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Western Digital's VelociRaptor 10K RPM SATA Drive 250

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the spinning-really-fast dept.
MojoKid was one of a number of people to submit about WDs new 10k RPM SATA Drive. He says "Western Digital's Raptor line of Hard Drives has been very popular with performance enthusiasts, as a desktop drive with enterprise-class performance. Today WD has launched a new line of high-performance desktop drives dubbed the VelociRaptor, and the product finally scales in capacity as well. The new SATA-based VelociRaptor weighs in at 300GB with the same 10K RPM spindle speed, but with one other major difference — it's based on 2.5" technology. Its smaller two-platter, four-head design affords the VelociRaptor random access and data transfer rates significantly faster than competing desktop SATA offerings. Areal density per platter has increased significantly as well, which contributes to solid performance gains versus the legacy WD Raptor series."
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Western Digital's VelociRaptor 10K RPM SATA Drive

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  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:03AM (#23144106) Homepage
    Interesting to see that 2.5" form factor disks are now faster than their desktop-size cousins. In a way it's a shame that WD decided to bulk out the case with extra heatsinks... it would have been more fun for them to ship a properly sized 2.5" drive you could put in your laptop.

    The review only compares the new drive to older models from the same manufacturer, and it turns out to be faster - duh. How does the performance compare with those expensive solid state disks that are starting to appear?
    • Interesting to see that 2.5" form factor disks are now faster than their desktop-size cousins. In a way it's a shame that WD decided to bulk out the case with extra heatsinks... it would have been more fun for them to ship a properly sized 2.5" drive you could put in your laptop.

      Yeah it's a shame since I like to watch my hard disks fry. Clearly, you enjoy watching your laptop fry as well.
      • by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[NO@SPAM]gmail.com> on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:25AM (#23144552)
        Power usage = heat.

        From the StorageReview.com article [storagereview.com]:

        When spinning up from a cold start, the WD3000BLFS maintains its prowess with a very economical showing on its 12V rail. At just 9 watts, the VelociRaptor weighs in a full 6 watts (66%!) lower than any other drive SR has ever encountered.

        I think the heatsink is mostly for show, and to make the drive fit into a normal case. Still, it would be nice if they made it easily removable.
        • by Guspaz (556486) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:21PM (#23145864)
          They did make the heatsink easily removable, but the drive is designed for the 15mm enterprise form factor (servers, for example), not laptop form factors.

          The heatsink (which reduces average temperatures by 5-7 degrees) does work (it's not for show), but these things will never go in laptops.
        • by adisakp (705706)
          That 9 watt figure is for spinup power which doesn't really contribute to overall heat for the drive considering spinup takes a second or two.

          What you want to know is idle and seek power for the VelociRaptor which is 4.2/6.9W. The 3.5" WD GP has an idle power which is lower at 3.8W and a seek power which is higher at 7.6W. What you can see from the charts is that the VelociRaptor is indeed low powered compared to most drives and should only generate marginally more heat than a 3.5 WD GP.

          However, that t
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Friction also equals heat. I imagine that a hard drive spinning at 10,000 RPM would generate quite a bit of friction.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Friction also equals heat. I imagine that a hard drive spinning at 10,000 RPM would generate quite a bit of friction.
            no. input energy = heat.

            more friciton = more input energy, so theres no reason to look any further than how much energy it consumes, no matter what your thoughts are on high RPM platters.
        • Heat may be a problem because it's being emitted from a much smaller case, probably needs to get rid of twice as much power per unit of surface area even if it consumes less power than a 3.5" drive.
          • by Sivar (316343)
            That is an excellent point. For servers in particular, the Raptor's heat density is probably greater than that of a 3.5" drive, which matters if it has lots of drives. For a regular user with 1 or 2 drives though, it's supposed to be a very cool-running drive.
    • by SD-Arcadia (1146999) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:38AM (#23144854) Homepage
      Actually, you can remove the 3.5" container (I believe running it like this voids your warranty) but it still won't fit in a laptop because apparently although 2.5" form factor, it is several mm too high for a laptop. Not that you should attempt to run a 10K drive inside a laptop in the first place, especially without that heatsink thingy. The performance seems to be equal or better than SSD's. source: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/HDD-SATA-VelociRaptor,1914.html [tomshardware.com]
    • It's NOT a notebook drive. It's a 2.5" server hard drive put into a funky heat sink, presumably so it would work fine in desktop systems where the system designer or the owner might not have considered proper cooling, or to simplify cooling requirements.
    • by aliquis (678370)
      I still can't understand how this can be faster than a 3.5" 10krpm drive at the same density?

