Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ Review

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ Review
By , Achim Roos

Western Digital recently sent us its latest-generation VelociRaptor, a 1 TB update to what was already the fastest 3.5" disk drive available. Once again, it stymies the mechanical competition with significantly higher performance.

Western Digital wrote a chapter in storage history back in 2003 when it introduced the first Raptor. A 3.5” hard disk, it looked a lot like any competitor's disk, except for a small, performance-enhancing difference: the 37 GB WD360GD was the first consumer hard drive to spin at 10 000 RPM, a speed previously only available on expensive enterprise-class hard disks designed for the SCSI interface. But instead of SCSI (or even the then-ubiquitous IDE interface) Western Digital's Raptor employed a SATA interface, another of the company's bold moves.

The Raptor's innards were unconventional as well. Once you got under its hood, you found an IDE interface. SATA was achieved through a Marvell-based IDE-to-SATA bridge. Fortunately, the bridge chip did not noticeably limit the disk’s SCSI-like performance. Western Digital's WD360GD was put to use in applications where I/O performance mattered, like video editing. Its price, while steep, was still significantly lower than comparable enterprise SCSI-based drives. The rest, as they say, is history.

From Raptor to VelociRaptor

In 2008, the VelociRaptor succeeded three generations of Raptors. It maintained its 10 000 RPM spindle speed, but traded 3.5” platters for 2.5” ones, while keeping a external 3.5” form factor serving as passive cooling. The IDE-to-SATA bridge chip had been dropped back in the Raptor's second generation, so naturally the VelociRaptor employed a native SATA interface.

As SCSI became obsolete, the cool-running and power-friendly (relatively, of course) VelociRaptor model found more ideal environments, from performance-oriented desktop PCs up to business-class workstations and small business servers.

Then, 2010, Western Digital doubled the VelociRaptor's capacity to 600 GB and its interface bandwidth to 6 Gb/s. But would the company continue the family in the face of mounting competition from notably faster SSDs?

Yes, it turns out. Western Digital recently launched an updated generation of VelociRaptors, which we started testing as soon as they landed in our German lab. The highest-end model sports a capacity of 1000 GB, and the manufacturer claims a performance improvement of 25% over its already-speedy predecessor. Older VelociRaptors had no problem outclassing other SATA-based disks, earning the family a reputation as the fastest on the desktop. Needless to say, our expectations for the WD1000DHTZ are quite high.

Display 85 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    acyuta , August 2, 2012 4:54 AM
    The Velociraptor at this price is simply not workable for me and for most people. For the cost of 1TB and some money saved, one can buy a good 120GB SSD and a Seagate 3TB. Seagate 3TB is not in the charts but I bet it will be only 10% slower than Velociraptor. This solution smokes out Raptor as a boot device and nearly matches it as a storage device.

    Even on a standalone basis, for me Seagate 3TB at $145 and 85-90% of Raptor's performance makes more sense that Raptor 1TB at $300.

    WD is living in a fools' world if they think that the premium they are charging on normal hard disks (because of `shortages') will be extendable to Raptor.
  • 19 Hide
    ojas , August 2, 2012 7:42 AM
    I see a lot of people missing the point here.

    I completely agree that for people like us, an SSD+cheap storage drive is the way to go, but i don't think we're the target market.

    If you're a pro into a lot of content creation, be it video or 3D animation/rendering stuff, this IS the drive for you, IMO. I mean, you could pair up a 256GB SSD as your OS+productivity suit drive, with a few of these drives for the actual work. Would save a lot of time and money, plus be low on power consumption. Power consumption is a bonus for RAID configs.

    Seriously, find me an affordable 1TB SSD that you can RAID?
  • 14 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , August 2, 2012 6:31 AM
    acyutaSeagate 3TB is not in the charts but I bet it will be only 10% slower than Velociraptor. This solution smokes out Raptor as a boot device and nearly matches it as a storage device.

