Western Digital (WD) today announced its first new enthusiast-oriented VelociRaptor hard drive (HDD) in nearly two years with the launch of the 450GB and 600GB capacity drives this morning. These new drives not only double the capacity available for this 10,000 RPM enterprise storage drives, but they also introduce support of the SATA 6Gbps interface and increase the drives’ cache from 16MB to 32MB! Thanks to these specification improvements the VelociRaptor has doubled in storage space and has gained roughly 15% in overall drive performance compared to the VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB hard drive that we reviewed in April 2008 here. To make top it all off we are told that the new drives consume no more power than the previous generation WD VelociRaptor! Today,
we have the WD VelociRaptor 600GB (WD6000HLHX) IcePack Hard Drive and we’ll
be taking an in-depth look at the drive’s features and the performance of the drive compared to the previous generation VelociRaptor HDD and other popular SSDs.
The VelociRaptor has always been aimed at high-performance PC enthusiasts who demand the ultimate SATA drive. Western Digital has built the VelociRaptor hard drive with enterprise-class mechanics that provide 24×7 durability under high-performance demands, and as a result they are rated at 1.4 million hours Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). The WD VelociRaptor drive is also available in the IcePack enclosure, a 3.5-inch mounting frame with a built-in heat sink – a factory customization that fits the drive into a standard 3.5-inch system bay and doubles as a hard drive cooler as well. If you remove it from the IcePack housing the drive is only 2.5-inches in width, but WD only sells the 2.5-inch bare drives to OEM customers. Don’t think about stuffing one of these in a netbook or notebook, though, as the 10,000 RPM drives feature a 15mm z-height, which make them too thick to fit in a standard notebook storage drive bay. The drive pictures above and the one we are reviewing today will be using the WD IcePack.
WD VelociRaptors SATA 6Gbps drives are available in two capacities:
The 2.5-inch WD VelociRaptor is enclosed in a backplane-ready 3.5-inch enterprise-class mounting frame with a built-in heat sink that keeps the drive cooler when installed in any chassis that has decent airflow. The new 450GB and 600GB VelociRaptor drives feature a brand new 3-platter design with 200GB per platter. The previous generation VelociRaptors used a two platter design with a pair of 150GB platters. This new 3-platter design, along with the newly added SATA 6GB/s interface support, is how WD was able to get the data transfer rate (buffer to disk) up from 128 MB/sec on the 300GB model to 145MB/sec on the new 600GB model that we are looking at here today.
WD VelociRaptor Product Specifications:
Here is a better look at the SATA 6Gbps header and the SATA power connector on the VelociRaptor series. The SATA 6 Gb/s storage interface is backwards-compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s interfaces, so no worries about that. For maximum performance you will want to run the VelociRaptor 0 in ‘AHCI’ mode in the BIOS and on a SATA 6 GB/s controller.
The overall performance and features of the VelociRaptor remain unchanged and the only thing we haven’t mentioned yet is that the head load and unload cycles of the drive are rated at 600,000. The drives come with a 5-year warranty just like the previous generation! Let’s move on to performance testing to see how the drive performs!