      At first I thought that maybe they had put two 2.5" drives in there.. Maybe even in a 5 1/4" case. Imagine say 4 drives in that case using raid configuration or whatever.
      • It's not the same areal density. It's higher. I think the Raptor X uses like 4-6 platters, and I think this story says they use 2 platters.

        As it is, the 2.5" server drives do get faster access times than the closest 3.5" drives of the same RPM, I think in part because the head arm is shorter (less rotational inertia) and doesn't need to swing as far. Higher areal density helps get higher transfer rates.
        • by aliquis (678370)
          You can't compare it with an old drive. I just expect them to be able to make similair density in current gen drives no matter what platter size. (may the arm control or something limit it somewhat more on a 3.5" drive)

          Yeah, I assume access time / round are the same but as you say "swinging distance" are shorter on a 2.5" drive. Only reason I can see why access times would get lower. But beyond that I would assume a 3.5" drive at 10krpm to be able to have similair data density and therefor own this a lot in
    • by Agripa (139780)

      In a way it's a shame that WD decided to bulk out the case with extra heatsinks... it would have been more fun for them to ship a properly sized 2.5" drive you could put in your laptop.

      Consumer electronics manufacturers often design products to preclude stacking by using a rounded or irregular top because of heat dissipation requirements. It would not surprise me if WD had the same sort of thought for this drive because almost all existing laptops are not designed to handle the power dissipation of 10K RPM

  • Laptop drive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danielsfca2 (696792) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:03AM (#23144108) Journal
    When you say 'based on 2.5" tech,' does that mean this IS a laptop drive? Or is it a 2.5" drive in a 3.5" shell?

    I assume the power requirements would be intense though, so even if you could fit it in a laptop I suppose it would be unwise unless you're always plugged in.

    And also being a WD drive, as far as reliability goes you'd probably be better off just keeping your important documents in RAM.
    • by Yetihehe (971185)
      Please RTFA. It is 2.5" drive (only a little taller) mounted on 3.5" massive heat sink (IcePAK).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by giverson (532542)
      2.5" != laptop drive. Many SAS drives are 2.5" but they won't fit in a laptop anytime soon.
    • by Sivar (316343)
      Power usage is 60% lower than any drive ever encountered [storagereview.com] (see earlier post). Apparently the huge heatsink is epoxied (or something like that) onto the drive. Not very bright on WD's part, unless I'm missing something.

      The enterprise version is supposed to use a standard connector, so those who want their laptop disk IO to outperform most desktops, including most RAID0 arrays, may be able to use those.
      For reliability, I have an old 74GB Raptor that's still working fine, but StorageReview's reliability benchma
    • Re:Laptop drive? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mcpkaaos (449561) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:38AM (#23144846)

      When you say 'based on 2.5" tech,' does that mean this IS a laptop drive?
      It is not a laptop drive. Here, take a gander [hothardware.com].

      I assume the power requirements would be intense though
      According to TFA, the Velociraptor consumes the least power [hothardware.com] out of the drives compared (all WD, including a Raptor 150).

      And also being a WD drive, as far as reliability goes you'd probably be better off just keeping your important documents in RAM.
      I've had 1 drive out of over 20 fail on me in the last 6 years, all made by WD (including several Raptors, which run hot as hell but never seem to skip a beat). The one WD drive that did fail did so only after 3+ years of constant usage in a server.

      I guess I don't understand all the WD bashing. They do have warranties, you know, and I hear they even honor them.

      Besides, why are you relying on a single drive? If you have Important Documents you need redundancy + backups, not a "better" hard drive. You should check this [nongnu.org] out. It's saved my butt on more than one occasion.
      • Re:Laptop drive? (Score:4, Informative)

        by michrech (468134) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:28PM (#23146024)
        Probably comes from people who, like me, used a ton of WD200, WD400, WD800, and some others, that had over 90% failure rate in the first 6 months. The only reason the OEM I worked for even used the drives is that they were cheaper (by only a few bucks, but every buck counts in this business!) than the others.

