RAID Or Raptor?
Almost three years ago, Western Digital's WD360 Raptor drive first saw the light of day, and was greeted with cautious optimism. It was meant to be a cost effective alternative for expensive SCSI enterprise-class hard drives, but would it succeed? WD's gamble paid off, but the majority of Raptor drives made their way into high-performance desktop PCs rather than into server systems.
The new top model offers 150 GB, a good amount of extra performance and officially targets high-end enthusiasts. It is pretty obvious that the Raptor-X is a great drive, but is it great enough to become a "must-have"?
Now that Western Digital finally caters to the enthusiast crowd, it had to create a very special product. Thus the firm decided to offer its end user Raptor-X with a clear cover, which is quite a respectable move given the rather conservative pace that used to dominate product policy. The center top part of the Raptor-X is equipped with a coated transparent polycarbonate, which allows for an insight into the mechanical heart of the drive, particularly fascinating while the drive is busy. The website www.wdraptorx.com explains how this was realized, since the clear cover material has to be able to cope with changing inside pressure levels, temperature fluctuations and electrostatic discharge. You may have seen clear cover drives at exhibitions or shows, but the Raptor X is the first production drive that offers this feature to the masses.
If you consider the clear cover an unnecessary gadget you may go for the ordinary WD1500AD Raptor (without the X). Just like the WD740 and the WD360 Raptor, this latest model is designed for servers or workstations. Technically, it isn't even different from the Raptor-X, making it the more attractive choice for users that prefer a lower price to a fancy cover.