Western Digital officially announced the 300GB based VelociRaptor a couple of weeks ago as the successor to the Raptor family.  We provided a preview of the drive and came away impressed with its performance although our review sample was suffering from early firmware problems and other maladies.  

Western Digital responded to our concerns quickly and provided us with a new drive. Western Digital still has not finalized the firmware for the retail market, but expects to very shortly. We will provide a full review of the drive including RAID and enterprise benchmark results once this occurs. The acoustic and thermal characteristics of the new drive did not differ from our previous results.  However, the performance differences noticed when testing the new drive is worth a quick update to our original article.

HD Tune  Pro 3.00 –

 
 

We no longer have the optimization problem with the servo algorithm that resulted in slowdowns on the outer diameter of the platters. Minimum transfer rates increased from 8.8 MB/s to 73.9 MB/s while the average STR increased from 98.4 MB/s to 102.0 MB/s. Burst rates also increased from 163.7 MB/s to 184.5 MB/s.

Application Results –

 
 

Our PCMark Vantage tests that simulate real-world performance patterns utilizing a variety of actual applications changed very little. The only measurable differences came in the Photo Gallery and Movie Maker tests.   It was in our initial application tests where the new drive significantly outperformed the original test sample.  Our game tests indicated very little difference between the drives, but enough to be measurable over the dozen test runs. 

In the video and file application tests, we significant improvements as the drive no longer slows down during the initial write process. As such, we see a 29-second improvement in the 7.55GB file copy test, 2.7 seconds in the 602MB file copy run, 5 seconds in the traditionally CPU intensive Recode test, and 7 seconds in the WinRAR test.

Quick Thoughts –

We have always appreciated every drive release in the Raptor family. Since Western Digital eradicated the bugs in our test unit, we firmly believe the improvements implemented in the VelociRaptor easily make it the SATA drive to have if performance is at the top of your shopping list. While the 300GB capacity and $1 per Gigabyte cost do not fair favorably to the latest 640GB to 1TB drives, both “penalties” are acceptable enough for us to recommend the VelociRaptor as the primary drive in any performance oriented system.

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  • SignalPST - Saturday, May 3, 2008 - link

    Hi Gary,

    Can you verify the acoustic results of the new Raptor again? I was looking at them(http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=32...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=32... and comparing it to the 1TB Caviar GP(http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=31...">http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=31... and both are alarmingly similar. I'm hopping either some mistake was made or that WD must have made such huge leaps and bounds to quite the VelociRaptor. AFAIK, the Caviar GP is among the most quiet consumer HDDs out, and the Raptors; traditionally, are quite the contrast.

    SignalPST
    Reply
  • GTVic - Saturday, May 3, 2008 - link

    The new new raptor is a 2.5" drive compared to 3.5" inches in the previous models. Also there are only 2 platters in this drive (not sure how many in the previous model). So maybe it is huge leaps and bounds but there is a good reason for it.

    I am waiting for the single platter 150GB version for my next boot drive.
    Reply
  • biostud - Saturday, May 3, 2008 - link

    ....for only ~$30/GB

    http://www.fusionio.com/press3.html">http://www.fusionio.com/press3.html
    Reply
  • javamann - Saturday, May 3, 2008 - link

    I have a couple of the older 150G Raptors in a RAID 0 on a AMCC 9650SE card and the just benchmarked with HD Tune at an average transfer rate of 119.8 MB/sec and an access time of 8.0 ms Reply
  • Melski - Friday, May 2, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the update, I am watching this drive carefully. As for the others who replied, this drive is about speed and performance - not capacity. It's going to be my next system drive, if all turns out well in the full review.
    I find it interesting that the other drive makers are happy to leave WD to this market - why no response from them? I always thought that the performance end of the market was were the money was at.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Saturday, May 3, 2008 - link

    It is - but they would rather sell $1000 SAS or iSCSI drives. Reply
  • Zefram0911 - Friday, May 2, 2008 - link

    I wonder if anyone is going to do a review with hardware based non onboard raid. I'd like to see performance numbers with 3 of these badboys in a raid 0. Reply
  • GhandiInstinct - Friday, May 2, 2008 - link

    excuse but you shouldn't be recommending a drive that only increased capacity and reduced size. At the least, they could have made our $300 receive a 32MB cache. Reply
  • Bremen7000 - Friday, May 2, 2008 - link

    Did you even read the preview? It was completely rebuilt. RTFM or GTFO. Go spend your money on marketing hype where numbers like cache size dominate, I guess. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 2, 2008 - link

    What's with the "Jared" subject? LOL I have nothing to do with this article. :p And there are two R's. Unless you're talking about the subway guy? Or the jewelry store? "He went to Jared!" Reply

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