        Yes, they did replace them all, but when you count in all the time in rebuilding OS installs, shipping, phone calls to get RMA's, etc, it's just not worth it.

        Once we switched to Seagate, we never had to deal with all of that again. Yes, we might have 1 drive go bad once in a blue moon, but no where near what we had with WD.

        I had sworn off of WD drives in the mid/late '90's because of similar issues. No matter what, though, I couldn't talk my boss out of using them. He learned to listen to my opinions after that, though...

        Now, before I start getting modded down to hell, here; yes, I realize there are people (like you) that seem to have had very good luck with WD's drives. Unfortunately (for WD), your experiences seem to be far and few between.

        I guess I don't understand all the WD bashing. They do have warranties, you know, and I hear they even honor them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by raw-sewage (679226)

          Probably comes from people who, like me, used a ton of WD200, WD400, WD800, and some others, that had over 90% failure rate in the first 6 months. The only reason the OEM I worked for even used the drives is that they were cheaper (by only a few bucks, but every buck counts in this business!) than the others.

          [...]

          Once we switched to Seagate, we never had to deal with all of that again. Yes, we might have 1 drive go bad once in a blue moon, but no where near what we had with WD.

          I don't doubt the ac

        • by mobby_6kl (668092)
          Wow, a 90% failure rate within 6 month surely doesn't leave any drives functioning after more than a couple of years. Well my WD800JB is still just fine after more than five years of almost continuous usage, so obviously you're full of it, right?

          > I realize there are people (like you) that seem to have had very good luck with WD's drives.

          Yeah, and there are also people like you with their unsupported anecdotes, and then there are large scale studies, like that done by google, which say that while some m
        • by Z34107 (925136)

          "Probably comes from people who, like me, used a ton of WD200, WD400, WD800..."

          Personally, I use some WD40 on my WD400 to reduce axial friction. Although seek latency, power consumption, and heat were all reduced, I had to replace the drive due to data loss.

          Crappy WD drives...

      • by aliquis (678370)
        Less power than a normal 3.5" drive, probably much for a 2.5" drive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by camperslo (704715)
      Even without the cooling, the 2.5" based core is still way too thick/hot for a laptop.
      At $1/gig it is still way cheaper than solid state drives, but expect those to get cheaper faster.

      It's frustrating that the power benchmark they're using is measuring the whole computer.
      You'd think someone doing benchmarks would use a small separate supply for the drive(s) to do the measurement. If the standby consumption and efficiency under load were measured for a small separate supply (easily determined with resistive
    • The "guts" are mostly similar to a 3.5" desktop drive, although the platters themselves have a 2.5" diameter, reducing the rotational inertia, weight, and surface area of said platters, allowing the drive to spin faster, and with less power.

      Similarly, smaller platters also allow for faster seek times.
    • by aliquis (678370)
      As if WD drives would be more unreliable than anything else? It also has 5 years warranty (which doesn't mean that it will survive longer, but anyway.)
  • Noise Level (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MankyD (567984) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:04AM (#23144132) Homepage
    I've always wondered - what's the noise like on a 10k drive? I would think its safe to assume that they're louder, but with smaller platters, who knows. I'm always working to make my machine quieter, and sometimes this seems to come into conflict with making it faster.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Rakeris (1114111)
      I have one, and it's very quite. It's makes about the same amount of noise as my 500GB samsung. The only difference is it makes a bit of light "clicking" whenever it's doing a lot of reading/writing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by skiflyer (716312)
        Next to my 7800gt fan I don't even hear the two raptors I have clicking away.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mad zambian (816201)
      I use a striped pair of 36GB Raptors for my system disk. (Data disk is 3 drive RAID 5) Speed is great, but the little brutes do need active cooling, and are anything but quiet. Maybe it is the pair of them doing synchronous seeks that make them so noisy, who knows? They are the noisiest disks I have used since a pair of 250MB Connors about 15 years ago. Happy with them? Oh hell yes. Next computer will have the same setup, but much more noise damping.
  • by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[NO@SPAM]gmail.com> on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:08AM (#23144194)
    The review is up on on StorageReview.com [storagereview.com]. You can use the database [storagereview.com] to compare this drive to every other drive out there in different kinds of tasks.
  • 1 GB/$, ouch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rubeng (1263328) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:10AM (#23144238) Journal
    It's a little better than the current Raptors' [diskcompare.com] 0.88 GB/$, but nowhere close to the 6.25 GB/$ for a Samsung Spinpoint F1 [diskcompare.com]. You gotta wonder if a RAID array of cheaper drives wouldn't give you overall better performance, and more than 2x the storage for way less money.
    • I have always believed that is why RAID0 has been so popular.

