Guest Eugene

Western Digital VelociRaptor Preview

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Spending more money on a faster processor, video, or memory doesn't usually go far because it's not the bottleneck (again, that's in most cases), and the uptick in performance isn't a lot (single digit %).
Uhhh what???

Really depends what you're doing. It is true, the harddisk is the slowest part of the computer by far, but how much time does a typical user spend waiting for disk-bound tasks?

That's the key... most people don't spend a whole lot of time waiting, or they find that from 4 seconds to 5 seconds just isn't much, vs., say, gamers and a video card upgrade... e.g.: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/dis...li_8.html#sect0

An extra $140 from a single 9600GT to SLI'ed 9600GT's .. or an extra $80 from a single 9600GT to a single 8800GTS is an average 10fps difference from 19fps to 29fps or more, which is a HUGE difference in playablity. (granted, these is a sensitive range. If it's between 50fps and 60fps that's not much of a difference to the end user, much less sensitive). We're still talking a 50% increase in average frame rate, hardly single digit. ;) I would say far more enthusiasts out there are more worried about going from 19fps to 29fps then they are about saving 3 seconds out of 40 seconds in level load time. Sure they'd like to do both, but if money is finite, you can guess the video card would win 98 times out of 100. ;)

When you have something that's giving you 15-100% better performance, like a Raptor over just about any SATA hard drive, that's a difference you notice.
If you frequently do disk-bound tasks, I absolutely agree. Hell I run 15K SAS for that reason, I'm disk-bound due to access-time for a lot of what I do...

But for most users... they are disk bound, yes, but it's for what, a minute or two or five scattered about their whole 8 or 12 hour day... they find it a lot harder to justify.

Even the 150G raptor has faster random access than almost all other drives, so it still works better than other drives that have better raw performance numbers.
Maybe, maybe not. It does hold up very well, but look at SR's own benchmarks...

http://www.storagereview.com/WD3000BLFS.sr?page=0%2C2

SR hasn't tested the Samsung F1 1TB or WD 6400AAKS yet, but even the 7K1000 is frighteningly close to the Raptor 150 in performance.

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It's not just the 15mm enterprise height of the VelociRaptor that prevents normal usage in a laptop or USB enclosure. It's also the power requirement, as the SR and TR reviews mention.
We should note that unlike 2.5" mobile drives, which only draw power from the 5V line, the VelociRaptor pulls from both 5V and 12V rails.

So even if I find a 2.5" HDD USB enclosure that fits the VelociRaptor, it would have to use its own 5V/12V AC adapter instead of being (dual) USB bus-powered? :(

Well, you wouldn't want to get the fastest SATA drive and stick it to a USB enclosure only to be limited by the USB transfer rate... :P

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I think drives used to be a big bottleneck up until 5-10 years ago. When ATA drives (and later SATA drives) became much faster and UDMA became the norm, the difference between ATA and SCSI for desktop use started to diminish. Nowadays with big/fast/cheap drives and 2-4GB of RAM on many desktops, drive speed is even less of a factor. With enough RAM, almost everything becomes read cached in short order. Drive speed is still important for write intensive applications or in servers where random I/O is the norm, but outside of that, it's getting harder to justify big investments in drives because the return on investment just isn't what it used to be.

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Will this drive work with Mac Pros? I have heard that it will not but nothing official from WD, aside from the absence of "OS X" in the system requirements blurb. Doesn't look good, but I have no idea why they would intentionally cut out a huge segment of the target market (creative professionals using Mac Pros) by doing this. Anyone hear anything definitive from WD on their plans in this regard? Thanks... - RM

Will this drive work with Mac Pros? I have heard that it will not but nothing official from WD, aside from the absence of "OS X" in the system requirements blurb. Doesn't look good, but I have no idea why they would intentionally cut out a huge segment of the target market (creative professionals using Mac Pros) by doing this. Anyone hear anything definitive from WD on their plans in this regard? Thanks... - RM

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Will this drive work with Mac Pros?
Electrically, yes, it should work fine.

