Dual VelociRaptors take root in external Thunderbolt drive

Western Digital’s terabyte VelociRaptor hard drive has popped up in a rather unexpected place. The 10k-RPM mechanical monster is part of WD’s latest external drive, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo. As the name implies, the external storage device features dual VelociRaptors. The drives can be configured in a 2TB RAID 0 array or a redundant RAID 1 with half that capacity.

Unlike most external drives, the My Book is devoid of USB ports. In their place sits a pair of Thunderbolt connectors that put even USB 3.0’s speedy transfer rates to shame. Dual ports allow the My Book to participate in a daisy chain of Thunderbolt devices, another perk of the interconnect technology.

WD’s press release promises transfer rates up to 400MB/s in RAID 0 mode. That’s pretty quick for dual mechanical drives and competitive with what we’d expect from a single modern SSD. Typical solid-state drives don’t offer anything close to 2TB of storage unless they, too, are combined in RAID.

Assembling enough SSDs to match the My Book’s storage capacity won’t be cheap, which makes the external drive’s $900 price tag somewhat easier to swallow. Bare VelociRaptors are selling for $260 right now, so you’re looking at close to a $400 premium to wrap them up in the My Book enclosure. At least WD includes a Thunderbolt cable in the box.

Comments closed
    • d0g_p00p
    • 7 years ago

    Wow talk about overpriced, then again we all know who the target audience is.

    • Krogoth
    • 7 years ago

    What’s the point?

    External HDDs are designed for bulk data storage not for super-fast access speed.

    This guy is a big loser on both ends. It cannot touch SSDs in the random access speed department and loses to cheaper, more massive mainstream HDDs that are “almost” as fast in STR performance.

    If you want super-fast access speed in an external data device, you probably want to look elsewhere.

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      Editing video with a new MBP perhaps? Proprietary SSD inside, so you’d fast sequential reads/writes for video editing. These drives provide just that, over a low latency external connection.

        • Krogoth
        • 7 years ago

        You realize that video editing is typically CPU-limited if you are going hardcore?

        This guy is another of victim of a “solution looking for a problem”.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Ummm, not really. Rendering and encoding is CPU limited, the editing that involves scrubbing and read write is I/O limited when dealing with raw video.

            • Krogoth
            • 7 years ago

            The external Raptor combo is a poor choice for this.

            It is marginally faster than a normal, higher capacity 7200RPM HDD at STR performance.

            Latency is a non-issue here and the lower latency that TB and Raptors offer is completely wasted.

            A 2-3TB external with TB/USB support would make a lot more sense here.

            External Raptor = halo product for the epenis crowd.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            A single drive is again going to bottleneck on throughput. There is a reason why people that do a lot of video editting run raid 0 on their work drive when working with HD video.

        • Coyote_ar
        • 7 years ago

        Why would you need an slow external storage for editing video??? thunderbolt its cool and all, but 400mb in raid 0 config is lame, and seek time sucks.

        Just get 2-4 128gb RAID 0 SSD setup, for the working material. Get a couple 2tb drives, to store the finished material.

        And it’s still faster, cheaper, and you get more storage than this.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          And just how are you planning to stick those in a laptop?

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    I’d rather get one of these:

    [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227742[/url<] at the same price, half the capacity but four times the transfer rate.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Ya, but it’s OCZ and doesn’t even support trim.

      Correction: I see it does now support trim, but still, it’s OCZ.

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      That’ll work SUPER WELL in my laptop and my iMac!

      • Ari Atari
      • 7 years ago

      I’d rather get one of those too, in fact I have an older RevoDrive in this computer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit the market. External HDD/SSDs are the only way to go for something as space and weight limited as a laptop.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      You realize TR actually tested a revodrive a couple months ago and found it to only be good in a very specific kind of workload, generally only as good as a single SSD in everything else

    • Waco
    • 7 years ago

    Why the hell should I care about a Thunderbolt equipped external drive when even a PAIR of the fastest HDDs around can’t really saturate a decent USB 3.0 controller?

    Seriously…I don’t understand why Thunderbolt exists at this point. USB 3.0 is cheaper, almost as fast, and cheaper. Did I mention cheaper? And almost as fast (for practical uses)?