      You get better performance, bigger drive, and it's only pitfall is that if one drive dies, then they are both pretty toast.
      • by michrech (468134)
        I always looked at it this way: If you have one really nice/fast drive and it fails, you *still* lose everything you had. I'd rather spend the same (or less) cash on two slightly smaller, slower drives and throw them into an array...

        I have always believed that is why RAID0 has been so popular.

        You get better performance, bigger drive, and it's only pitfall is that if one drive dies, then they are both pretty toast.
        • by Sivar (316343)
          Backups are still a good idea though. Accidental deletion, corrupt filesystem, and all that can still eat your data. Not that I've ever done this ...
          RAID1 also improves performance for reads somewhat compared to a single drive (though for writes, it is slightly slower unfortunately, plus you only get the space of one drive).
        • by pyite (140350)
          I always looked at it this way: If you have one really nice/fast drive and it fails, you *still* lose everything you had. I'd rather spend the same (or less) cash on two slightly smaller, slower drives and throw them into an array...

          Yes but the point is that with N drives striped without parity (i.e. RAID 0), you increase your probability of disastrous failure proportionally to N.

    • by Sivar (316343)
      RAID isn't going to give you better performance than this Raptor other than in STR (sustained transfer rate, like copying large files or streaming HD video). STR is about worthless for desktop computers, though RAID0 does improve performance for other things a bit.

      Just, not as much as people seem to think when they read a misleading benchmark written by some dope that thinks HDTach and Atto are worth the floppy disks they're installed from. (They are great tools for what they do, just, they are misu
    • Raid arrays increase access time - from 10-50% depending on the type of array.

      However, for streaming data, yes a properly formatted striped array will produce significantly higher throughput. The problem is, for most games/database work, the seek times are actually more important than the throughput. A review of RAID 0 in games showed that while the load time of the game was decreased, there was no significant change to the playability of the game - due to the number of small files loaded during usage - an

      • by afidel (530433)
        Actually modern RAID1/10 setups can decrease access times by dispatching reads to the drive that has a head nearest the data being requested.
    • by afidel (530433)
      For many applications rotational latency still matters, so yes you get more GB/$ but you have worse performance profile for some apps. You also have to consider duty cycle. I believe the Raptors are rated for a more server like duty cycle whereas that drive is probably rated only for a desktop duty cycle.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tumbleweed (3706) *
      Gee, a super-fast drive costs more per gigabyte than a normal drive. Who woulda thunk it?

      You should read some reviews of cars just to make sure a Ferrari costs more per mph than, say, a Ford Focus.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:14AM (#23144308) Homepage
    If you want real performance and aren't afraid of having to do a complete rebuild on a regular basis then the best bet is to purely use a huge amount of RAM, not Flash or other solid state disks but real genuine RAM.

    Okay so its insanely expensive and a power cut and UPS failure means you lose everything.... but the SPEED is fantastic.

    I mean I'm running Vista Ultimate on a dual quad-core server with 500GB of standard RAM as a disk and I can boot in under a minute and use Outlook AND Word at the same time.

    • niiiiiice. I see what you did there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by a_nonamiss (743253)

      I'm running Vista Ultimate on a dual quad-core server with 500GB of standard RAM as a disk and I can boot in under a minute and use Outlook AND Word at the same time.
      Wow... we're almost performing up to the level we were at in 1989.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MP3Chuck (652277)
      I know you're trying to be funny, but there is such a thing [anandtech.com]. :)
    • If you want real performance and aren't afraid of having to do a complete rebuild on a regular basis then the best bet is to purely use a huge amount of RAM, not Flash or other solid state disks but real genuine RAM.

