I doubt anyone will argue that Western Digital VelociRaptor is a unique Serial ATA hard drive for enthusiasts. It is extremely fast, but quiet and not hot at all, i.e. combines all the best features of a hard drive. The developers managed to put together this brilliant combination of features by using 2.5-inch form-factor and increasing the HDD spindle rotation speed to 10,000RPM.
However, there is another side to this approach: not very high storage capacity of this hard drive that is limited to 300GB with two platters. However, it will hardly stop real enthusiasts, just like the high price of the new drive, because the new WD VelociRaptor doesn’t have any competitors among contemporary Serial ATA hard drives.
True, the new Western Digital solution isn’t like any other SATA hard drive. VelociRaptor definitely stands out among other hard drives like an alien from a different world. And it is actually not surprising at all, because this is what things are. The thing is that Raptor (and VelociRaptor) ideology implies that Serial ATA hard disk drives similar to expensive SCSI models will be promoted into the market of high-performance computer systems. That is why we can see a lot of hard drives with features similar to VelociRaptor’s (and even better) among contemporary 2.5-inch SAS-solutions for the server environment: Seagate Savvio 10K.2, Fujitsu MBB2 RC or Hitachi Ultrastar C10K147. So, VelociRaptor is a sort of a compromise for those who need a high-performance disk system but do not want to mess with SAS HDDs and spend extra cash on a SAS controller.
In our next VelociRaptor article we are going to test it side by side with SAS drives that seem to be capable of competing against it from the price-to-performance standpoint.