WD announces VelociRaptor hard drives

Written by Tim Smalley

April 22, 2008 | 10:35

Tags: #10000rpm #25in #digital #drive #fastest #hard #raptor #velociraptor #western #worlds

Western Digital has announced the VelociRaptor, a drive that it claims to be the world’s fastest SATA hard drive. And if that’s not enough, the company says it has “a 35 percent performance increase over the previous generation [Raptor drives].

The drive takes form in a 2.5-inch housing with two 150GB platters spinning at 10,000 RPM packing a total of 300GB of storage. What’s more Western Digital says the drive is built with “enterprise-class mechanics”—just like the previous generation Raptor hard drives that held the performance crown for so long.

Despite its form factor, this drive is not designed for notebooks and comes enclosed in a Western Digital IcePack – a 3.5-inch mounting frame with a built-in heatsink, enabling the drive to fit in standard 3.5-inch hard drive mounting bays. However it also seems that some reviews mention that removing this heatsink voids also the warranty!

"Demand for ever-higher PC performance continues to increase and WD is the leader in this category with the WD Raptor. We created WD VelociRaptor hard drives to lead PC enthusiasts into the next era of PC and Mac storage performance and satisfy their insatiable thirst for computing speed," said Tom McDorman, vice president and general manager of WD's enterprise business unit. "The new WD VelociRaptor delivers the greatest performance and reliability of all SATA hard drives currently on the market."

The VelociRaptor builds on the foundations laid by the original Raptor drives and feature a 16MB cache. What’s more, they’re the first Raptors to support the SATA 3Gb/sec interface, which should provide some advances in performance.

Western Digital has also added support for Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward and SecurePark. The first is a technology that WD claims “optimises performance when the drives are used in a vibration-prone, multi-drive chassis,” while the latter ensures that the recording heads are parked off the disk surface during spin up, spin down and when the drive is off. The company says that “this ensures the recording head never touches the disk surface, resulting in improved long-term reliability and increased drive protection when the chassis is moved.

The WD VelociRaptor will first be available in Alienware’s high-performance ALX gaming desktop machines at the end of April and will then be available for DIY customers to buy separately by mid-May at a suggested retail price of $299.99 USD, according to a statement released by the hard drive maker.

WD’s claims are pretty lofty, but based on some of the reviews that we’ve already seen, the drive appears to live up to expectations. Will you be looking to purchase one of these drives when they become available? Let us know in the forums.
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