    No, the raptor is actually quite a bit further ahead than that, especially in random i/o, where it has as much as a 2x performance lead on the 3/4TB Barracuda XT's. Even in sequential reads/writes (generally the performance strong point of 7200RPM drives) it still has around a 50% performance advantage.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5729/western-digital-velociraptor-1tb-wd1000dhtz-review/2
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    acyuta , August 2, 2012 4:54 AM
    The Velociraptor at this price is simply not workable for me and for most people. For the cost of 1TB and some money saved, one can buy a good 120GB SSD and a Seagate 3TB. Seagate 3TB is not in the charts but I bet it will be only 10% slower than Velociraptor. This solution smokes out Raptor as a boot device and nearly matches it as a storage device.

    Even on a standalone basis, for me Seagate 3TB at $145 and 85-90% of Raptor's performance makes more sense that Raptor 1TB at $300.

    WD is living in a fools' world if they think that the premium they are charging on normal hard disks (because of `shortages') will be extendable to Raptor.
  • 2 Hide
    vladutztg , August 2, 2012 4:59 AM
    Did you test it without the heat sink ?
    What would be its temperature if you'd have done it ?
    Could it fit into a performance desktop replacement notebook like a M18x or a Clevo mobile workstation ?
  • 8 Hide
    belardo , August 2, 2012 5:11 AM
    Where is the noise test? I bet anyone $1Million dollars, its louder than any SSD. :) 

    Yes, its a fast drive. It is most likely the last Raptor to ever be made. For video work, a typical 5400~7200RPM 2~3TB HD will do just fine. Can buy two 2TB drives + a 120Gb SSD for a tad bit more money... and still have a much quieter running system.
  • 0 Hide
    aznshinobi , August 2, 2012 6:18 AM
    For the price you could get a 1TB drive and the Crucial Adrenaline 50GB and combo them for a 1TB+50GB SSD cache. Half the price and probably just as fast.
  • 12 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , August 2, 2012 6:21 AM
    Damn that's a fast drive. Would make a great high performance scratch disk.

    The market for these drives has certainly shrunk in the past few years, and I doubt many enthusiasts and gamers would even consider buying one anymore. It's value is limited to those who need more performance out of their storage devices than your typical 7200RPM 3.5" drive can deliver. Production pros working with large volumes of high res assets and complex project files would probably see the most benefit from a drive like this.
  • 0 Hide
    dalauder , August 2, 2012 6:28 AM
    I'm just confused...what is this drive for? It would get absolutely destroyed by an OCZ Agility 3 240GB, which I've seen for $130, I think--$140 for sure.

    If you're doing something where you specifically need 1TB of data accessible quickly all the time, this may have a niche, but it's a VERY SMALL niche. Almost everyone would find better performance paring a 240GB SSD with a 1TB HDD, using up 60GB on Intel's SRT, and 180GB for the SSD to be used as usual (Windows, programs, +60GB for projects/scratch).

    Considering the 256GB Vertex 4 is at $165 and the 256GB M4 hits $150, I'm just completely puzzled by Western Digital throwing money into developing such a device.
  • 14 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , August 2, 2012 6:31 AM
    acyutaSeagate 3TB is not in the charts but I bet it will be only 10% slower than Velociraptor. This solution smokes out Raptor as a boot device and nearly matches it as a storage device.

    No, the raptor is actually quite a bit further ahead than that, especially in random i/o, where it has as much as a 2x performance lead on the 3/4TB Barracuda XT's. Even in sequential reads/writes (generally the performance strong point of 7200RPM drives) it still has around a 50% performance advantage.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5729/western-digital-velociraptor-1tb-wd1000dhtz-review/2
  • 1 Hide
    rantoc , August 2, 2012 7:18 AM
    The enthusiasts already have SSD's for at least their boot drive (or the whole system like me), a few might consider those for "bulk" storage drives but beside that i doubt its much market for the drive sadly. It don't no matter how impressive it is as a mechanical drive because it cannot compete with the SSD's. Still remember the first raptor, darn was it fast compared to the HDD's of that time before the SSD's came and change everything.
  • -5 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 2, 2012 7:30 AM
    i think the power consumption tests should include the total consumption of the system. If the drive itself takes lesser power, but because the whole system is in an active state while data is read/written, the overall total system energy consumption increases.
  • 19 Hide
    ojas , August 2, 2012 7:42 AM
    I see a lot of people missing the point here.

