallet thinks otherwise... But thats my wallet, if your wallet says otherwise, I think you'll be happy with the new HDD from WD :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Zorg , April 21, 2008 2:50 PM
    ^My wallet says I have to live with my Raptor, you know bills and stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    Zorg , April 21, 2008 2:54 PM
    Quote:
    It's not sour grapes...it's spoon feeding us tiny bumps and calling it amazing that gets me...it's better, but amazing or wow or making a big deal about an incremental increase is just hyping it up, when it's not that big of a step up.
    Hard drives have to live within the laws of physics and current technology. Maybe you know of some way to get a 200% improvement. By all means share it with us.
  • 0 Hide
    sailer , April 21, 2008 2:57 PM
    This drive looks good to me. If I hadn't just built a new computer, I'd like one of these in it. One might end up in the new computer anyway. Don't know, will see.

    Hey wait, that government rebate check could pay for one of these and not hurt the wallet at all. :D 
  • -2 Hide
    royalcrown , April 21, 2008 2:59 PM
    look up a hard drive from back in the day called a Chinook. How about some real innovation...I'll gladly pay out the nose for some.

    2 actuators is better than one and not at all infeasible today.
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