      Okay so its insanely expensive and a power cut and UPS failure means you lose everything.... but the SPEED is fantastic


      Talking about speed, this is an effective design. Multiple UPS and a separate computer that maintains the RAM will give reliability. Not sure if it's worth it just to boot faste
      • by Agripa (139780)

        Does anyone have any ideas about multiple heads? If the heads are swinging independently, the mechanics are quite complex, but what if the heads all swing in unison - all together at the same direction and speed? Then the heads can spend less time per cylinder. Heads can also be given a positional offset in order to be on different cylinders at the same time. Complex mechanics, but in today's level of technology, par for the course as the saying goes. Even a slower RPM drive can still have the performance o

  • After all so many years, drives are still so slow.

    7.6ms random access write. 119MB/sec transfer - that's less that 1Gbps.

    So still have to stick lots and lots of drives together.
  • by Nushio (951488) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:27AM (#23144594) Homepage
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who is constantly reminded of XKCD when someone mentions Raptors [xkcd.com]...
  • I've gone through 3 drives now from them for 2 of my 3 laptops. The first one made it 10 months and technically was still under warranty. But because the manufacture date stamp on the drive was more than 12 months, they would not honor my warranty. Yea, I had the receipt but the guy in India was not concerned with that and would only take a credit card number to order another one at full retail price! Screw em'. Drilled a big bad hole through the thing and put in recycle bin.

    Two other drives didn't even mak
    • by moosesocks (264553) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:15PM (#23145744) Homepage
      Sounds like you're purchasing your drives from a dodgy OEM, especially since all of their laptop drives ship with 3-year warranty [wdc.com].

      I suppose this might have been different in the past, though judging a hard drive manufacturer purely based upon anecdotal evidence is a bit flimsy. There are people who say the same thing about every single other hard drive manufacturer out there.

      I'll wholeheartedly agree that there can be bad batches of drives (which is most likely what you encountered), though any faults are usually rectified quickly enough that there doesn't seem to be all that huge of a difference across manufacturers when you look at the entire population.

      If you've ever managed a computer lab (eg. large number of identical machines), you'll occasionally run into a batch of machines with particularly dodgy power supplies, hard drives, etc..... More interestingly, if you've got a large sample of "identical" machines that were ordered in separate batches, you'll also likely find that the patterns of failure differ somewhat between the two batches.

      The only exception to this is that server/enterprise-grade drives tend to be more reliable then their counsumer-grade counterparts. This is why they cost (a lot) more.
    • I've had 3 Western Digital drives in the past 5 years and they are all still working, no problems.

      I don't doubt you've had yours die on you; hard drives fail sometimes. But I don't know that WD are any more prone to failure than other brands. (maybe they are, I just don't know)

      IBM Deathstars (now Hitachi) on the other hand, I've heard a lot about.
      • by jskline (301574)
        I like that "IBM Deathstars"... I had some of those early ones with a lot of faults--especially getting quite hot enough to melt plastic surroundings when they get older than a year!! Hitachi's I've not had much issue with but the branded IBM's from Hitachi were a problem. Toshiba and Seagates that I've had were quite stellar. No problems at all with them.
    • The enterprise WDs don't seem to have that problem.

      I have a couple desktop WDs that are over 1.5 years old and they're still running fine.
    • by JBMcB (73720)
      I've noticed that of all my machines, the one I built myself has the longest MTBF as far as hard drives go. I'm pretty sure it's because the drive cage has a dedicated fan, keeping electromechanical devices cool greatly increases their lifespan.
    • Sorry for your experiences, but they don't match mine very well. I've had a long list of WD drives for years, and only recently retired two 250GB drives that had basically continual use over the last four years or so. I gave them to a friend, that is still using them without issue. I have not had a single WD drive fail on me.

      When I replaced those drives, I did so with WD's new lower power GP drives, and have had no problem with them at all. Super quiet and seem (without actual benchmarks to back this up) fa
    • I've been buying +300 WD's for over 10 years now; had 2 disks DOA and 4 disks which died later on. Most of the older disks I got stored in a container as extra backup.

      One of these disks dying is even my own fault by tilting it while writing.
      Also, I've been hearing stories at my suppliers; disks made around JUNE-OCTOBER are mostly the ones with the most problems. I wouldn't know it's a general believe although I'm for sure checking my labels before assigning a disk to a server as precaution to myself.

      I've ha

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