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Western Digital VelociRaptor Preview

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WD's next-generation Raptor is here! The VelociRaptor WD3000BLFS doubles the line's capacity to 300 gigabytes and reduces the line's form factor to a modern 2.5" profile. How much higher does the latest entry in this storied family raise the performance bar? Join StorageReview as we take a look at the newest drive out of Lake Forest.

Western Digital VelociRaptor Preview

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Greetings!

Impressive results! Even more considering its not fully optimized yet.

Any idea if a 150GB version will be available?

And, how long for the solid state comparison?

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Greetings!

WD site shows the model number as WD3000GLFS, not WD3000BLFS.

http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/...asp?driveid=459

True, but you can see from the photo on P1 of the article that SR's sample has BLFS on the sticker! Given WD's track record on documentation accuracy on their website, I'll side with Eugene on this one!

That's an impressive drive - twice the capacity, in a 2.5" form factor, and it's cooler, quieter and dramatically faster than the competition! (Now the competition's got about 2-3 years to recover, and overtake it again before the next Raptor comes out!) I can't blame them for charging $300 for something that fast, and a decent size to boot (no pun intended). It's still well shy of fast SSD prices, especially if you consider capacity - with most SSDs, you'd need an extra hard drive for bulk storage. With this, you might not.

And the price is bound to come down in a few months when production is up to speed and all the bleeding edge, rich early adopters have got theirs.

This is a welcome addition to the storage market, and will be a good ambassador for magnetic storage against the tide of SSDs. I still think SSDs are eventually going to win the "I want a fast drive, what do I get?" debate, but the VelociRaptor is going to tip the balance for several months yet, maybe a year or so.

I'm particularly impressed by the multi-user improvement over [all older SATA drives, including the Raptor 150]. It won't make a jot of difference to the single user crowd, but it shows that SATA technology and engineering is really maturing nicely.

So, who'll be first to kill their VelociRaptor by shoehorning it into a laptop that can't dissipate that much heat? :P

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Greetings!

True, but you can see from the photo on P1 of the article that SR's sample has BLFS on the sticker! Given WD's track record on documentation accuracy on their website, I'll side with Eugene on this one!
BLFS for engineering sample and GLFS for the final product?

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It won't physically fit, unless you do some serious hacking. I suppose it might be feasible in those gaming notebooks which have more room to begin with, but it'd still involve some amount of chopping, I imagine.

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It won't physically fit, unless you do some serious hacking. I suppose it might be feasible in those gaming notebooks which have more room to begin with, but it'd still involve some amount of chopping, I imagine.

It's a 2.5" drive, so it should fit. Unless they did the non-standard height thing like Hitachi did with their 500GB 2.5". It's hard to tell from looking at the specs on the WD site. Everything has (max) next to it.

Edited by DigitalFreak

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Thanks eugene, you have provided the best review content on this drive. Please keep up the good work :-) As feedback, I like the TechReport pictures and table of contents which they provide with a drop-down.

PS: nobody compares the velociraptor to an SSD in this preview. It feels like this may have been a requirement for getting the test hardware.....

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It's a 2.5" drive, so it should fit. Unless they did the non-standard height thing like Hitachi did with their 500GB 2.5". It's hard to tell from looking at the specs on the WD site. Everything has (max) next to it.
It's 15mm tall according to TR, and since most laptops only take a 9.5mm drive, a handful are 12.5mm.............. that could be an issue.

http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/14583

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It's a 2.5" drive, so it should fit. Unless they did the non-standard height thing like Hitachi did with their 500GB 2.5". It's hard to tell from looking at the specs on the WD site. Everything has (max) next to it.
It's 15mm tall according to TR, and since most laptops only take a 9.5mm drive, a handful are 12.5mm.............. that could be an issue.

http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/14583

Yeah, the last picture on that linked page shows that the VelociRaptor is, indeed, a very tall monster. Essentially no chance of fitting in any reasonable notebook. (Dang, I was hoping, power-and-heat-be-damned, to put one in my MacBook Pro. (The entire bottom enclosure of the MacBook Pro is only 15mm, so I'd have to make quite a bulge to fit this in.)

I wonder if they'll make a single-platter, 150 GB version that I could cram in? (Although that would probably still be 12.5mm, which is still too tall.)

P.S. Way to go, Eugene, on getting a review posted on the day of announcement! Looks like SR is finally back in serious business! Let's hope you can keep the momentum going.

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From the article, Page 2:

"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."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Can't wait for this drive to hit the streets.

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Guest Eugene
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

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Nice stats! Too bad it wasn't around a year ago when I was looking to buy faster drives. I don't know how well it's going to sell at $1/gig though. Seems a bit steep when much larger drives are going for considerably less and are quite good performers in their own right. Still, it's nice to see WD making improvements to the Raptor line after all these years.

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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? :(

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It's a 2.5" drive, so it should fit. Unless they did the non-standard height thing like Hitachi did with their 500GB 2.5". It's hard to tell from looking at the specs on the WD site. Everything has (max) next to it.
It's 15mm tall according to TR, and since most laptops only take a 9.5mm drive, a handful are 12.5mm.............. that could be an issue.

http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/14583

Yep. Just saw the height info on HardOCP. Oh well. :D

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Funny, each time there is a new raptor we have to wait for the final review under the final revision.

Not a rant against storage review, but oh well. I still would get a Raptor X, since it would look good in the side of my Apevia Cube Case.

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Funny, each time there is a new raptor we have to wait for the final review under the final revision.

True, though it's rarely different enough to make it not the fastest SATA drive available! To be honest, I think it's great that WD provides SR with review samples even before the drive's released. I feel much more confident in buying or recommending a drive once I've seen SR's review of it, and obviously WD wanted the world to know how fast their new baby was! SR have done well to turn the review around in time for the release date, and I'm looking forward to further reviews featuring the VelociRaptor*.

* Are we going to start calling it the VR for short, or is that just too obscure? Or am I just lazy?

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It won't physically fit, unless you do some serious hacking. I suppose it might be feasible in those gaming notebooks which have more room to begin with, but it'd still involve some amount of chopping, I imagine.

It's a 2.5" drive, so it should fit. Unless they did the non-standard height thing like Hitachi did with their 500GB 2.5". It's hard to tell from looking at the specs on the WD site. Everything has (max) next to it.

Even if it fits physically... The cramped interior of even big notebooks isnt really made to cope with this drives TDP.

>4W would just be too much in those non-ventilated (and further heated by the cpu heatsink) spaces.

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Nice, but I don't know if I can handle a price that high anymore. I'm used to these low prices. My 150GB Raptor cost half as much.

Where did you see a pricetag for this thing? I havent found one yet.

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Excellent review! I'm anxiously awaiting this hard drive. I don't understand why people don't buy more raptors. I've found after almost 20 years of building my own PC's that It's the Hard Drive, Stupid!

Caveat: that's true for general computer use although your mileage will vary if you have a specialized workload such as gaming or photo/video processing.

I can (and have) spent $1000, with $200-300 on a Raptor and come out with a system that feels faster on general tasks than something much more expensive (faster processor, memory, video).

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 %). 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. Per gig it's a lot more expensive, but who cares, I can just get 500g for $120 or so as a second drive.

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.

Looks like the Velociraptor is going to wipe the floor with the competition, though...woohoo!

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