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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Western Digital is releasing today two SATA-600 versions of their 10,000 rpm VelociRaptor hard disk drive, one with 450 GB and another with 600 GB. Let’s see how the 600 GB model (a.k.a. WD6000HLHX) performs.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)Figure 1: Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX).

It is very important to notice that the two new hard drives being released today are targeted to the enterprise segment, i.e., servers. This means they have higher reliability numbers compared to desktop parts.

Like the previous VelociRaptor, the new models are 2.5” hard disk drives that come installed inside a 3.5” adapter that doubles as heatsink, as you can see in Figure 1. Internally the reviewed unit has three 200 GB platters, 32 MB cache and is controlled by a dual-core processor.

The 450 GB model has 879,097,968 sectors, which translates into 450,098,159,616 bytes of storage or 429 GiB. The 600 GB model has 1,172,123,568 sectors, which translates into 600,127,2668,16 bytes of storage space or 558 GiB. Read our Hard Disk Drives Capacity Limits tutorial for further information on this subject.

The 450 GB model is arriving with a USD 299 suggested price tag, while the 600 GB model comes with a USD 329 suggested price.

We decided to compare the new SATA-600 VelociRaptor with the previous 300 GB incarnation, with a 1 TB desktop hard disk drive (Caviar Black) and with a 128 GB solid state drive (SSD), all from Western Digital. In the table below we compare the basic specs from these products.

Manufacturer Model Model # Rotational Speed Interface Buffer Capacity Price
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 7,200 rpm SATA-300 32 MB 1 TB USD 100
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 10,000 rpm SATA-300 16 MB 300 GB USD 240
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 10,000 rpm SATA-600 32 MB 600 GB USD 329
Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue SSC-D0128SC-2100 SATA-300 64 MB 128 GB USD 400

All prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review, except for the reviewed drive, which we are publishing the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Prices at on-line stores are usually lower than the manufacturer’s suggested price.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

During our tests we used the configuration listed below and the only variable component between each benchmarking session was the unit being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit using NTFS file system
  • Intel Inf driver version: 9.1.1.1020
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 195.62

Benchmarking Software

Error Margin

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.

[nextpage title=”DiskSpeed32″]

Let’s see first the results from DiskSpeed32, which measures performance sequentially reading all sectors from the storage device.

First, let’s take a look at the burst transfer rate results. This result shows the maximum transfer rate between the SATA port on the motherboard and the controller inside the drive.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

Here the new VelociRaptor 600 GB achieved the same performance as the “old” 300 GB VelociRaptor, being 13% faster than Caviar Black 1 TB and 37% faster than SiliconEdge Blue SSD.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

But the most import result is the average transfer rate. Here the winner was the SiliconEdge Blue SSD, which was 11% faster than VelociRaptor 600 GB. But the good news is that the new 600 GB VelociRaptor is 30% faster than the “old” 300 GB model. It was also 50% faster than a regular 1 TB hard drive (Caviar Black), which is quite impressive.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

On the maximum transfer rate results, VelociRaptor 600 GB was the fastest drive, being 19% faster than the 128 GB SSD we included in our comparison, 39% faster than a standard SATA-300 hard disk drive (Cavi
ar Black 1 TB) and 45% faster than VelociRaptor 300 GB.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

On the minimum transfer rate results, the SSD was the champion, and this result explains why this device achieved the highest average transfer rate: it was 173% faster than VelociRaptor 600 GB. Both the new and the “old” VelociRaptor models achieve the same performance level, with the drive being reviewed achieving a performance 17% higher than a regular 1 TB hard drive here.

[nextpage title=”HD Tune”]

Now we have the results provided by HD Tune program.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

On the burst transfer rate test, VelociRaptor 600 GB achieved the same performance level from VelociRaptor 300 GB, being 32% faster than Caviar Black 1 TB and 66% faster than SiliconEdge Blue 128 GB SSD.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

On the average transfer rate as measured by HD Tune, the SSD was the fastest device: 49% faster than the new VelociRaptor 600 GB, 86% faster than VelociRaptor 300 GB and 116% faster than Caviar Black 1 TB. The new VelociRaptor was 25% faster than the older 300 GB version and 45% faster than a regular 1 TB hard disk drive.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

On the maximum transfer rate as measured by HD Tach, the SSD was the fastest component, being 25% faster than the new VelociRaptor 600 GB. The new drive was 26% faster than VelociRaptor 300 GB and 40% faster than Caviar Black 1 TB.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

And on the minimum transfer rate test the SSD was again the fastest device, being 86% faster than VelociRaptor 600 GB. The new 600 GB drive was 24% faster than VelociRaptor 300 GB and 77% faster than Caviar Black 1 TB.

[nextpage title=”HDTach”]

Now let’s see the results provided by HDTach.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

On the burst transfer rate test the SSD was slightly fast (5%) than the new VelociRaptor, which achieved the same performance level as the “old” 300 GB model. The reviewed unit was a little bit (7%) faster than Caviar Black 1 TB.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

On the average transfer rate, the SSD was the fastest device, was expected, being 65% faster than the reviewed drive. The new 600 GB VelociRaptor was 25% faster than the old 300 GB model and 45% faster than a regular 1 TB drive.

[nextpage title=”Access Time”]

Access time is another important measurement. It measures the time the storage unit delays to start delivering data after the computer has asked a given data. It is measured in the order of milliseconds (ms, which is equal to 0.001 s) and the lower this value, the better.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 600 GB (WD6000HLHX)

While hard disk drives have access times in the other of tens of milliseconds, solid state drives, being 100% electronic components, have an access time close to zero.

The new VelociRaptor has an access time similar to the “old” 300 GB VelociRaptor, on the 7 ms range, which is very low for a hard disk drive: a regular 1 TB drive has an access time around 12 ms (i.e., around 80% slower on this parameter).

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

We were very impressed with the new VelociRaptor 600 GB: it was between 25% and 30% faster than VelociRaptor 300 GB. Of course if you want something even faster than the new VelociRaptor, you will need to buy an SSD, which will cost you a lot more. Just to give you an idea, SiliconEdge Blue 128 GB costs USD 400, while VelociRaptor 600 GB costs USD 329. In order to match the capacity of VelociRaptor 600 GB you would need five 128 GB SSD’s, costing you USD 2,000 (or two 256 GB SSD’s at USD 800 each and one 128 GB SSD at USD 400 – the end price is exactly the same). OUCH.

The good news is that this new performance level comes with a interesting price tag: the 300 GB VelociRaptor can be found for USD 240, so we are talking about a 37% price increase for 100% more storage and 25%-30% more performance. That’s a terrific deal in our book.

If you need storage space and performance, we think the new VelociRaptor 600 GB is the perfect choice for its target audience (database servers and very high-end desktops). If you don’t need that much storage space, you can pick the new 450 GB model and save a little bit.