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gfody

20,000RPM Raptor?

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I personally don't believe we'll see such a beast, simply because there is no 15K Raptor, and AFAIK WDC has no current experience or products with drives in that class, either 15K or faster.

One also has to wonder why the mainstays of the 15K drives, eg Seagate, Fujistu, Maxtor, etc have no 20K part either with nothing on their road maps for anything close to it. (Heck they're all going SSD).

And also you need to consider the physics of such a drive. Most 15K drives are either 1.8" or 2.5" platters in a 3.5" housing. To keep the physical platter from self-destructing, you either need to build it out of a material with a very strong molecular bond to maintain a 1.8" or larger platter, or you keep the size small to keep the centrifugal forces of the outer edges low enough so the platter does pull itself apart. (There is a reason why you never saw a CD-ROM faster than 52x. And yes, I have seen the results of disks self-destructing in the drive).

Just food for thought, but I'll never say never... ;)

Edited by Chewy509

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That rumor is from months ago. It is not true. They are actually working on a 100,000 rpm raptor. The test model I have works well except for the explosions. Apparently it has the same problem as the 20,000 rpm drive -- it is impossible

Edited by Loomy

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I wouldn't say it's impossible, just not financially practical for anyone to produce such a drive now. A new, higher spin-speed requires significant investment of capital, as the supply base also needs to tool up to make all those parts. Compared to the expected profit from going to 20K rpm, I don't believe the capital outlay is justified.

I could maybe see Samsung or Seagate doing this for the sake of bragging rights, but I'd consider the chances remote. HDD companies make money on volume and I just don't see a ton of volume in this theoretical 20K rpm market.

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And also you need to consider the physics of such a drive. Most 15K drives are either 1.8" or 2.5" platters in a 3.5" housing. To keep the physical platter from self-destructing, you either need to build it out of a material with a very strong molecular bond to maintain a 1.8" or larger platter, or you keep the size small to keep the centrifugal forces of the outer edges low enough so the platter does pull itself apart. (There is a reason why you never saw a CD-ROM faster than 52x. And yes, I have seen the results of disks self-destructing in the drive).

Well, CDs are just pieces of plastic that are routinely handled very roughly, and still they run at 10k rpm.

You are far from structural problems at that size. Just as a comparison: Turbomolecular pumps have rotors the bigger than 3.5" and run at >75000 rpm, routinely (even the bigger ones with with 25cm still to 40k or so). And i never heard of any structual failure that was not by something dropping into it. Mostly, its the bearings that die...

And that might be the main problem with HDs, because those pumps have stuff like magnetic bearings that doesnt fit into a hd case.

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You also have to keep the actuators flying above the platters. The faster the platters turn, the more difficult it gets. It's not just the platters themselves that are the problem. As someone already said, it has to be financially feasible. How many Raptors does WD sell? Who is interested in high rpm SATA drives, a product produced by only a single manufacturer while there are somewhat but not vastly more expensive SAS drives from several manufacturers? The volume of Raptors sold will most definitely be too low to justify very high development and production costs. And really, who needs a faster than 10k SATA drive? -> enthousiasts Companies run SAS and are happy with it. 7200 rpm SATA on the low end (router/firewall, small workgroup server, ...), 10k rpm SAS on more heavily used machines (more users, database servers, Windows SBS, ...) and 15k rpm SAS on serious stuff (larger databases, big file servers, ...). By the time you get to systems with 10k and 15k drives, the cost of the hard disks will be fairly minor compared to the rest of the hardware and especially software (OS, antivirus, database, ...). So I guess WD would have a very hard time making profit from a 20k SATA drive if you factor development and production costs.