    I completely agree that for people like us, an SSD+cheap storage drive is the way to go, but i don't think we're the target market.

    If you're a pro into a lot of content creation, be it video or 3D animation/rendering stuff, this IS the drive for you, IMO. I mean, you could pair up a 256GB SSD as your OS+productivity suit drive, with a few of these drives for the actual work. Would save a lot of time and money, plus be low on power consumption. Power consumption is a bonus for RAID configs.

    Seriously, find me an affordable 1TB SSD that you can RAID?
  • 7 Hide
    zander1983 , August 2, 2012 8:05 AM
    Yes this is not as fast as an SSD, but it is not designed to compete with SSDs.

    This drive is much more reliable than any SSD out there. And will absolutely be magical if you put them in a large RAID array if you need tons of space on fast disks. Yes you can put 8x 240GB SSDs in RAID, but that will give you just under 2Tb of space (RAID0) and performance bottlenecked by the RAID controller.

    I for one will use these in a NAS that requires large storage space used by multiple users.
  • 1 Hide
    dthx , August 2, 2012 8:24 AM
    It is realy a great drive for some specific uses (Use this for video editing output or scratch disk, ...) but this is indeed a niche market and it will continue to schrink over time.
    For most people, a SSD/HDD combination will work much better and and those who need fast and large storage in a laptop can't use this anyway (this is where hybrid drives shine).
  • 4 Hide
    hannibal , August 2, 2012 8:29 AM
    I would really like to see this new Velocity raptor as an hyprid HD. It is fast and small SSD part would make it faster. Maybe it would then be too expensive, I don't know, but even Velocity is not as fast as SSD disk are, it is very reliable and robust drive. My big modded games run from older 600 Gb velocity and I am guite happy with the loading speeds. I am going to upgrade the system disk to SSD during the next year, but I think that I will leave that old and obsolete war horse to run those huge games...
  • 3 Hide
    Draven35 , August 2, 2012 8:34 AM
    "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."

    Rendering boxes don't need fast hard disks, they read data and save their frames over the network to your workstation or server.

    "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."

    uncompressed 10-bit YUV (4:2:2 video):
    1280x720 @ 60p - 141 MB/s
    1920x1080 @ 24PsF - 127 MB/s
    1920x1080 @ 60i - 158 MB/s

    uncompressed RGB (4:4:4 video):
    1280x720 @ 60p - 211 MB/s
    1920x1080 @ 24PsF - 190 MB/s
    1920x1080 @ 60i - 237MB/s

    These drives are still not enough to write one stream of uncompressed HD, much less multiple streams.
  • 6 Hide
    assafbt , August 2, 2012 9:22 AM
    The lack of a budget 256GB SSD in benches for comparison, renders this article, well, uninteresting.
  • -3 Hide
    alidan , August 2, 2012 10:28 AM
    aznshinobiFor the price you could get a 1TB drive and the Crucial Adrenaline 50GB and combo them for a 1TB+50GB SSD cache. Half the price and probably just as fast.

    no, not even close. the 50gb ssd only cashes 50gb, the raptor is more for storage needs, and large storage/scratch disc at a budget price (a comparable ssd size wise would cost 1000$ or 600 if you are willing to raid 0 4 bargan deal 256 drives.)

    the 50gb cashe is great for normal users, but people who would use a VelociRaptor are not normal.

