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WD VelociRaptor 1TB 10K RPM SATA III Hard Drive
Date: Apr 16, 2012
Author: Marco Chiappetta
Introduction and Specifications

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...

WD VelociRaptor 1TB Hard Drive, Model WD1000DHTZ  

Western Digital VelociRaptor
Specifications & Features

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.


WD VelociRaptor 1TB Hard Drive, Model WD1000DHTZ

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.

Test System and SANDRA

Our Test Methodologies: Under each test condition, the Solid State Drives tested here were installed as secondary volumes in our testbed, with a standard spinning hard disk for the OS and benchmark installations. Out testbed's motherboard was updated with the latest BIOS available as of press time and AHCI mode was enabled. The were left blank without partitions wherever possible, unless a test required them to be partitioned and formatted, as was the case with our ATTO, PCMark 7, and CrystalDiskMark benchmark tests. Windows firewall, automatic updates and screen savers were all disabled before testing. In all test runs, we rebooted the system and waited several minutes for drive activity to settle before invoking a test.

HotHardware Test System
Intel Core i7 and SSD Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Card -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drives -


Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7-2600K

Asus P8Z6-V Pro
(Z68 Chipset, AHCI Enabled)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285

4GB Kingston DDR3-1600

Integrated on board

WD Raptor 150GB (OS Drive)
WD Caviar Green 3TB
WD Velociraptor 600GB
WD Velociraptor 1TB
Hitachi Deskstar 3TB
Seagate Barracuda 3TB
Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB

OS -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64
Intel, iRST 10.5.1027
DirectX 11

NVIDIA GeForce 275.33

Benchmarks Used:
HD Tune v5
ATTO v2.47
CrystalDiskMark v3.01 x64
PCMark 7
SiSoftware Sandra 2011

SiSoft SANDRA 2011
Synthetic HDD Benchmarking

Next we ran SiSoft SANDRA, the the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. Here, we used the Physical Disk test suite and provided the results from our comparison SSDs. The benchmarks were run without formatting and read and write performance metrics are detailed below.

The new WD Velociraptor 1TB hard drive decimated all of the other drives we tested in the SiSoft SANDRA physical disk benchmark. Its closest competition here, the Seagate Barracuda 3TB, came close in the read test, but the WD Velociraptor 1TB's write performance left everything else in the dust.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
ATTO is another "quick and dirty" type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. We chose .5kb through 8192kb transfer sizes and a queue depth of 6 over a total max volume length of 256MB. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc. This test was performed on blank, formatted drives with default NTFS partitions in Windows 7 x64.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
More Information Here: http://bit.ly/btuV6w

With the smallest of transfer sizes, the new WD Velociraptor 1TB offered middling performance in the ATTO read test, but once the transfer size exceeded the 4K mark, WD's new flagship hard drive blew past all of our reference drive and clearly led the pack. In the write test, the WD Velociraptor 1TB led across the board regardless of the transfer size.

HD Tune Benchmarks
EFD Software's HD Tune is described on the company's web site as such: "HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive's performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more." The latest version of the benchmark added temperature statistics and improved support for SSDs, among a few other updates and fixes.

HD Tune v5
More Info Here: http://www.hdtune.com

The new WD Velociraptor 1TB drive once again led the pack in the HD Tune benchmark in terms of bandwidth. Read and Write access times were also very good, although the Seagate drives and WD RE4 offered somewhat better Write access times.

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark is a synthetic benchmark that tests both sequential and random small and mid-sized file transfers. It provides a quick look at best and worst case scenarios with regard to SSD performance, best case being larger sequential transfers and worse case being small, random transfers.

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks
Synthetic File Transfer Tests

The new WD Velociraptor 1TB once again dominated all of the other drives according to CrystalDiskMark. In all four of CrystalDiskMark's tests, nothing came close to offering the same kind of performance the WD Velociraptor 1TB can.