Mechanically, no, since the SATA connector position is not aligned properly when it's installed in the 3.5" heatsink thing it comes with from WD. So you're SOL unless someone makes a proper 2.5" to 3.5" adapter.

And since when has the lack of any spec in the system requirements for a harddisk stopped anyone? ;)

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Will this drive work with Mac Pros?
Electrically, yes, it should work fine.

Mechanically, no, since the SATA connector position is not aligned properly when it's installed in the 3.5" heatsink thing it comes with from WD. So you're SOL unless someone makes a proper 2.5" to 3.5" adapter.

And since when has the lack of any spec in the system requirements for a harddisk stopped anyone? ;)

For 2008 Mac Pros it's not difficult to use one of the two "hidden" onboard SATA connectors and put a hard drive into either of the optical drive days, check out the articles I posted:

Mac Pro (2008): Raptor in optical drive bay

Mac Pro (2008): Adding an SSD to the Raptor already in the optical drive bay

For the earlier (2006) Mac Pros it's more involved:

How I "silenced" a WD Raptor in a Mac Pro (2006)

Edited by boli

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It's May 22. Anybody heard when these things might actually hit dealer stock?

Note to Eugene: Thanks for the review. I haven't been this excited about a hard drive in.... can't remember when. Can't wait to see how the retail version stacks up against the engineering sample.

Also, as a 20+ year die-hard SCSI fan, I'd love to see this drive benchmarked against a group of 10k and 15k SAS drives. I've been spending extra for Seagate Savvio drives (the HP servers I buy use 2.5" disks). If the Velociraptor is made available without the IcePAK, and if it makes strong competition for the Savvio, I may opt to try it out in a few servers instead.

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Anybody have any idea when these will be available? The original WD press release said they would be on sale on their site by mid-month and I still don't see 'em.

Also any idea how the 150GB model will perform (performance-wise, heat-wise, noise-wise) versus the reviewed 300GB model?

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Anybody have any idea when these will be available? The original WD press release said they would be on sale on their site by mid-month and I still don't see 'em.

Also any idea how the 150GB model will perform (performance-wise, heat-wise, noise-wise) versus the reviewed 300GB model?

They are available on Newegg now! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822136260

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I noticed that-- at full MSRP. Very un-like NewEgg, who usually has good prices. I'm sure the price will come down after the initial "gotta have it at any price" crowd gets their fill. At least I hope so because I really want one, just not at $299.99.

Also looking forward to seeing a followup SR article benchmarking the retail version, so we know if WD was accurate in saying the engineering sample SR tested was only 90% optimized.

Edited by rebus9

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I noticed that-- at full MSRP. Very un-like NewEgg, who usually has good prices.
You haven't noticed NE prices creeping up, especially at launch, to ridiculous prices recently?

*sigh*

It's now typical behaviour from Newegg...

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You haven't noticed NE prices creeping up, especially at launch, to ridiculous prices recently?

*sigh*

It's now typical behaviour from Newegg...

Really? It shows you how far behind the curve I am. The servers I buy for work are... well... servers, and we buy the boring, tried-and-proven bread-and-butter models instead of bleeding edge.

At home, my primary machine is (if you can believe it) a Celeron 1.2 GHz that I built IIRC sometime in 2002. I have an E6750 Core2 Duo 2.66 that I built in January but I've been "living" in my Celeron box for so long and have so much installed, it's taking a long time to gradually get everything moved over.

I've been kicking myself with both feet for 4 months for not putting an SAS drive in the E6750 (every PC I've had for 20+ years has been SCSI) because the 7200 RPM SATA is so DOG SLOW compared to the servers I work with everyday with 15k SAS. When I came to Storage Review to read the reviews on new SAS controllers, by happy coincidence I saw the review of the VelociRaptor and really got excited. If it's as good as they say, and if WD ever releases them without the IcePAK, I'm going to try them in a few servers, too.

