Western Digital VelociRaptor Review (600GB)

by J.R. Nelson Reads (16,489)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 6
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Features
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.33
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • Very fast hard drive
    • 2x capacity as original
    • Low access times (for HDD)
  • Cons

    • $330 for 600GB
    • Higher power usage

Quick Take

If you need fast hard drive storage, the WD VelociRaptor is hard to beat.

Western Digital’s original VelociRaptor drive was pretty revolutionary when it debuted. A consumer-focused traditional hard drive, the VelociRaptor offered 300GB of storage spinning along at 10,000RPM. Despite a shift across the industry to solid state storage, WD hasn’t forgotten that traditional hard drives still have something to offer. Read on for full review.


  • Form factor: 2.5-inch HDD inside industry-standard 3.5-inch metal housing
  • Available capacities: 600GB
  • Spindle Speed: 10,000RPM
  • Cache: 32MB
  • Host interface: Serial ATA (SATA3)
  • Host data transfer rate: 6Gb/s (backwards compatible with 1.5Gb/s)
  • Seek time: 3.6ms (read) and 3.6ms (write)
  • Temperature: Operating (0°C to 60°C); Non-operating (-40° to 70°C)
  • Acoustics: 30 – 37dB
  • Power consumption: 7W read/write, 4.3W idle, 0.7W standby/sleep
  • Load/unload cycles: 600,000 minimum
  • MTBF (mean time between failures): 1.4 million hours
  • Limited Warranty: 5 years
  • MSRP: $329.99

Build and Design
We don’t typically talk about the build and design features of a hard drive, but the VelociRaptors are a bit different. Just looking at the drives shows that the VelociRaptors are remarkably different from standard desktop hard drives. As with the original set, the new VelociRaptor 600 is a 2.5-inch drive like those found in standard laptops. At 15mm high, you won’t be able to fit the VR into some notebooks, but even if you could, you really couldn’t power it.

For use in regular desktops, the VelociRaptor comes with a large metal built-in heatsink to dissipate the substantial thermal energy built up from spinning at 10,000RPM. The “Ice Pack” heatsink converts the 2.5-inch drive to a 3.5-inch standard. As a result, you’ll be able to slide this right into your desktop’s regular 3.5-inch drive bays. The connections are standard, so you can use them with traditional separated SATA power cables or backplane setups, which are becoming increasingly common in high-end consumer desktops. Backplanes are smaller circuit boards with built-in SATA connections that let users drop drives in without worrying about cables. You can see a really great example of this in our recent Alienware Area-51 ALX review.

Attribute VelociRaptor 300 (original) Velociraptor 600 (new)
Form factor 2.5″ (in 3.5-inch heatsink) 2.5″ (in 3.5-inch heatsink)
Capacity 150GB/300GB 450GB/600GB
Cache 16MB 32MB
Interface SATA2 (3Gbps) SATA3 (6Gbps)
Spindle speed 10,000RPM 10,000RPM
Acoustics 36dB 37dB
Power consumption 6W active 7W active
Load/unload cycles 50,000 600,000
MTBF 1.4 million hours 1.4 million hours
Limited warranty 5 years 5 years
MSRP (at launch) $299.99 (300GB) $329.99 (600GB)

The new drives are slightly pricier than their original counterparts, premiering at $329.99 for 600GB and $299.99 for 450GB. There’s no doubt that the 300 and 150GB SATA2 versions will be dropped significantly in price; otherwise no one would bother buying them. You get a bit more for your money with these drives, however; let’s take a look at the direct comparison of the specifications.

WD’s 450 and 600GB versions are reportedly 15% faster than their original counterparts, though we got significantly faster results in some tests, showing gains of up to 30%. The new drives have a 32MB buffer cache instead of 16MB, dual-core controller CPUs, and follow the new SATA3 6Gbps standard instead of the older SATA2 3Gbps standard. SATA2 can’t be saturated by a traditional hard drive, even these VelociRaptors, but the new standard offers other, less perceptible improvements such as upgrades to the native command queuing (NCQ) setup.

A number of improvements also went into the the internal makeup of the drive, pushing the 50,000 head load/unload count of the original up to a whopping 600,000 in the new flagship. There are three 200GB platters in the new 600GB drive; in addition to other design refinements, increasing the areal density of the platters on its own will improve the speed and throughput of a drive. This is because as the density rises, the distance between individual bits of data is smaller, so it takes less time for the head to travel between each bit.




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