VelociRaptor Returns: 6Gb/s, 600GB, And 10,000 RPM

The Newcomer: WD6000HLHX (V200M Series)

WD’s new 600GB VelociRaptor is based on the same design as its predecessor: 2.5” form factor, 15 mm z-height, and a 10,000 RPM spindle speed. Once again, the product can be purchased either as a bare drive or bundled with the 3.5” "IcePack" combination mounting frame and heatsink. This drive cannot be installed into notebooks because of its height, but deployment into SAS/SATA backplane environments is an option. Since 600GB SAS drives are extremely expensive, we expect this VelociRaptor to be an affordable alternative for mainstream server applications that don’t require massive I/O performance. The 1.4 million-hour MTBF with 24x7 operational duty cycle qualifies the WD6000 for these environments. Finally, the specified number of load/unload operations leaped from 50,000 to the WD6000's 600,000 cycles.

The new drive comes with a 32MB buffer. In addition, WD decided to upgrade the interface to SATA 6Gb/s. Track-to-track seeks can drop all the way to 0.4 ms, resulting in a slight average access time reduction from the WD3000's 7.1 ms to 7.0 ms.

Differences in throughput are much more significant, as the WD6000 reaches up to 157 MB/s, making it the fastest SATA drive we’ve seen in our storage test lab. The minimum read and write speed of 97 MB/s is particularly important, because this tells you that the drive maintains its outstanding throughput at all times. Applications that rely heavily on write performance need this kind of performance, especially since many flash-based SSDs still can't maintain sequential speeds at all times, despite their excellent overall performance.

While the VelociRaptor's low-level performance numbers aren’t mind-blowing considering the SSD competition, application benchmark performance has actually increased by a more significant margin than the synthetic numbers suggest. It's safe to say that the new 600GB VelociRaptor is substantially faster than any other SATA-based hard drive. Given this, WD's power consumption is doubly impressive. 4.1W is less idle power than what we measure on high-capacity 3.5” performance hard drives. 6.0W at peak throughput is almost sensational, and 6.5W with workstation I/O marks real progress.

The end result is much increased performance per watt during streaming reads (up 51% from the WD3000) and more tempered improvement for I/O efficiency. Overall, the new WD6000HLHX can't beat current flash SSDs, but no other storage drive offers the new VelociRaptor's combination of fast performance, capacity, and acceptable cost.

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ManufacturerWestern Digital
ModelWD VelociRaptor
Model NumberWD6000HLHX
Form Factor2.5" (3.5" w/IcePack)
Spindle Speed10,000 RPM
Other Capacities450GB
InterfaceSATA 6Gb/s
Operating Temperature5°C to 55°C
Specified Idle Power4.3W
Measured Idle Power4.2W
Operating Shock (2 ms, read)65 G