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The VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ (1 TB)

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ Review
By , Achim Roos

After ten years of Raptor/VelociRaptor legacy, the WD1000DHTZ is Western Digital's first model that doesn’t outright double the previous flagship's capacity. Judging from the fact that the 36 GB progenitor was followed by a 73 GB model, then 150 GB, 300 GB, and 600 GB models, we would have hoped for 1.2 TB. But we're cool with an even 1 TB. Those 200 GB won't make or break this drive's commercial success. 

Where does the company see this particular product excelling? Well, it dubs the new VelociRaptor a “Workstation Hard Drive.” Combining high performance and high reliability, the disk should be well-suited for applications like professional office machines, rendering boxes, high-end video and picture editing, small servers, and enthusiast-oriented desktops in need of a fast hard disk. The VelociRaptors that came before performed the same role, bridging a gap between regular 3.5” hard disks and then-current 3 Gb/s SSDs.

Apart from the 1 TB flagship model, Western Digital also offers the new VelociRaptor in capacities of 250 GB (WD2500HHTZ) and 500 GB (WD5000HHTZ). At the time of writing, the 1 TB model is selling for $300, while its two lower capacity siblings sold for $150 and $210, respectively. Apart from their capacities, all three models share the same mechanical and physical specs. You get a spindle speed of 10 000 RPM, a 6 Gb/s SATA interface, 64 MB of cache, and Advanced Format compatibility. The disks are specified for 600 000 load/unload cycles, and offer five-year warranties. The massive metal frame encircling the VelociRaptor helps dissipate heat. It's so effective, in fact, that we only measured 35-degree Celsius temperatures.

Sequential throughput of more than 200 MB/s makes the WD1000DHTZ the fastest SATA disk we have ever tested. It steals the performance crown from its predecessor (WD6000HLHX), which now ranks second. The new drive also tops the application performance chart, surpassing each and every other mechanical disk, including that same previous-generation model.

We measured the minimum sequential write performance of the new VelociRaptor at 114 MB/s, which can be an absolutely critical number in applications that rely on fast write performance, like digital recording of multiple high-definition video streams. Certain SSDs can't even get that high (keeping in mind, of course, that the read rate of most SSDs is much higher than the read rate of the VelociRaptor). Its high spindle speed of 10 000 RPM and low random seek time of 6.8 ms (for reads) ensure the top spot on the charts, even as its seek time for writes, 8.8 ms, is slightly higher than the corresponding value of some older VelociRaptor disks and even one Raptor drive, as well as a few competing models.

Even as Western Digital manages to increase performance, the new VelociRaptor's power consumption is actually lower. We measured 4.0 W at idle, which is impressive for a 3.5” disk, and 5.5 W during write operations. The latter value earns the VelociRaptor yet another top score on a chart. During a workstation benchmark, the disk drew a modest 6.4 W. Not surprisingly, then, the new drive also wins the top spot on our performance per watt charts. Its only blemish, if we can call it that, seems to be comparatively loud seek operations.

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