To tell the truth, I have been long waiting for this sacred moment. The first ATA (or almost ATA) hard disk drive with 10,000rpm spindle rotation speed is lying in my palm. It’s so nice to feel its weight (by the way, it is notably heavier than the common ATA drives) and its ribbed case. It’s so pleasing to realize that you’ve just touched the live legend, because this one is your FIRST one!
At every seminar with the manufacturers’ reps I asked the same question: Aren’t you going to release an ATA drive with 10,000rpm spindle rotation speed? And every time I got the same answer: We can do it technically, but the market is not ready for these drives yet. And every time I thought to myself: I don’t care about this damned market, I need it! :)
But, finally the market got into a really revolutionary situation when the users no longer want to buy 5,400rpm HDDs, and the manufacturers are anxious to start selling something faster than that (because it can be sold at a higher price). And we could clearly see that this revolutionary situation was about to grow into something bigger. However, the manufacturers were afraid to make the first step, because every pioneer can get not only glory and popularity, but also all complaints and public reproach. So, we admire those brave one who dare!
Closer Look: WD Raptor HDD
Well, Western Digital released their first SATA hard disk drive. But it was not the interface used that made this event an absolutely extraordinary thing. Besides, the first SATA drive has already been launched by Seagate Company (see our Seagate Barracuda Serial ATA V Hard Disk Drive Review). The major peculiarity of the new WD drive is its spindle rotation speed, which is equal to 10,000rpm. Really, only SCSI drives used to have this spindle rotation speed. And now Raptor dashed onto their territory…
Yes, the new WD hard disk drive bears exactly this name: Raptor. Well, I don’t know what WD marketing people really implied, but I will do my best to find this out today.
The new hard drive, like a full-grown predator, should rush into an unsuspicious herd and catch the closest victim. Rip it into pieces and then get to the next one :)
Aggressiveness is one of the typical traits of all raptors, and it is exactly what WD expects its Raptor to be like in the today’s storage market. Why? Why should this drive be so aggressive? Let’s recall some history first.
A few years ago Western Digital Company gave up its SCSI business oppressed by grave technical problems and pushed by the competitors. The financial situation in the company was not very favorable in those days, and they couldn’t provide for the expensive HDDs production. It was a hard decision to make, but as the time passed we all saw that it had been the right decision. WD Company has fully recovered after that and sometimes they even afforded such naughty things as purchasing a fab from their competitor, Fujitsu. By the way, Fujitsu also gave up the fab not for fun. ;)
As we have already mentioned, WD started adding more high-capacity ATA solutions to their product range lately. Besides, they were the first manufacturer to equip their hard drives with a large cache-buffer, which improved their performance in some tasks quite tangibly. This couldn’t remain unnoticed by the customers and even the sales of the solutions with the regular 2MB cache-buffer grew up. Well, it looks as if the rule “first you work for reputation and then the reputation works for you” proved true again.
But there is one more rule, which the company should stick to if they want to become a success. In our rapidly changing world you should always run very fast, even if you want to stay at the same position. Well, hopefully WD managed to calculate the best time for a start.
And where does the red arrow in the WD marketing plans point at? According to the headquarters directive, this HDD should first of all aim at the corporate market, i.e. Low-End servers and high-performance workstations. As you see, this is not the tiniest goal...