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Cheap RAID Ravages WD Raptor


The conclusion for our reissued battle between the current 150 GB WD Raptor and the pair of 400 GB WD4000KD hard drives in RAID 0 is surprising. Although the WD Raptor clearly remains the fastest Serial ATA desktop hard drive, the RAID 0 array beats it in most benchmarks except access time and I/O performance. The cost per gigabyte ratio of the Raptor is particularly questionable, as you can get three times the storage capacity for half the money today, which has mainstream drives beating the Raptor by a factor of six. Enthusiasts willing to accept the higher risk of data loss in RAID 0 should carefully consider a RAID array consisting of two cheap 7,200 RPM drives over the WD Raptor.

500 GB drives will drop below $100 within the next months. At the same time, the storage demands for multimedia keep increasing with high definition video, audio and images. Finally, storage densities keep increasing, and will result in even faster 7,200 RPM drives soon. All of this makes the Raptor look less attractive to users with common sense.

I believe that Western Digital should reconsider its Raptor pricing, because the premium for the cherry on the performance cake at the expense of storage capacity is ridiculously high. It would also be nice to see a refreshed Raptor with 300 GB or more - perhaps even being a hybrid hard drive with built-in Flash memory for Windows Vista?

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Join our discussion on this topic

  • malveaux
    Great review. This is a very important issue for some people. For me, I don't like getting the most expensive new edge tech when I can get less expensive options. RAID is a very simple technology, but it happens to work better because like all things, more heads do better than one in a thinking contest.

    I would have been really impressed if you guys took 4 drives at 7200rpm and low sizes, like 80gig drives, and did a RAID 0 with 4 drives and compared that speed with them. The access time would have been the same, but for the cost, the read and write would have been retarded high and made it look silly.

    Then again, your electricity bill may be the difference in the cost, lol.