WD VelociRaptor 600GB: Fastest Hard Drive Ever

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The WD VelociRaptor 600GB performance characteristics speak for themselves really. Though, to put it simply, the WD VelociRaptor 600GB is the fastest hard drive we have tested to date, bar none. The drive's increased areal density and cache, along with whatever other secret sauce WD has baked in, resulted in significantly increased performance over the first-gen 300GB VelociRaptor. Finally, the drive was faster than our high-end 2TB reference drives as well, virtually across the board.

The landscape in the PC storage space is very different today than it was when the original VelociRaptor launched in April of last year. 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 thanks to its larger cache, increased areal density, and beefed-up dual-core controller versus the original. 

There are actually four models of WD VelociRaptor about to hit the scene, two with 600GB capacities and two with 450GB. Models WD4500HLHX and WD6000HLHX (the version we tested) are 3.5-inch versions that include the WD IcePack and will be available immediately at select distributors and resellers. 2.5-inch versions of the WD VelociRaptor without the IcePack module (models WD4500BLHX and WD6000BLHX) are currently being evaluated by OEM customers and will be available sometime later this quarter. The MSRPs of the WD VelociRaptor 450GB (model WD4500HLHX) is $299 and the 600GB (model WD6000HLHX) is $329. At those prices, the WD VelociRaptor costs about $0.55 per GB, or about 5x more per GB than some of the more affordable 7200 RPM, 640GB - 1TB drives currently on the market. That's a pretty steep premium for the extra performance. In light of current SSD offerings and the strong performance of relatively inexpensive 7200RPM drives, we feel pricing on the WD VelociRaptor--at least in terms of its MSRP--is a little on the high side. Hopefully street prices will ultimately settle somewhere south of the MSRP, because the WD VelociRaptor is a killer hard drive, worthy of your consideration if you're in the market for the fastest spinning media you can get your hands on.


  • Fastest HD Yet
  • Double The Capacity Of Previous VelociRaptor
  • SATA 6G Support
  • Relatively Quiet
  • High Cost Per GB Versus 7200RPM Hard Drives

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