    Maybe I’m just retarded but I don’t see the point in paying for a Thunderbolt equipped anything. Things that need high bandwidth (monitors) already have DisplayPort. HDDs (and even SSDs) aren’t really fast enough to justify Thunderbolt over USB 3.0. What am I missing?

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      Latency. Audio interfaces have shown lower latency over Thunderbolt.

      Daisy chaining is an added bonus. I think there’s also also more bus power as well but this I’m not sure of.

      Still makes almost zero sense in this case mind you.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Latency matters for external HDs or HDs in general (within reason)?

      • demani
      • 7 years ago

      Can you point me to a review/benchmark of a USB system that hits 400MB/sec? Because in absence of that, Thunderbolt appears to be the best way to do that (6Gb eSATA would also be capable of that).

      But given the units design (that top opens up for easy access to the drives) it’s not a bad price (sell the drives and put in whatever-maybe to SSDs of your choice and get even more bandwidth-not altogether unreasonable [b<]if[/b<] it's needed). In our case, moving a ton of data from a shoot to a SAN via TB and back out via 10GigE is worthwhile. This unit is still small capacity wise for most of our stuff, but for some projects it would be great (plus with a mirror we could pull one drive and send it on the plane with the assistant, and send the other back via regular project shipping).

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Honestly it’s hard to find any benchmarks of USB 3 and SSDs that are reputable. Everyone seems to be concerned with showing off how much better TB is then USB 3, without testing the limitations of USB 3. Even TR doesn’t have benchmarks to that extent.

        One of the more common ones I found was the Kingston HyperX which isn’t a fast SSD or enclosure.

        When it comes to externals, SSDs are rather niche anyway. Most people only buy externals for space and put their SSDs inside their computer.

      • esterhasz
      • 7 years ago

      I would agree that in this case the interface choice seems to make little sens. But TB holds a lot of promise if you think about it as a potentially universal docking port. With ultrabooks and Windows 8 tablets gaining traction, TB may be very practical indeed.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Going USB also means losing a lot of features such as SMART, TRIM, NCQ, and many other low level drive features. With Thunderbolt those remain intact.

        • Waco
        • 7 years ago

        With eSATA they remain intact. eSATA is also cheap.

        Is TB as friendly as USB for removing drives or is it more like eSATA? If the latter…then I really don’t understand the point.

        I have two 4-drive eSATA enclosures (with a 2 drive RAID 0 and 2 single drives) that are mirrored to each other on my HTPC. I have yet to run into an issue with speeds for any of the 3 arrays even when copying from one to another. What would motivate me to upgrade those boxes to TB? Even if I made a massive 4-drive RAID 0 array on each it’s not likely I’d saturate the eSATA cable for 99% of the accesses to the drives…

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Cause then you could hook up a display to your computer and have those drives connected through the display!

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          eSata has it’s own issues especially when talking multidrive enclosures. First of all multidrive eSata enclosures use port multipliers which can be command base or frame based. Both the esata chipset and the enclosure have to use the same protocal. Many eSata chipsets in use on motherboards don’t even support port multiplying of any kind. Now depending on which protocal the chipset uses it MAY have support for the commands such as NCQ. Command based switching can’t but frame based can.

          Command base also does not allow data to be sent to multiple drives at once either. FIS does allow it but again the total bandwith of the eSata port is shared.

          The downside to eSata on multidrive enclosures is that you are limited to the max throughput of that one sata port. While it maybe tough to reach that max throughput with mechanical drives, it is easily hit with a pair of SSD’s. This isn’t a real concern with TB yet.

          In your case where you are just serving media it would’t be a big concern. If you start dealing with uncompressed HD video however eSATA starts choking trying to deliver that data.

          Edit: One other thing to note about the usage of multidrive eSata enclosures. Even though there are some eSATA chipsets out there that support port multiplying, many of the more common ones contain errata that can cause data loss. For this reason those eSATA chipsets have been blacklisted from port multiplying in the linux kernel.

          Here is a good list of the capabilities of the various sata chipsets out there and their protocol and bugs.

          [url<]https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/SATA_hardware_features[/url<]

      • tootercomputer
      • 7 years ago

      I hate to be politically correct, but I will be here: can you please avoid the term “retarded” as it is very offensive to many people. Thanks.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        What if we are talking about ignition timing?

