For years, if you wanted the speediest consumer hard drive you could get your hands on, you went with a 10,000rpm Western Digital Raptor. Its first incarnation, released in 2003, was a 37GB single-platter drive using a PATA-to-SATA bridge. The next year brought a 74GB SATA 150 drive, and thereafter the drives roughly doubled in size (and went up a SATA spec) every couple of years. Last time WD refreshed the line, it bumped the capacity to 300GB, named the resulting 100MB/s-plus drive the VelociRaptor, and promptly won our Kick Ass award. But that was 2008—several hard drive generations ago. And though Western Digital’s latest VelociRaptor ups the ante with 600GB of space and a 6Gb/s SATA controller, the drive now has to compete with solid state drives and high-capacity, high-performance drives like WD’s own Caviar Black series.
Make no mistake: The new VelociRaptor, with its 32MB of cache and 6Gb/s transfer rates, is the fastest mechanical SATA drive we’ve ever tested. With average sustained read and write speeds greater than 130MB/s, it’s fully a third faster than the last-gen VelociRaptor, which averaged around 100MB/s for both. Random-access times hit around 7.1ms—about the same as the last-gen VelociRaptor, and about twice the speed of a fast 7,200rpm drive.
Toshiba said it has begun volume shipments of its MBF family of enterprise hard drives, the same units the company announced back in February. Though it has taken some four months to ramp up production, Toshiba's MBF drives remain the industry's highest-capacity, small form factor enterprise HDDs yet available.
"Toshiba’s MBF series enterprise-class drives possess a range of technological advancements that enable us to deliver flexible computing systems targeted to the exacting needs of our customers," said Mike Turricchi, director of product management, NCS Technologies, which designs solutions for the military, government, and commercial market sectors. "MBF series drives not only allow us to engineer systems with greater storage density to support storage consolidation, but the design characteristics of 2.5-inch drives also mean that they operate more efficiently in a broad range of demanding temperature, vibration, shock, and altitude conditions. In addition to storage systems based in branch offices and data centers, our customers rely on these drives for solutions used in field, mobile, aviation, marine, and seismic environments."
The MBF drives come in 300GB, 450GB, and 600GB capacities with each one featuring a media transfer rate of up to 216MB/s. Each drive also comes with 16MB of cache, a slightly faster than 10,000 RPM, SAS 2.0 interface, 6Gb/s interface, and weigh 220g or less, Toshiba says.