Western Digital adds SATA 6Gbps to all VelociRaptors

Western Digital adds SATA 6Gbps to all VelociRaptors

Western Digital's 150GB and 300GB VelociRaptor drives now have a SATA 6Gbps interface.

Western Digital is seemingly attempting to combat the continued march of solid state drives by updating its range of 10,000rpm VelociRaptor hard drives so that they all carry SATA 6Gbps support.

Previously, only the more expensive 450GB and 600GB versions of the drive boasted native support for the faster connection standard, but Fudzilla has just spotted that the feature has now been introduced to the more wallet-friendly 300GB and 150GB drives too.

Western Digital has also increased the cache size on the two smaller size disks to be in-line with the larger drives. This means that all the drives in the range now sport a 32MB cache.

We’re pretty sceptical about how much difference these changes are likely to make, however. Our own testing of the 600GB SATA 6Gbps VelociRaptor showed little to no performance benefit when moving from SATA 3Gbps to SATA 6Gbps.

Add to this the fact that SSDs have been steadily dropping in price to the point where you can pick up a 64GB Crucial M4 for £87, and it’s clear that the VelociRaptor range has got a fight on its hands.

You can currently pre-order a 300GB drive with the new features for £119.98, compared with £113.19 for its SATA 3Gbps-based predecessor from the same retailer, so at least the new drives aren't commanding a huge premium.

Do you own a VelociRaptor? Is Western Digital now wasting its time with this range now that we have SSDs, or is there still a need for high-speed hard drives in some circumstances? Share your thoughts in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
faugusztin 26th July 2011, 12:10 Quote
Pointless feature is pointless.
fuus 26th July 2011, 12:10 Quote
Jump boat, before you sink entirely!
Farting Bob 26th July 2011, 12:23 Quote
These will almost cetainly be tyhe last raptors we see. By the time they make a 3rd gen of them SSD's should be almost the same price (for a reasonable size which i consider to be 128GB minimum)
tonyd223 26th July 2011, 12:53 Quote
Hybrid HDD and SSD for the (short term) win - go Silverstone!
Venares 26th July 2011, 13:09 Quote
The Raptors have had there day, just let them die already.
Floyd 26th July 2011, 13:24 Quote
Just like how I shoved my old 150gig Raptor in the parts bin in favor for a new 1TB drive.
The Raptor was LOUD and just as fast as my 1TB drive.
azazel1024 26th July 2011, 13:52 Quote
Are the 150 and 300GB drives also upping the areal density to what the 450 and 600GB drives are? So that they'll be single platter single head and single platter dual head drives now? Because if that is the case and the 150 and 300 have similar sequential and IOPS numbers to the 450 and 600GB drives as a result of this, that is a good move.

If not its a waste. The "old" 150 and 300GB drives aren't any faster than new 7200rpm 3.5" disks for sequential (still better IOPS). The 450 and 600GB velociraptors are a fair amount faster than most all 7200rpm 3.5" disks, but even then it isn't that radical an advantage.

As pointed out, with SSD getting cheaper Velociraptors just don't seem to make sense anymore.

