WD XE Hard Drive Brings SSD-Class Performance to Hard Drives

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WD XEWestern Digital announced a brand new line of enterprise-class hard drives, today: the WD XE. Like the enterprise-class-turned-consumer-darling Velociraptor drives, the WD XE takes a 10,000RPM, 2.5-inch hard drive and plops it into a 3.5-inch heatsink. The move allows Western Digital to make a blazingly fast hard drive without overly worrying about what the heat generated might do to device.

WD is promising that the new XE drives manage to outperform their traditional 3.5-inch brethren, which also spin at 15,000RPM. That means that datacenter users can get higher-performing drives while achieving “up to” 50 percent greater capacities and “up to” 67% lower power use.

If you’re thinking plopping one of these babies into your high-end desktop, however, you might need to think twice. As a dedicated enterprise drive, the XE requires SAS backplanes and controllers – your standard SATA won’t do. SATA drives can be used with SAS connectors, but not the other way around.

Still, for those who need it, the XE looks to be a pretty smashing achievement for Western Digital. The company is claiming a 2 million hour MTBF (mean time between failures) rating, thanks in no small part to their NoTouch technology which, like other modern hard drives, prevents the recording head from ever touching the actual disk media.

The WD XE can deliver a supposed 204MBps transfer rate for sequential reads, and “outstanding” random I/O performance. For now, that’s a definite best-in-class rating.

The new drives are available now from some of WD’s resellers and distributors, but they won’t be cheap. Starting at $229.99 for 300GB, the line tops out at $599.99 for 900GB – expensive, but likely worth it for those who actually need the drives.

via: WD XE product page

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