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Western Digital VelociRaptor VR150 (WD3000GLFS)

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

The drive that we received for review is called the WD3000GLFS, and it is the first member of the new VelociRaptor VR150 family. While the brand name obviously is a modification of the well known Raptor brand, the product family is named after the product name and an addition of the per platter capacity (150 GB). Knowing that the drive is based on two platters it is safe to say that a 150 GB model is possible, though not yet on the data sheets. Such a model would increase the performance per Watt ratio, but it would have a negative impact on capacity per Watt. This, however, is not the target of the new VelociRaptor. The older 3.5" Raptor is referred to as the Raptor EL150, and it will still be shipped in 150, 74 and 36 GB capacities. According to WD, the new VelociRaptor will be available in the channel sometime in May.

The VelociRaptor VR150 WD3000GLFS has a standard 16 MB cache memory and is rated at the same specifications as the predecessors: there is a 5-years warranty, a maximum drive surface temperature of 60°C (140°F), which we found is more difficult to reach with the VelociRaptor. All 2.5" VelociRaptor drives for enthusiasts come pre-installed in a frame, which acts as a hard drive cooler and supports installation in 3.5" drive bays. This frame is called IcePack, and we found that it reduced the surface temperature of the drive by 4-5°C. The IcePack cools both the drive by dissipating heat to the aluminum on both sides of the drive, and by dissipating heat from the PCB using two thermal pads. Be advised that WD voids the warranty if you remove the drive from the IcePack. We measured a drive surface temperature in idle of only 38°C (using the IcePack).

Western Digital increased the MTBF rating (mean time between failures) from 1.2 million hours with the 3.5" Raptors to 1.4 million hours for the VelociRaptor. The main reason is the better stiffness and robustness of smaller form factors, together with the year long experience and know-how that goes into development of new products. According to the data sheet, the idle and operating noise hasn’t changed: WD stated 29 dB(A) in idle and 36 dB(A) when the drive constantly seeks data. In any case, noise levels have become more than acceptable in recent years, making almost all 7,200 RPM drives totally acceptable even in very quiet desktop environments. Once you quiet down your other components such as the power supply, CPU and graphics cooler you will hear the WD VelociRaptor working more than 7,200 RPM drives. In idle, we found it to be even quieter than 7,200 RPM drives.

According to the manufacturer, the IcePack installation and cooling frame decreases the drive surface temperature by an average of 7.1°C. Our first test results are similar, though at approximately 4-5°C at an ambient temperature of 21°C when operating on an open desk. Image source: Western Digital.

According to the manufacturer, the IcePack installation and cooling frame decreases the drive surface temperature by an average of 7.1°C. Our first test results are similar, though at approximately 4-5°C at an ambient temperature of 21°C when operating on an open desk. Image source: Western Digital.

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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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