My next machine I plan on a 120GB SSD for boot and most apps and then storage is going to be a pair of 640GB 7200rpm 2.5" disks in RAID0 with a 2TB (or 3TB) 5400rpm disk for bulk storage. I don't need IOPS performance for anything but my boot and app disk (the SSD) and the RAID'd 2.5" disks are going to be for fast, quite, and low power sequential stuff, like image storage for my photography hobby with the big slow disk for things like movies and music.
J!n 26th July 2011, 14:14 Quote
I had a 300GB velociraptor and sold it on ebay for about £80 a year ago and brought some nice games have two 500GB Samsung spinpoints. will pick up a SSD in the future.
tonyd223 26th July 2011, 14:40 Quote
I tried running Vista on raid 0 250Gb drives, first blue screen of death only wrote data to one drive ruining the array, and actually trashing both drives. I think (because of my limited experience) that raid 0 is like Crossfire - it works in theory, but not all the time, and when it doesn't, it's a pain in the ass...
schmidtbag 26th July 2011, 15:33 Quote
BT, you do realize that even WD's cheap HDD models are now SATA3, right? I'm looking at getting a 500gb Caviar Blue for about $45. I could care less that it's sata3, it's just a good price.
Tulatin 26th July 2011, 19:02 Quote
This reminds me of the ATA66 days, when some drives had trouble saturating the good old ATA bus to begin with.
l3v1ck 26th July 2011, 19:24 Quote
A tick box exercise to lure in the ill informed.
Ph4ZeD 26th July 2011, 19:32 Quote
Good way to polish a turd. I'll stick with my M4 thanks.
will_123 26th July 2011, 22:52 Quote
There is definately a need for these drives in production use in servers. Currently we use quite alot of 15,000rpm drives in our servers at my work.
TomH 26th July 2011, 23:22 Quote
Originally Posted by will_123
There is definately a need for these drives in production use in servers. Currently we use quite alot of 15,000rpm drives in our servers at my work.
The Raptors are 10K RPM SATA disks. To my knowledge, there are no 15K RPM SATA disks.

They're also not SAS, which matters greatly under certain loads (and thus, is far more common in servers).
fluxtatic 27th July 2011, 04:31 Quote
Originally Posted by will_123
There is definately a need for these drives in production use in servers. Currently we use quite alot of 15,000rpm drives in our servers at my work.

Yes, and these are neither 15k nor enterprise. Enterprise drives are SAS, as TomH pointed out. What these are is a pointless waste of money now. Never thought they were worth the insane price premium to begin with, tbh.

Not that SSDs aren't expensive compared to spinning disks, but at least you get a huge boost in performance for the money.
slothy89 27th July 2011, 04:50 Quote
Upgrading the raptors to 15k would've made more sense... If someone has money to blow on a raptor, they'll buy an SSD instead... Pointless..
The_Beast 27th July 2011, 06:35 Quote
Can they even saturate a 3Gbps connection?
murraynt 27th July 2011, 08:12 Quote
Originally Posted by The_Beast
Can they even saturate a 3Gbps connection?

Not even close..
azazel1024 27th July 2011, 15:26 Quote
Current 600GB Velociraptors can come closer than anything. Well anything that is less then 15000rpms anyway. I think peak sequential on them is about 175-180MB/sec. Of course all drives (well most) can take advantage to some degree of cache size and burst rates using the bus's maximum transfer rate. Its not much, but for a few very small files, you can burst up to around 500-600MB/sec on a 6Gbps SATA3 spinning disk for write speeds. Now I don't know if any SATA3 spinning disks can take advantage of it, but plenty of SATA2 disks will burst at around 200-270MB/sec till the cache is filled. Again, not much, but still something.

It makes me wonder what the price is for disk cache and why more isn't used, especially on high performance drives. I'd think with RAM prices the way they are these days at most you might be spending $2-5 extra per drive just to slap 128 or 256MB of cache on there for really fast writes. That doesn't take care of large sequential writes, and the disk still has to write all of it to clear the cache and with the right management can speed up overall read and write rates as you can empty part of the cache, start a read and then finish emptying the cache later.

Or for that matter, why there aren't more in the way of hybrid drives. Flash memory is getting pretty cheap. I doubt manufacturer prices are more than $1 per GB these days. A nice little 2TB 7200rpm drive with 16GB of high speed flash memory (even SLC flash probably isn't more than $3 per GB) for a high performance hybrid drive probably wouldn't increase the cost by more than 20-40% and you'd probably see similar improvements in speed for most commonly used files.
The_Beast 27th July 2011, 23:08 Quote
Originally Posted by murraynt
Not even close..

That's what I never got, putting a 6Gbps connection on a drive that can't even saturate a 3Gbps one. I think it's just because it's the new standard, something about 3Tb support and the fact that it makes your drive SOUND faster.
law99 27th July 2011, 23:10 Quote
dirves that come with already functioning built in obsolescence? Fantastic. You buy a big drive for your data and a ssd for your boot. simple as
will_123 28th July 2011, 00:15 Quote
My error sorry lads!
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