Ah yes, mechanical drives spinning at 10,000rpm, once the dream of every computer nerd, but since the introduction of the SSD, were not so sure theres much of a demand for Western Digitals VelociRaptor drives. Either which way, WD seems to think that theres enough demand and has revived the VelociRaptor range of drives and in its third iteration were looking at larger capacities, more SKUs and better performance.
The VR333M as the new VelociRaptor is also known as comes in sizes of 250, 500 and 1000GB, or 333GB per platter. WD has boosted the buffer to 64MB, up from 32MB and the buffer to disk transfer rate from 145MB/s to 200MB/s. The new drives are of course using the SATA 6Gbps interface and have also gained support for advanced format with 4K sectors, something the older models lack.
Judging by a review over at Anandtech, the new VelociRaptor manages quite well when it comes to sequential read performance, hitting just over 213MB/s which is SATA 3Gbbps SSD territory. The write performance is actually identical and according to the benchmarks provided, this is in fact faster than the 160GB SKU of Intels 320 series SSD which only managed a smidgen under 168MB/s. The average read speed for the 1TB VelociRaptor ends up at 173MB/s with burst speeds hitting an impressive 332.7MB/s.
WD has also managed to reduce the power consumption compared to the previous generation of VelociRaptor drives by a good 1W and change during write operation, but it still draws over 3W more than Intel SSD. However, despite good performance for a hard drive, the VelociRaptor is most likely the last of a breed, not because its a bad product, but because its priced all wrong.
The 1TB SKU will set you back no less than US$320 (S$400) for which you could pretty much get a 4TB drive if you just wanted a lot of storage, or a 1TB OCZ RevoDrive Hybridwhich has 100GB of dedicated cache and a PCI Express 2.0 x4 interface. The 500GB SKU comes in a bit cheaper at US$210, which is pretty much what you can get the older, slower 600GB VelociRaptor for. Finally the 250GB SKU is $160 and in that case, wed rather cut our losses in terms of available storage space and go for a 128GB SSD.