Despite the rampant development of solid state storage, Western Digital's next generaiton Velociraptor hard drive, the VR600, launches today. Built on a SATA 6Gbps interface, this 'enterprise' drive comes with double capacity platters but still has a 10,000RPM spindle speed - despite the reports two years ago that it was working on a faster 20,000RPM drive
The website specs
states that capacities will range from 150GB to 600GB, with a doulbing of cache to 32MB, and will be available in both 2.5in and 3.5in form factors - however WD states that these are not suitable for notebooks. In the spec sheet WD claims it "Consumes less idle power and uses similar active power as the previous generation WD VelociRaptor"
, however if we check the details versus the old drive
the idle is 200mW lower, but offset by a greater 120-720mW increase in power when active.
The quoted 145MB/s transfer rate might not be that impressive on paper - especially for a SATA 6Gbps disk - and versus SSDs mechanical drives can never really catch on random I/O, however in the price per GB it still commands a considerable advantage and with SATA port multipliers used in enterprise solutions - that 6Gbps interface might actually be useful.
"WD announced today that it is now shipping WD VelociRaptor 450 GB and 600 GB hard drives, the next generation of its 10,000 RPM SATA family of hard drives. The new WD VelociRaptor hard drive is designed for blade servers, high-performance PCs, Mac computers, professional workstations, as well as 1U and 2U rack servers that require a balance of high performance and capacity."
Without SAS (Serial Attached SCSI), that 'enterprise' stamp seems a little odd. WD has dropped any sign of "PC enthusiasts' favorite"
from its more recent marketing and is firmly concentrating on those in need of performance storage but with some considerable space requirements. We questioned WD about SAS, and it claimed there would be an option on future models.
It's not the only 2.5in 10,000RPM drive out there though - Seagate's Savvio, which also features the same 6Gbps interface and 600GB capacity, has SAS included, so apart from the Velociraptor brand name we think WD is fighting an uphill battle.
Are you still considering a Velociraptor as a system drive? 600GB should be plenty of space for a massive Steam account and certanly cheaper than an equivalent SSD, but on the other hand, is it too little, too late for WD? Let us know your thoughts in the forums