Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ Review

Undeniably Fast, But Is It Right For You?

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.

  • acyuta
    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.
  • >mfw no ssd in comparison
  • vladutztg
    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 ?
  • belardo
    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.
  • aznshinobi
    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.
  • Smeg45
    Why would I want an SSD in a gaming system? I need bulk capacity and this offers it in a fast package.
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.
  • dalauder
    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.
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.

  • rantoc
    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.