        • Waco
        • 7 years ago

        I hate to be politically correct as well…which is why I usually am not. 🙂

        • dmjifn
        • 7 years ago

        Dunno, I think he used it correctly here. I wouldn’t expect someone who was intellectually deficient enough to be classified as clinically mentally retarded to see the point in paying for a Thunderbolt equipped anything. And I mean specifically due to their mental deficiency rather than their own use cases or preferences – which is what he seemed to be getting at! +1!

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    Not including USB3 is a big ooops.

    Yes, Thunderbolt is the new hotness, but I don’t know of a single computer in my circle off friends/co-workers that has a Thunderbolt port. Rendering this drive useless to me. I have USB3 at home and I know a few others that do, and EVERYBODY has USB2 (even though it would be PAINFULLY slow, at least you’re still able to connect).

    I applaud WD for including Thunderbolt ports, but the lack of USB3 will make this useless to most people.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      This would appeal to the media workstation crowd, and they tend to be very Mac-oriented so that wouldn’t be a problem.

      I haven’t checked, but I don’t know if there are chipsets with TB and USB3 integrated; if not, then WD would have additional COGs and integration expenses, driving up their price or cutting into their profit.

      Neither of which is any kind of excuse, but certainly explains why WD would think this is a viable product as it is, even if it clearly doesn’t fit what you (or many people at TR) would want. I prefer to buy the enclosure separate from the drives anyway, and I suppose a TB+USB3 one is in my future eventually (I just got around to buying a USB3 one when a sale popped up on Newegg a while back). Although GigE (or even WiFi) would be a more useful secondary interface for me.

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        I’d go 10GigE before TB. Cheaper cables, adapters, switches, etc..

        But, having only one kind of connector–and that an uncommon one–takes some of the utility out of these. What’s the repair guy going to do when you carry this in to have your data recovered? Plug it into his trusty USB jack on his repair machine? No, he’s going to have to crack it open, completely void the warranty, and pull the drives. Let’s just hope WD didn’t put any kind of funky header on there that he’ll (could be a she) have to overcome to get at the actual data.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<] No, he's going to have to crack it open, completely void the warranty, and pull the drives.[/quote<] Most drive warranties remain intact when using an authorized data recovery service such as drive savers. Second this drive can be used in Raid 0 or Raid 1. If one of your drives die in a Raid 1 configuration you should be able to pull the data over from the other when replaced. If in raid 0 however, no matter what the interface is, virtually no company will attempt to recover data from it.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, I’m sure the margins are really slim with that low price of $900 too.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Everyone I know that works with media uses a PC. Macs are advertised as that, but that doesn’t mean the majority of users are dumb enough to buy one (especially power users, such as those who would have a workstation).

        I think this drive falls into the ‘stupid enough to buy me’ category and would be paired with a Mac.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]Everyone I know that works with media uses a PC. Macs are advertised as that, but that doesn't mean the majority of users are dumb enough to buy one (especially power users, such as those who would have a workstation).[/quote<] And everyone that I know from 3 tv stations and 3 productions companies use Macs when working with media. Don't you just love how some people try to pass off personal testimony as universal fact?

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I really do like how you’re saying your personal testimony is universal fact too…

            I forgot to mention that [i<]everyone[/i<] from four tv stations and five production companies that I know use Macs. They're equally silly for doing so too.

        • Farting Bob
        • 7 years ago

        Selling a TB only external right now is severely limiting their market. The cost of adding a USB 3 controller and port would be marginal (just a guess but a dollar or 2 at most per unit) but would basically open the enclosure up to 100% of the market rather than 1 or 2% that currently has TB equipped PC’s. TB is rare, and very expensive for cables, addon cards etc.

        Not that you particularly need TB for dual raptors, USB 3 would be able to keep up with this units reported speed anyway. Now if you wanted to have SSD’s in RAID, then it would make sense to go with a TB and Ethernet port, and in a few years if/when TB is far more widely adopted then it might make sense.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Why the ethernet port (other then using it for a NAS)? Gbit ethernet can even be saturated with a single 5400 green drive.

      • TDIdriver
      • 7 years ago

      Amen! With USB3 this would be a perfect companion to a “powerful” ultrabook or thin-and-light notebook.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      One of the biggest reasons why TB wont catch on.

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    Uh, [url=http://rainmansuite.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/jet-powered-car_2078483i.jpg<]yeah[/url<].

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