Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS Hard Disk Drive Review
By Gabriel Torres on June 19, 2008
VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS is the latest 10,000 rpm drive from Western Digital, with 300 GB capacity, SATA-300 interface and 16 MB buffer. The faster the hard disk drive spins, the higher performance is, as it can read data from the magnetic plates at a faster rate. We always wanted to review a 10,000 rpm unit to see how much faster it is compared to a mainstream 7,200 rpm unit. Also, since 10,000 rpm drives are far more expensive than 7,200 rpm units, we were curious to see what provides a higher performance, a single 10,000 rpm drive or two mainstream 7,200 rpm drives in RAID0 configuration.
In our review we are going to compare VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS, which costs USD 300, to Seagate Barracuda 7200.10, which is a 160 GB 7,200 rpm drive with 8 MB cache also using SATA-300 interface, but costing only USD 48. We will also build a RAID0 array with two Barracuda 7200.10 drives, giving an array with around the same capacity of VelociRaptor, 300 GB, but at 1/3 of the cost.
Compared to the famous Raptor also from Western Digital the new VelociRaptor brings two main advantages: the use of SATA-300 interface and double the capacity. Both drives spin at 10,000 rpm and have 16 MB buffer, but according to Western Digital VelociRaptor is 35% faster than Raptor. The original Raptor is quoted at USD 270 on Western Digital’s website, but can be bought by USD 170 at Newegg.com.
On the pictures below you can see how the new VelociRaptor looks like. As you can see, it is in fact a 2.5” drive coming with a 3.5” adapter that works as a passive heatsink.
Now let’s see the performance from this baby.
During our tests we used the configuration listed below and the only variable component between each benchmarking session was the hard disk drive being tested. We also build a RAID0 array with two Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160 GB (ST3160815AS, SATA-300, 7,200 rpm, 8 MB buffer) hard disk drives with the ICH9R south bridge chip from the motherboard we were using (ASUS P5K-E/WiFi-AP, which is based on Intel P35 chipset), using the recommended strip size, 128 KB.
We adopted a 3% error margin. So, performance differences below 3% cannot be considered meaningful. In other words, products where the performance difference is below 3% must be considered as having similar performance.
As you could see in the previous page, we measured performance using three different programs, DiskSpeed 32, HD Tach and HD Tune.
Obs: We made a mistake when we first published this review on 06/10/2008: we forgot to remove the compatibility jumper from our Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard disk drives, making them to work as SATA-150 devices instead of SATA-300 ones. We redid the benchmarking and the results were very different (higher performance with the jumper removed), so this page and the conclusions had to be completely rewritten. We ask our most sincere apologies for this error and we’d like to thank our reader Carvalhoso who pointed out this error to us.
Let’s first analyze the results achieved with DiskSpeed32.
On DiskSpeed32 our RAID0 array using two mainstream Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard disk drives achieved a burst rate 37% higher than VelociRaptor’s and 55% higher than our Barracuda 7200.10 drive installed alone. VelociRaptor, however, achieved a higher maximum and average transfer rates. Its maximum transfer rate was 28% higher than our RAID0 array and 67% higher than only one Barracuda 7200.10 installed, while its average transfer rate was only 8% higher than our RAID0 array and 68% higher than our single Barracuda 7200.10.
On HD Tach our RAID0 array achieved a higher performance than the new VelociRaptor, with a 34% higher burst transfer rate and with an average transfer rate 8% higher. VelociRaptor achieved burst rate 11% higher than Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 and an average transfer rate 68% higher than the one achieved by this mainstream drive.
HD Tune showed our VelociRaptor with a burst transfer rate 40% higher than our RAID0 array, but on this program our single Barracuda 7200.10 achieved a burst transfer rate 25% higher than two of them in RAID0. Our RAID0 array also achieved a higher maximum (5%) and average (6%) transfer rates. As you can see the differences weren’t that big. VelociRaptor achieved a maximum transfer rate 60% higher than the one achieved by our mainstream Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 drive, while its average transfer rate was 68% higher.
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS main features are:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
It is clear that 10,000 rpm hard disk drives are way faster than mainstream 7,200 rpm drives. During our tests VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS achieved a burst transfer rate between 11% and 55% higher and an average transfer rate 68% higher than the one achieved by Seagate Barracuda 7200.10. So we are talking about a really high-end hard disk drive.
Then we built a RAID0 system with two Barracuda 7200.10 160 GB hard disk drives – a setup that costs 1/3 of the price of VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS and results in the same total capacity – to see how the new VelociRaptor is compared to a RAID0 system built with two mainstream drives.
On SpeedDisk32 and HDTach our RAID0 achieved a higher burst rate (37% and 34% higher, respectively) than the new VelociRaptor. On HDTune VelociRaptor achieved a burst transfer rate 40% higher than our RAID0 array. Our RAID0 array showed a higher maximum and average transfer rates on HDTach (8% higher average transfer rate) and HDTune (5% higher maximum transfer rate and 8% higher average transfer rate), but on SpeedDisk32 VelociRaptor was faster (28% higher maximum transfer rate and 8% maximum average transfer rate) than our RAID0 array.
When comparing VelociRaptor to other single disks, yes, it is faster. The problem is that you can build a RAID0 system using two mainstream drives and have a faster system that costs only 1/3 of the price (provided that you have a motherboard that supports RAID).
However if you have money to build “the fastest PC in town” then you can try building a RAID0 with two VelociRaptors, it will beat a RAID0 array using mainstream drives for sure – but costing six times more.
We want once again apologize for the error we made of not removing the compatibility jumper from our Barracuda 7200.10 hard drives, which caused the results we published before to be wrong. This is also a good advice: don’t forget to remove this jumper when installing a new SATA-300 hard drive in order to allow it to achieve its maximum performance.