Conclusions and Final Thoughts

What can you really say after seeing all of those benchmarks and tests?  Without a doubt the new Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB drive is the fastest hard drive we have ever tested.  The upgrade of the Raptor line to the SATA 3.0 GB/s specification was well overdue and you can clearly see that at least part of the performance boost was due to that change.  With burst speeds of 247 MB/s and sustained transfers over 110 MB/s the VelociRaptor is the best enthusiast hard drive you’ll find for any application we can think of – games, boot times, video encoding, etc. 

The move of the hard drive from a standard 3.5″ design to a hybrid 2.5″ + IcePAK design is obviously twofold: Western Digital can use this drive in multiple segments now including both consumer and enterprise and the smaller platters create a big performance boost due to tighter data density.  The inclusion of the IcePAK may not have been ESSENTIAL or necessary for purely heat reasons (we won’t be able to find out for some time) but the truth of the matter is that Western Digital really needed this bridge to the 3.5″ space anyway. 

Capacity Limits – still behind?

I was also really glad to see the VelociRaptor move the Raptor line from 150GB to 300GB capacity – the 150GB drives (that I use in my own systems) can get full much quicker than you think.  In fact, in the last few months I have personally been greeted with “low disk space on primary partition” messages from the friendly Vista manager.  A migration to a 300GB drive is probably in order now and I could even see how some users could get away with JUST the 300GB VelociRaptor drive in their system.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB WD3000GLFS Review - Evolution - Storage 38

But that won’t be the case for most I fear.  A 300GB capacity drive is good but in a world of 1TB (1024GB) disks and HD content downloads (not to mention 12GB game installs) I can easily see users still needing a second drive for storage of those large, less frequently accessed files.  Would I have loved to see a 500GB VelociRaptor drive?  Absolutely, but from a technical stand point that just won’t for some time. 


When I reviewed the WD Caviar SE16 750GB drive I complained that their 3-year warranty was looking pretty slim when compared to Seagate and Maxtor’s 5-year offerings.  WD has stepped up and the new 300GB VelociRaptor comes with a 5-year warranty and a 1.4 million hours MTBF (mean time between failure) rating. 

Pricing and Availability

The Western Digital VelociRaptor will only initially be available today in a select few Alienware computer systems.  Those of you that are itching to get one of these drives into your own PC will have to wait until mid-May before they are available in the channel.  I am crossing my fingers that they show up before then as I know I need a handful around our testing labs and the sooner the better – as always is the case! 

Despite the availability disappointment, the drive itself is priced kind of high as well: suggested MSRP is $299.  Currently the Raptor X 150GB drive is selling for about $170 so the new VelociRaptor is coming in just under twice that.  For users that were leaning towards the sub-$90 500GB Western Digital SE16 drives, the price jump to $299 might seem pretty severe and the allure of a full 1TB hard drive for under $250 is pretty enticing as well. 

It is hard to argue against either of those points but we are talking about the fastest hard drive you can get your hands on (with the new VelociRaptor) that is also at least REASONABLE in capacity and I think that a lot of our readers will find that balance well worth the price tag.

Final Thoughts

If you can’t tell by now, I am more than impressed with what Western Digital was able to bring to the table as a follow up to the hugely successful Raptor line of hard drives.  The VelociRaptor 300GB is a worthy successor bringing not just twice the capacity but an incredible performance gain as well.  If you want the fastest hard drive for your system the Western Digital VelociRaptor is it!

Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB WD3000GLFS Review - Evolution - Storage 39

Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on hard drives and anything else you might need:

« PreviousNext »