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Undeniably Fast, But Is It Right For You?

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ Review
By , Achim Roos

Almost exactly two years after Western Digital first introduced its 600 GB WD6000HLHX, the company's brand new VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ reaffirms its dominance as a purveyor of the fastest 3.5” desktop hard drives you can buy.

The disk wins or nearly wins most of the other comparisons, too. We want to call out its low power draw and its excellent performance per watt ranking, neither of which we were expecting from such a fast drive. Overall, the WD1000DHTZ is a well-balanced offering devoid of any drawbacks or weaknesses (aside from its price tag, which is three times higher than a 1 TB Seagate Barracuda).

Let us, however, put the VelociRaptor's speed into perspective. It's only when you draw a comparison to other mechanical disks that the WD1000DHTZ is a performance stand-out. When it's up against SSDs, those throughput figures pale in a big way. So, while Western Digital's latest effort is faster than all other desktop hard drives, it cannot keep up with modern SSDs, causing us to wonder if the sixth generation of 10 000 RPM VelociRaptors will find a niche between lightning-fast (but still quite expensive) SSDs and notably cheaper, but comparatively slow client-oriented hard drives? 

If you need a high-capacity drive that offers significantly higher sequential throughput than competing desktop disks, but either don't need or can't justify the cost per gigabyte of an SSD, consider the WD1000DHTZ as an interesting compromise. Or, if you have more to spend, think about the relationship between an SSD and the VelociRaptor in the same machine.

Of course, if your application is I/O-bound, SSDs reign. Priced as they are now, the VelociRaptors give you wildly varying value. The 1 TB model costs $.30/GB. SSDs can't even come close to that. The 500 GB version is a pricier $.42/GB, which is still pretty aggressive, but clearly not as attractive. And Western Digital's 250 GB drive costs $.60/GB. At that level, we'd really recommend shopping around for a good deal on 120/128 GB SSDs instead. As time passes, solid-state drives will compare even more competitively, putting pressure on these fast desktop disks. Then again, Western Digital might have an even faster, larger answer the encroachment by cheaper SSDs by then.

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