Western Digital's Raptor X hard drive

A window on a new standard in Serial ATA performance
— 10:10 AM on February 9, 2006

ALTHOUGH WESTERN DIGITAL'S 10K-RPM Raptor Serial ATA hard drives were originally intended for enterprise-class workstations and servers, enthusiasts were quick to employ them in personal desktop systems and gaming rigs. Marketing types tend to freak out when enthusiasts show such blatant disregard for artificial product segmentation, but Western Digital took it in stride. In fact, the company has even cooked up something special for the enthusiast community with the latest Raptor refresh.

We've been waiting for that refresh for a couple of years now, and Western Digital finally tipped its hand in January when it announced the Raptor WD1500. The drive retains the Raptor's 10K-RPM spindle speed and Serial ATA interface, but adds a beefier cache, larger total capacity, and support for Native Command Queuing. Just days later, Western Digital pulled back the curtains on the Raptor X, a version of the WD1500 with a window on the drive's internals. That's right: a hard drive window.

The Raptor X shares the WD1500's updated internals, and apart from the better view, it's identical to its enterprise-class counterpart. But how does it perform? We've cornered one in our labs and subjected it to an exhaustive set of synthetic and application tests to find out.

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