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10,000 rpm disks have 3 ms of rotational latency not 2 ms. Or am I missing something?

You're absolutely right, thanks.

3.9 ms measured seek time... even more impressive.

Regards,

Eugene

Hey Eugene I just looked at the WD VelociRaptor article again and see:

The VelociRaptor turns in a measured average read access time of 6.9 milliseconds (ms). After accounting for the 2 ms associated with a 10,000 RPM spindle speed, WD's latest is left with an average read seek time of 4.9 ms and misses the manufacturer's 4.2 ms claim by over half a millisecond.

Did the ISP downtime screw up the revisions you made on the article, or am I on crack, as I see the 2 ms number again???

It seems that people are reporting 7.1 ms access time for the shipping drive so seek seems to be 4.1ms, pretty close to the 4.2ms claim?

Thanks again

10,000 rpm disks have 3 ms of rotational latency not 2 ms. Or am I missing something?

You're absolutely right, thanks.

3.9 ms measured seek time... even more impressive.

Regards,

Eugene

Hey Eugene I just looked at the WD VelociRaptor article again and see:

The VelociRaptor turns in a measured average read access time of 6.9 milliseconds (ms). After accounting for the 2 ms associated with a 10,000 RPM spindle speed, WD's latest is left with an average read seek time of 4.9 ms and misses the manufacturer's 4.2 ms claim by over half a millisecond.

Did the ISP downtime screw up the revisions you made on the article, or am I on crack, as I see the 2 ms number again???

It seems that people are reporting 7.1 ms access time for the shipping drive so seek seems to be 4.1ms, pretty close to the 4.2ms claim?

Thanks again

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Hi:

I just bought a new Velociraptor to replace my 150GB Raptor. I wasn’t expecting miracles with increased speeds but I noticed that at least in one area it was slower than my Raptor. When booting my Windows XP SP3 Home it takes about 5 secs longer than it did with the old Raptor. I am comparing an image that I took directly from the Raptor and put on the Velociraptor. I think it is being held up in the first part of the boot. I noticed that it takes about 5 secs longer when the computer says “Verifying DMI Pool Data.†Does anyone know why my boot would be slower with the Velociraptor. Is XP taking longer to recognize the new drive or what else could be going on.

Also, I am in IDE mode. I wonder if AHCI would be better for the Velociraptor.

Thanks for your ideas, Kent

Edited by Kent10

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Hi:

I just bought a new Velociraptor to replace my 150GB Raptor. I wasn’t expecting miracles with increased speeds but I noticed that at least in one area it was slower than my Raptor. When booting my Windows XP SP3 Home it takes about 5 secs longer than it did with the old Raptor. I am comparing an image that I took directly from the Raptor and put on the Velociraptor. I think it is being held up in the first part of the boot. I noticed that it takes about 5 secs longer when the computer says “Verifying DMI Pool Data.†Does anyone know why my boot would be slower with the Velociraptor. Is XP taking longer to recognize the new drive or what else could be going on.

Also, I am in IDE mode. I wonder if AHCI would be better for the Velociraptor.

Thanks for your ideas, Kent

For startup issue, usually the position of files on disk are different after disk cloning.

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Hi Eugene, just want to point out the Review Discussion link at the end of the article links to the Hitachi Travelstar discussion thread instead of this thread.

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Greetings!

WD just announced the enterprise version with a surprise, 3ms latency instead of the 5,5ms previously reported. :huh:

The enterprise version is the BLFS, the enthusiast version is the GLFS.

And there will be a 150GB BLFS version.

Edited by impar

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Greetings!

WD just announced the enterprise version with a surprise, 3ms latency instead of the 5,5ms previously reported. :huh:

The enterprise version is the BLFS, the enthusiast version is the GLFS.

