Retail VelociRaptor Returns

Western Digital sent us a pair of retail-ready VelociRaptor hard drives that compare to our initial pre-release drive we tested a couple of months back. Of course, we couldn’t get away without seeing how these drives performed in a RAID-0 array.

Today we have an update to our previous review of the new Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drive – you can see the initial pre-release drive review here.  The drive model we used in that article was CLOSE to a final shipping version but a slightly adjusted firmware was introduced before retail drives hit the market and Western Digital hit us up with a new pair for further testing.  

Since so much of what we are looking at here has been seen before, we’ll quickly go over the drive design again, and get straight to the benchmarks.  

Testing Drives – same drive, new sticker

We took a very detailed look at the technical specifications of this drive in the previous article and the retail drives remain unchanged.  In short, the VelociRaptor is a 2.5″ server form factor hard drive in a heatsink/adapter that allows it to install in a standard 3.5″ hard drive bay.  

Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB Retail and RAID Testing - Storage 33

The actual package of the hard drive itself is a 2.5″ HDA with a 15mm height; it is a lesser-known standard more used in high density servers today but could eventually find its way to your PC in the coming years.  WD is a savvy company though – rather than spend all that cash on R&D for an enthusiast limited 3.5″ drive they decided to aim at a form factor that will give the VelociRaptor life outside gaming PCs (but likely under a different name).

Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB Retail and RAID Testing - Storage 34

The drive uses the standard SATA data and power connections – no more legacy 4-pin Molex connectors to be found here.   Keep in mind that the current VelociRaptor hard drives will NOT work with existing SATA back planes in your chassis but WD has plans to bring out another model that will work.

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Since Western Digital sent along a pair of the drives this time around, you’ll definitely see some incredible performance results using a RAID-0 array.

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