Although solid state drives have generated the lion’s share of buzz in the storage space these last few years, traditional hard drives with spinning media continue to be a mainstay of the industry, and have evolved to offer higher capacities and more performance than ever before. Of course, even the fastest of today’s hard drives can’t compete with solid state drives in terms of peak transfer speeds and especially access times, but the release of the new WD VelociRaptor we’ll be showing you here today helps close the gap just a bit.
WD’s VelociRaptor hard drives have been popular amongst enthusiasts since their initial introduction in 2009. The drives don’t offer the huge capacities of their true 3.5”, 7200RPM counterparts. The latest VelociRaptor, however, increases the capacity of WD’ flagship consumer drives to the 1TB mark, while also doubling up on the cache and offering the same 10K spindle speeds the drives are known for. New, lower capacity 500GB and 250GB VelociRaptors are on the way as well, that offer the same enhancements as the flagship 1TB drive. Take a look at the specifications below and then we’ll dive in and see what WD’s latest VelociRaptor can do...
Like the original WD VelociRaptors that came before it, this latest iteration has a unique aesthetic versus standard 3.5” hard drives, thanks to the WD IcePak tray / cooler. While the actual drive itself conforms to a 2.5" form factor, having it mounted into the IcePak essentially transforms it into a 3.5" drive with enhanced cooling characteristics.
While the WD VelociRaptor 1TB WD1000DHTZ model shown here does conform to the standard 3.5" form factor, the actual drive mechanics are housed in a 2.5" HDA drive with a 15mm z-height, similar to the original VelociRaptor and many enterprise-class SAS hard drives available today. The drive itself is mounted in what is essentially a large heatsink, which helps wick heat away from the drive, while also adapting its connectors to fit in any standard 3.5" bay or backplane.
The WD VelociRaptor is targeted at performance enthusiasts, workstations, and the enterprise. Like previous-generation VelociRaptors, it's platters spin at 10K RPM and because they are physically smaller than standard 3.5" drives, the VelociRaptor is typically able to access and transfer data much more quickly than full sized, 3.5" offerings. Complementing the drive mechanism is 64MB of data cache, a high-speed controller with newly tweaked firmware and caching algorithms, and a SATA 6Gb/s interface. In addition, the new WD VelociRaptor also supports WD’s Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF) technology, which helps maintain performance in vibration prone multi-drive chassis, NoTouch ramp load technology to prevent the recording heads from ever touching a platter, and Pre-emptive Wear Leveling (PWL) that enhances reliability for applications that perform a high incidence of read / write operations at the same physical location on the disk.