It has been a bit of a wait for the VelociRaptor from Western Digital, but it is now out there and ready for you to purchase it.  The new firmware doesn’t offer improvements across the board, but it certainly helped in a few of the tests that The Tech Report performed.  Drop by for a look at the fastest platter around.

“Western Digital hatched its latest Raptor back in April, revealing a unique departure from more traditional designs. This leaner, meaner VelociRaptor VR150 is actually a 2.5″ drive sitting inside a heatsink that slides nicely into standard 3.5″ bays. But don’t think you can take this most recent Raptor lightly just because it’s gone on a diet. Despite a smaller form factor, the VelociRaptor still offers 300GB of capacity—twice that of its 3.5” forebear. The VR150 is also the first Raptor with a 300MB/s Serial ATA interface, and its trademark 10K-RPM spindle speed hasn’t skipped a beat.

Like its predecessors in their prime, the VelociRaptor proved to be the all-around fastest SATA hard drive on the market—and a surprisingly quiet and power-efficient one, at that. However, the drive we used in our initial look at the VR150 was an engineering sample with pre-production firmware. Final, production drives have now made their way onto the market, and we’ve managed to score a retail sample that should be representative of the drives you can buy today.

Naturally, we’ve run this tuned-up VelociRaptor through the wringer to see if it can live up to the Editor’s Choice distinction we awarded the VR150 after our first encounter. Read on to see whether finished firmware reels in the VelociRaptor’s propensity to outrun the competition or if Western Digital has managed to wring even more performance from its radical Raptor redesign”

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