And there will be a 150GB BLFS version.

The 150 GB version was bound to turn up sooner or later. As in many other tech releases, they always go for the biggest, fastest headline grabber for the initial launch, then gradually trickle the new tech down to cheaper models.

As for the 3ms latency. that's the rotational latency - how long, on average, it takes the platter to spin to the right place (parrallel to the edge) at 10,000 RPM. There's also the seek time - how long it takes the head to move (perpendicular to the edge) to get to the right place. Combined, they make the average access time. This is often different for reads and writes.

Looking at the 2.5" specs, it says average latency of 3 ms - that's half the time it takes for the platters to do one full rotation at 10,000 RPM. It'll be the same for any 10K drive.

It also lists average read and write seek times of 4.2 ms and 4.7 ms respectively. That represents how fast the actuators are, and matches the specs for the rest of the VR line.

When I look at the 3.5" specs, it lists average latency of 5.5 ms, which matches neither the rotational latency, the seek time nor the average access tiome. In fact, it's actually the rotational latency of a 5400 RPM drive - in other words, another typo by WD in one of their press releases. Not the first time that's happened.

The conclusion? It's the same drive, at the same speed, but without the 2.5" to 3.5" adaptor, and with an additional 150 GB option that's not yet available in the 3.5" form factor.

It'll be interesting to see what this costs.

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At home, my primary machine is (if you can believe it) a Celeron 1.2 GHz that I built IIRC sometime in 2002. I have an E6750 Core2 Duo 2.66 that I built in January but I've been "living" in my Celeron box for so long and have so much installed, it's taking a long time to gradually get everything moved over.

That's purely a software/OS issue though. :P

My current desktop has been installed many years ago (using a single floppy to fire up the network-install, if you can believe that these days :D) on a 366 MHz Celeron with 3 IBM DNES SCSI drives and went through a PIII to a 2.4 Ghz P4 with a Seagate Cheetah 15K drive (and some IDE drives for storage). From there I moved it to the current box 1.5 years ago, a E6700 Core 2 Duo having a RAID1 of 2 WD740ADFD Raptors (and a RAID6 of 6 WD5000YS RE2's for storage) on a 3ware controller. Did the move quickly in 1-2 days without any problems.

I've been kicking myself with both feet for 4 months for not putting an SAS drive in the E6750 (every PC I've had for 20+ years has been SCSI) because the 7200 RPM SATA is so DOG SLOW compared to the servers I work with everyday with 15k SAS.

Hehe yes, before the current box, I haven't been accepting anything but good SCSI drives where performance and reliability matters either. :D But with the ever increasing prices of SCSI, the Raptors on a 3ware did sound like a good alternative, and oh yes, they are. :D

Its just a shame that I do have an unused Cheetah lying around now. :rolleyes:

My favourite real-world "benchmark" is firing up the GIMP (which loads a whole slew of plugins on startup). On my laptop (1.5 Ghz G4, Hitachi Travelstar 7K100) it takes 30s the first time, 6-7s when cached, on the desktop 3-4s the first time, 2s when its cached. The Core 2 Duo is obviously way faster, but it also shows that a fast disk does go a long way.

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So you're SOL unless someone makes a proper 2.5" to 3.5" adapter.

Which is a very good question, do those adapters exist?

It would be a major shame if one would be forced to use the old raptors if one does not want to get new systems featuring 2.5" backplanes along with. Besides cost, wanting to use some large capacity drives alongside the raptors seems like quite a good reason not to. :angry:

(Of course, its no problem to find/build systems featuring both, but options are fewer and chances to be able to convert an existing system yet lower.)

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Actually, someone on the HardOCP forums had pictures of a new IcePak version from WD, one with an adapter board bolted to the sled. This allows the drive to stay centered in the sled while still presenting a hotswap-compatible SATA connector. No idea if this sled is available ala carte or only comes with certain versions of the VR, though.

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