We've taken a look at engineering samples
of Western Digital’s speedy new Velociraptor drive. Now that we have
our hands on a final version of the drive, we’re ready to deliver a
full review of the big beast itself. And not surprisingly, it’s every
bit as fast as we anticipated.
But are you willing to trade the fastest performance ever for limited functionality? Read on to see how the critical flaw of Western Digital's Velociraptor might muck up an enthusiast's shopping list.
Storage always makes for a curious world. Western Digital's newest entry into the terabyte contest--it's second, if you count the company's Caviar Green drive--is geared for enthusiast performance. One look at the insides of this Caviar Black drive tells the entire tale. This is Western Digital's first three-platter terabyte drive, mimicking a move towards increased access speeds and areal densities that Samsung made some four months ago with its HD103UJ terabyte drive.
Ok, so technically a Dilophosaurus hocked the venom loogie all over Nedry's face. But in marketplace of consumer hard drives, there is no question that Western Digital's Velociraptor is the beast to be feared. The new 300GB, 10,000-RPM device comes as a much-needed bolster to Western Digital's high-performance storage line. After all, it's been two years since the launch of the 150GB Raptor X, and other drive manufacturers have been quick to take note.
Performance scores are one thing, but we’re equally impressed by Samsung’s technical accomplishment in achieving the highest areal density to date on its new series of Spinpoint F1 drives. And at the top of the heap sits the HD103UJ, the company’s long-awaited drive that reaches an areal density of an astonishing 334GB per platter.
With new teams entering the terabyte storage market, it was only a matter of time before one smacked down the great Hitachi 7K1000 1TB drive. That distinction goes to Seagate’s 1TB Barracuda 7200.11 drive.
We’ve been waiting with bated breath for Western Digital’s entrance into the world of the almighty terabyte. Its Caviar GP drive may have lost the right to stand at the top of the market and yell, “Firsties!” but it is the only terabyte drive built with energy-savings in mind.
Seagate wasn’t the first to the 7,200rpm mark, but that hasn’t stopped it from making the fastest hard drive around. The Momentus 7200.2 has a well-deserved reputation as the notebook hard-drive performance king. What you give up in space, you gain in speed—the Momentus easily eclipses the ginormous Western Digital Scorpio in read speed, access time, and all around zippiness. (Seagate has announced but not shipped a 200GB version of this drive.)
Western Digital has pulled off a significant coup with its 250GB Scorpio notebook hard drive; the device is the current capacity champion. (Fujitsu has also announced a 250GB drive but has not shipped it yet.) Packing 250GB into two platters, the areal density of the Scorpio easily outstrips that of the other hard drive reviewed here—Seagate’s two-platter 160GB Momentus drive.
SSD’s have been hyped up lately, but it’s not exactly a new concept. My first experience with flash-based storage was the then revolutionary Hewlett-Packard Ominbook 300. The Omnibook used a combination of ROM cards and an optional 10MB PCMCIA flash card for storage almost 14 years ago. That 10MB optional flash drive set you back $1,200 and performance wasn’t exactly stunning.