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You also have to keep the actuators flying above the platters. The faster the platters turn, the more difficult it gets. It's not just the platters themselves that are the problem. As someone already said, it has to be financially feasible. How many Raptors does WD sell? Who is interested in high rpm SATA drives, a product produced by only a single manufacturer while there are somewhat but not vastly more expensive SAS drives from several manufacturers? The volume of Raptors sold will most definitely be too low to justify very high development and production costs. And really, who needs a faster than 10k SATA drive? -> enthousiasts Companies run SAS and are happy with it. 7200 rpm SATA on the low end (router/firewall, small workgroup server, ...), 10k rpm SAS on more heavily used machines (more users, database servers, Windows SBS, ...) and 15k rpm SAS on serious stuff (larger databases, big file servers, ...). By the time you get to systems with 10k and 15k drives, the cost of the hard disks will be fairly minor compared to the rest of the hardware and especially software (OS, antivirus, database, ...). So I guess WD would have a very hard time making profit from a 20k SATA drive if you factor development and production costs.

HTMK, the original article looked like a satire, especially with the "noise-cancelling housing." HOWEVER, given that the recent review of the Velociraptor shows how well it's now scaling, which was the main downside of this drive, are you sure there is no market?

I've just test-configured a new machine on the Dell site, with our university discount. It seems that SAS drives are VERY MUCH more expensive than what seem to be new Velociraptors designed by WD for Dell (they are 160GB, just as their predecessors were).

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But WD is using technology that has already been around for a bit with the Raptor line. Worst case, you buy the same parts from the same suppliers that your competitors do, figure out how to make it all work together (admittedly a tricky thing in the best of times!), and you can produce a 10K (or 15K) drive.

But 20K? If certain key suppliers don't already have a design ready, you have to work with them to develop it. And *that* usually requires a heck of a lot more money and time. If you weigh that against the expected market for such a drive, it will take a long time to recoup that investment. Combine that with folks expecting SATA drives to be cheaper than a comparable capacity SAS drive and you further cut back profit margin per drive. I just don't think there's enough volume to make it profitable.

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20k RPM Raptor is possible BUT not likely...

Here are the reasons that I think 20k RPM Raptor won't happen:

1) There is no other HDD out there with 20k RPM. There were rumors that >20k RPM drives were being studied for 'server class drives', but so far nothing. There must be serious reasons why there isn't even 'server class drives' with >15k RPM.

2) To develop a drive that has 20k RPM, it will require significantly different technology to minimize the effect of air excitation. Even current 15k RPM drives see difficulties to tame the air excitation created by co-rotating disks, 20k RPM from WD will not be easy (they don't even make 15k RPM drive). Imagine going from 7.2k to 10k RPM is tough, going from 10k to 20k RPM without any experience on 15k RPM drives... If you open one 10k and one 15k RPM drives, you will be able see the drastic differences in components related to air flow.

3) Power requirement for 20k RPM drive will be too much if you want to use same size disk as current Raptor. I believe current 10k RPM Raptor uses 65mm diameter disks (Seagate uses 54mm diameter disk for their 15k RPM drive and capacity will be only ~150 GB). In other words, to make 20k RPM drive with reasonable power consumption, it will require significantly smaller diameter disk. This will lower the capacity significantly (most likely in the ~50GB range)

4) Competition from SSD. One main reason why HDD is still able to compete with SSD is significantly better (lower) cost per GB. Who wants to pay over $400 for 20k RPM Raptor that has capacity in the ~50GB range? (Since Raptor 10k cost $300, I expect 20k RPM Raptor to be ~30% more - more expensive motor and extra components added to tame the air excitation).

In other words, demand will not be large enough to cover all the development costs.

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HMe has it right with #3. Its all about power. The "key suppliers" could care less about performance enthusiasts. They design for the big OEMs first and foremost. Since the OEMs have already designed the power and cooling in their servers for 20Watt 3.5" drives, they can't deal with the higher power a >=20Krpm drive with large platters would take. They only alternative would be to use small 45mm or less platters and the capacity would not be attractive. Now that flash is becoming more viable, 20krpm drives become even less attractive since they'd be the same capacity, have fewer IOPS and be almost the same price.

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I am gonna bet all my money on SSD's. They seem a bit safer and alot faster. I think the folks at Western Digital are laughing at us for even thinking for a minute that they would make this.

And the guy there that started the rumor got a nice bonus in his check :)

So, my prediction is that WD will have SSD's fairly soon, and a 20K drive never ever.

Dave

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