Monday, November 19, 2012

Western Digital Velociraptor 1TB Hard Drive Review.Is it still the king of hard drives or a true dinosaur in this age of technology?


Today I have the latest generation Western Digital Velociraptor for review.Western Digital is back again with a updated models of their renowned 2.5 inch,10,000rpm
beast. This specific drive is the WD1000DHTZ; a 1 terabyte capacity drive and the first Velociraptor model to sport such a high capacity.The new raptors are also available in 250gb and 500gb capacities.Every two years or so the Velociraptor gets refreshed not just at a hardware level but at the marketing level as well with this new model.WD is no longer pushing this drive as the ultimate choice for gamers and enthusiasts.This drive is prominently being marketed as a workstation solution.Western Digital states that the drive is ideal for High-performance computing, 3D rendering, digital content creation and editing, scientific computing and image management.Considering the features such as 10,000rpm disc speed,SATA 6gb/s interface,1 terabyte capacity,64mb cache,RAFF,No-Touch ramp loading, pre-emptive wear leveling,and a 5-year warranty.With those features in mind it's apparent this drive was built for serious workloads that are common in professional workstation environments.

So what is new about this drive?They are several improvements with this drive.The major improvement is capacity thanks to platter density being increased to 333gb per platter,1TB is a generous amount of room to work with and a 400gb increase from last generation.The cache buffer has been increased from 32MB to 64MB which most top performing desktop drives have had for a while now.This drive features 4k Advanced Formatting which is a change from the industry standard 512 byte blocks to 4096 byte blocks.How much of a performance gain over the legacy format is something I'm not sure of and doubt that there will be any significant speed gains to note.The main reasons for implementing AF is for increased drive capacity and greater ECC abilities.ECC is something not heavily aware by the regular consumer market but is quit relevant for data integrity something professional users are mindful of considering their work is their living.Hard drives aren't perfect but they're a known quantity.A professional user isn't gonna trust an ssd that may develop devastating firmware bugs or degrade in performance after so many erase cycles.SSD's still have some ways to go before they truly supplant hard drives.For more in-depth specifications and information on the features noted please head on over to Western Digital's Velociraptor page by clicking here.


Western Digital has always touted each generation of it's 10,000rpm dinosaur to be the fastest desktop hard drive on release and held true to those claims with record benchmarks.Western Digital own specifications indicate that this drive is capable of 200mb/s transfer rates.Such a number isn't a bold claim for a modern ssd which blows that mark away but such speeds from a single hard drive have rarely been seen without caching being responsible.I'm going to run several common benchmarks to see if this Velociraptor is as fast as they say and whether or not it keeps its king of the hard drive title.I will also be benchmarking it against not one but two Western Digital 1tb Caviar Black drives.Two WD1001FALS models to be exact.An older generation but still solid performing hard drive.I will set both of them in RAID 0 to see if this new Velociraptor is still king of the platters and how much hard drive technology has improved.The Velociraptor and the striped Caviar Blacks will be connected to LSI 9266-4i raid controller since all my other sata ports are occupied.

Crystal DiskMark 3.01 x64

The striped Blacks scale very well and give a strong showing for two old stalwarts but as you can see the 1tb Velociraptor isn't messing around. Western Digital claims of 200mb/s are legit.The peak sequential numbers are smoking for a platter drive and not far behind the Caviar Blacks.Heck the Velociraptor even beat the striped Blacks in 512k,4k. and 4kQD32 marks.It was only a couple years ago I was stocked by the single drive performance of a 1tb Caviar Black.This new Velociraptor basically duplicates the RAID 0 .

HD Tune Pro 4.61

Read/Write Access time and IOPS testing

Western Digital Velociraptor 1tb

Western Digital Caviar Black 1tb RAID 0

Looking at the numbers the the Velociraptor easily outclasses the Blacks.IOPS are pretty much doubled and access times are half that of the striped Blacks.Even though SSD's shatter hard drive capabilities in IOP measurements and access times the performance by the new Velociraptor is more than satisfactory for anyone's computing needs.

The above image is a screenshot of my four drive RAID 0 of the 1tb Velociraptors on a LSI 9266-4i SATA 6gb/s raid controller.The benchmark is Black Magic Design's disc speed test that test's whether or not storage devices are capable of handling video formats up to 12-bit 2K video resolution.The benchmark indicates that the array is capable of handling all video formats.This is a great example of this drive's candidacy for workstation environments in video production facilities.I personally use this setup for capturing 1080p PC game play and video editing.


Western Digital has produced a drive that continues the performance dominance in the desktop hard drive arena.The new Velociraptor took on and beat a RAID 0 of two Caviar Black drives.Performance is stellar at all levels with this drive if you keep it in the realm of hard drives and not try to compare it with the overwhelming speed of modern ssd's.With 1 terabyte of capacity,200mb/sec peak sequential transfer speeds,low access times and other reliability features this drive is more than capable of serving any users needs.At prices ranging from $230-$299 at online sources the 1tb Velociraptor isn't cheap.but isn't absurdly priced like alternative 10,000/15,000 rpm SAS drives or enterprise level ssd's.I highly recommend this drive but not to everyone though.If you have a high work volume then this drive should take your consideration and your money.

  • Great transfer speeds
  • Generous storage capacity
  • Top of the line features built in for maximum reliability
  • Cool dinosaur name
  • 5-year warranty
  • Noisy at times

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