    Smeg45Why would I want an SSD in a gaming system? I need bulk capacity and this offers it in a fast package.


    you would want it as a boot, trust me when i say that moving my boot off a hdd make that hdd close to 1000 times more responsive, take into account my hdd was hammered so hard that it wasn't even getting 1mb a second at times. now its back into the 90-120 range where it should be.

    dragonsqrrlDamn that's a fast drive. Would make a great high performance scratch disk. The market for these drives has certainly shrunk in the past few years, and I doubt many enthusiasts and gamers would even consider buying one anymore. It's value is limited to those who need more performance out of their storage devices than your typical 7200RPM 3.5" drive can deliver. Production pros working with large volumes of high res assets and complex project files would probably see the most benefit from a drive like this.


    at the same time, i could argue for getting a quad channel motherboard fill it with 8gb ram sticks, get 8-16 gb set aside for system memory, the other 48-56gb as a ram disc and a pci ssd for a secondary scratch disc and run off storage.

    we are talking a professional level though, not a popular youtube or podcast level.

    dalauderI'm just confused...what is this drive for? It would get absolutely destroyed by an OCZ Agility 3 240GB, which I've seen for $130, I think--$140 for sure.If you're doing something where you specifically need 1TB of data accessible quickly all the time, this may have a niche, but it's a VERY SMALL niche. Almost everyone would find better performance paring a 240GB SSD with a 1TB HDD, using up 60GB on Intel's SRT, and 180GB for the SSD to be used as usual (Windows, programs, +60GB for projects/scratch).Considering the 256GB Vertex 4 is at $165 and the 256GB M4 hits $150, I'm just completely puzzled by Western Digital throwing money into developing such a device.


    same here, i just cant see the use in this... well i can see the use, but its not THAT much faster than other hdds anymore, they use to be blazeingly fast, i remember quake 3 arena took a long time to load on a standard hdd back in the day, than the screensavers showed us a 10krpm drive load it, and it was night and day difference, i mean right now, looking at the load times of hdd compared to an ssd, that impressive, but back in the day, a 5krpm or a 7krpm compared to the 10krpm... my god... the load difference was even greater than what we see with ssds today, and let me prefface that with what we SEE, yea i know they are many MANY times faster, but loading a level in a game is where most people can see the difference.

    but today, there isnt even much of a difference between a 7200 rpm over a 10krpm.

    mayankleoboy1i think the power consumption tests should include the total consumption of the system. If the drive itself takes lesser power, but because the whole system is in an active state while data is read/written, the overall total system energy consumption increases.


    good point, and if the thing finds and gets crap done faster, it may come out as using less overall energy.

    ojasI see a lot of people missing the point here.I completely agree that for people like us, an SSD+cheap storage drive is the way to go, but i don't think we're the target market.If you're a pro into a lot of content creation, be it video or 3D animation/rendering stuff, this IS the drive for you, IMO. I mean, you could pair up a 256GB SSD as your OS+productivity suit drive, with a few of these drives for the actual work. Would save a lot of time and money, plus be low on power consumption. Power consumption is a bonus for RAID configs.Seriously, find me an affordable 1TB SSD that you can RAID?


    if you look for deals, you could get a 1tb raid of 250gb drives, or at least in that range, and you would get about 2000 read and write from that, not sure of the io bonuses, but i assume that it would be there. and having that in a raid 5 i believe for redundancy, would out preform most of what you want.

    if i remember correctly, star wars star destroyer, in the new movies, was either 1tb or 1pb (i believe it was tb) for the fully modeled version, i forget which. so unless you are working with bigger more detailed models, or working with completely raw footage, my 700$ solution would be so significantly better than the that there would be little reason to even consider the VelociRaptor as an option.

  • -5 Hide
    Draven35 , August 2, 2012 11:03 AM
    I seriously doubt it was either 1 TB or 1 PB... probably more like 1 GB...
  • -2 Hide
    jdamon113 , August 2, 2012 12:27 PM
    Lot of comments for such an artical of this nature. I agree with most but note I did not read everyones comments. Just a few. While yes the ssd comparison is moot but look at it from a enterprise level, I work with an emc daily, Going to ssd's is not even looked at yet, we are just now leaving fiber channel for sas drives, so for a enterprise replaceing a system that is nas or san... >> I think WD should put these drive in the arenna, right now Hitechi and Seagate are the only drives in this and I think seagate is crap and a grabage company.
    so WD, you should put the VelociRaptor in the enterprise market, just not we would want a SAS version
Display more comments