PCMark 7 Storage Benchmarks
We really like PCMark 7's Secondary Storage benchmark module for its pseudo real-world application measurement approach to testing. PCMark 7 offers a trace-based measurement of system response times under various scripted workloads of traditional client / desktop system operation. From simple application start-up performance, to data streaming from a drive in a game engine, and video editing with Windows Movie Maker, we feel more comfortable that these tests reasonably illustrate the performance profile of a hard drive in an end-user / consumer PC usage model, more so than a purely synthetic transfer test.

Futuremark's PCMark 7 Secondary Storage

The WD Velociraptor 1TB led the pack in PCMark, with its 600GB counterpart trailing closely behind. The Velociraptor lines' relatively low access times and fast transfer speeds both play a role in the drives' leading performance here.

If we tunnel deeper into the PCMark results, we find that the WD Velociraptor 1TB led the pack in every one of the sub-tests. In terms of actual MB/s transferred, the numbers don't seem terribly impressive, but in term's of percentages, the WD Velociraptor 1TB is in roughly 10% - 25% faster than the other drives here, depending on the test.

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The new WD VelociRaptor 1TB is the fastest consumer-class hard drive we have tested to date. Versus the previous generation VelociRaptor 600GB drive, the new 1TB model comes out ahead virtually across the board, especially in terms of write performance. Versus the higher-capacity 7200 RPM drives we tested, the new VelociRaptor also comes out mostly ahead as well. It was only with the smallest transfer sizes (<4K) in the ATTO Disk Benchmark that the WD VelociRaptor 1TB offered middling performance, but once transfer sizes increased beyond that point, WD’s new flagship sprinted past the other drives and dominated. Sequential and random transfers and access times have all been improved with the new VelociRaptor versus WD’s previous generation.

The WD VelociRaptor

When we first tested the WD VelociRaptor 600GB drive a couple of years back, we began our conclusion with this statement:  “The landscape in the PC storage space is very different today than it was when the original VelociRaptor launched in April of last year (2009). Since then, Solid State Drives, while still extremely expensive in terms of cost per GB, have gotten much more affordable and performance has increased dramatically. At the same time, the cost of relatively speedy, high-capacity 7200 RPM hard drives has dropped to right around $.10 per GB (give or take a couple of pennies). In the current market, it would be possible to purchase a 60GB SSD to use as a boot volume and a pair of relatively fast 7200RPM 640GB - 1TB hard drives, for the same price as a single 600GB VelociRaptor. RAID the hard drives together and you end up with a "best of both worlds" type of scenario--a super-fast solid state boot volume and a large bulk storage volume that also happens to be pretty fast. With options like that possible today, it's increasingly more difficult to find the ideal fit for the VelociRaptor 600GB drive in an enthusiast's desktop rig, today. With that said, the new WD VelociRaptor is still the fastest hard drive money can buy. And it offers much more capacity than a similarly priced SSD, while at the same time being measurably faster than any other single HD”.

Despite some major changes in the storage space in the last couple of years, all of that essentially remains true today, though there are pros and cons to a having to go with a RAID 0 solution to achieve the kind of throughput the VelociRaptor is capable of.

WD’s latest VelociRaptor hard drives should be available immediately. As we mentioned earlier, in addition to the WD VelociRaptor 1TB drive we tested here, 500GB and 250GB models are coming as well. The VelociRaptor 1TB drive (model WD1000DHTZ) will be priced around $319.99 USD, the 500GB version (model WD5000HHTZ) around $209.99 and the 250GB version (model WD2500HHTZ) $159.99, and all of the drives carry a 5-Year warranty. At those prices, the new VelociRaptor line-up is significantly more expensive than similar capacity 7200RPM drives, but as our performance evaluation has shown, WD’s new flagship drives offer clearly superior performance. The performance increases alone don’t necessarily justify the lofty price premium, but if you’re in the market for the fastest desktop hard drive money can buy, and a speedy access to bulk storage, the new WD VelociRaptor is it.

  • Fastest HD Yet
  • Nearly Double The Capacity Of Previous VelociRaptor
  • SATA 6G Support
  • 64MB Cache
  • 5-Year Warranty
  • High Cost Per GB Versus 7200RPM Hard Drives
  • SSDs More Affordable Then Ever

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