As pretty much all SSD Freaks are aware of, most modern SSDs offer many times the performance of any hard disk, but with the high cost of SSDs and most consumers looking for a high capacity fast drive to compliment their SSD, MaximumPC take a look at what improvement Western Digital has managed to squeeze into what was once the leader when it came to high speed storage.
Just recently, Western Digital has released updated higher capacity VelociRaptors, available with a capacity choice of 450GB and 600GB. Like the original VelociRaptors, these feature 10,000RPM spindles and are available on their own as 2.5″ enterprise drives or enclosed in a heatsink to fit a 3.5″ bay. Western Digital claims these to be the world’s fastest SATA drives available.
The much-needed refresh bumps the Velociraptor line back into the enthusiast market, where solid-state drives and super-speedy terabyte drives have nibbled away at their market share. Enough yammering outta us, though; let’s go to the benchmarks!
Since the new Velociraptor has a 6Gb/s SATA controller, we tested it on a Asus P6X58D Premium board, which has an onboard Marvell SATA 6Gb/s controller as well as Intel’s standard ICH10R southbridge. The CPU is a 3.33GHz Core i7-X980, and we used 6GB DDR3/1333. All tests were done in Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. We used HDTune 4.01, Premiere Pro CS3, and PCMark Vantage x64.
While its read/write IOPS of 139 to 146 lead when it comes to hard disks, these are still tiny compared to what even entry level SSDs are capable of and as far as we can tell, these are not going to improve much for the remaining life of spinning HDDs. However, where the VelociRaptors do well is in sustained read/write performance, which is plenty for dealing with bulky files such as video editing, while still providing better seek times than conventional 7200RPM drives.
Both new VelociRaptors feature SATA 6Gbps, but most users are unlikely going to notice the difference even with SATA 3Gbps due to the both falling well short of the SATA 3Gbps bandwidth cap. The main benefit would be for cache hits, where data being written to or read from the drive’s 32MB buffer makes use of the extra bandwidth.
As far as we can tell, this is probably going to be one of the last attempts at improving hard disk performance, with future hard drive announcements likely to be about higher platter density and cost.