Western Digital’s Raptor X hard drive

Manufacturer Western Digital
Model Raptor X
Price (MSRP)
Availability Now
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.

The drive
From an aesthetic perspective, hard drives tend to be rather dull. Not the Raptor X, though. It’s dressed in black and features a unique window that offers a glimpse at the mirror-like finish of the drive’s platters and one of its heads. The view is even more impressive with the drive powered on, as the platter spins and the drive head darts from track to track. Check out a video of the drive head in action here. There isn’t any real utility to the drive window, though. One could perhaps use it to diagnose a head crash or other mechanical failures, but it’s really just for show—showing off, that is. When you’re running what may be the fastest Serial ATA hard drive on the market, you might as well show off its internals. Think of it like an engine window on a Ferrari F430.

Of course, Ferraris don’t come cheap, and neither does the Raptor X. The drive carries a $50 price premium over the Raptor WD1500, which lacks the window but is otherwise identical to the Raptor X.

Apart from the WD1500, the Raptor X’s closest competitor is its predecessor, the Raptor WD740GB. Here’s how the new drive’s specs compare.

  Raptor X Raptor WD740GD
Maximum external transfer rate 150MB/s
Maximum internal transfer rate 84MB/s 72MB/s
Read seek time 4.6ms 4.5ms
Write seek time 5.2ms 5.9ms
Average rotational latency 2.99ms
Spindle speed 10,000RPM
Available capacities 150GB 74GB
Cache size 16MB 8MB
Platter size 75GB 37GB
Idle acoustics 39dBA 32dBA
Seek acoustics 46dBA 36dBA
Idle power consumption 9.19W 8.40W
Read/write power consumption 10.02W 7.90W
Command queuing NCQ TCQ
Warranty length Five years

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Raptor X and the WD740GD is the former’s higher density platters. New 75GB platters allow Western Digital to squeeze 150GB out of a two-platter design, giving the Raptor X twice the capacity of the previous generation. Platters with a higher areal density do more than just increase the drive’s storage capacity, though. Greater areal densities allow the drive head to access the same amount of data over a shorter physical distance, resulting in higher sustained transfer rates.

In addition to doubling the WD740GD’s total capacity, the new Raptor also doubles its predecessor’s cache size from 8MB to 16MB. Support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ) has been added, as well. The WD740GD actually supports a form of command queuing known as Tagged Command Queuing (TCQ), but storage controllers with TCQ support have been few and far between. Support for NCQ is far more common—nearly universal among high-end core logic chipsets.

Despite several new features, the Raptor X has the same 10K-RPM spindle speed as previous Raptors. Write seek times are more than half a millisecond faster with the new drive, at least according to Western Digital’s spec sheet. That might not seem like a lot of time, but with processors pushing billions of instructions per second, it’s a virtual eternity inside a modern PC.

Speaking of eternities, the original 150MB/s Serial ATA interface has been around for a while now. Newer SATA hard drives and storage controllers have moved on to support 300MB/s transfer rates, but the Raptor X tops out at only 150MB/s. Western Digital says it hasn’t been able to get 300MB/s transfer rates working perfectly with a wide enough variety of disk controllers, so it has taken a conservative approach with the Raptor X. Since not even 15K-RPM SCSI drives can sustain fast enough transfer rates to saturate a 150MB/s connection, the Raptor X’s lack of support for 300MB/s transfer rates shouldn’t be a huge drawback.

Test notes
We’ll be comparing the Raptor X’s performance with that of a slew of competitors, including some of the latest and greatest Serial ATA drives from Hitachi, Maxtor, Seagate, and Western Digital. We’ve also thrown in a Maxtor Atlas 10K V to explore how the new Raptor fares against something from the SCSI world.

The drives we’ll be looking at differ when it comes to external transfer rates, spindle speeds, cache sizes, platter densities, NCQ support, and capacity, all of which can have an impact on performance. Keep in mind the following differences as we move through our benchmarks:

  Max external transfer rate Spindle speed Cache size Platter size Capacity Native Command Queuing?
Atlas 10K V 320MB/s 10,000RPM 8MB 74GB 300GB No*
Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ 150MB/s 7,200RPM 8MB 80GB 160GB Yes
Barracuda 7200.8 150MB/s 7,200RPM 8MB 133GB 400GB Yes
Barracuda 7200.9 (160GB) 300MB/s 7,200RPM 8MB 160GB 160GB Yes
Barracuda 7200.9 (500GB) 300MB/s 7,200RPM 16MB 125GB 500GB Yes
Caviar SE16 300MB/s 7,200RPM 16MB 83GB 250GB No
Caviar RE2 150MB/s 7,200RPM 16MB 100GB 400GB Yes
Deskstar 7K500 150MB/s 7,200RPM 16MB 100GB 500GB Yes
DiamondMax 10 150MB/s 7,200RPM 16MB 100GB 300GB Yes
Raptor WD740GD 150MB/s 10,000RPM 8MB 37GB 74GB No*
Raptor X 150MB/s 10,000RPM 16MB 75GB 150GB Yes

Note that the Atlas 10K V, Caviar SE16, and Raptor WD740GD lack support for Native Command Queuing. As we’ve mentioned, the WD740GD does support a form of command queuing known as Tagged Command Queuing (TCQ), but host controller and chipset support for TCQ is pretty thin. Our Intel 955X-based test platform doesn’t support TCQ, either. Thanks to an Adaptec 29320R SCSI controller, it will support the Atlas 10K V’s SCSI command queuing. The Atlas technically doesn’t do NCQ, but SCSI command queuing should be just as good—if not better.

While our SCSI card supports command queuing, adding it to our test system introduces a couple of other issues. The system lacks PCI-X slots, so the card is stuck on the relatively pokey PCI bus. At the very least, this will limit the speed of burst transfers, although it could also affect performance in other tests. SCSI drives also support a WRITE_THROUGH flag that requires that data be written directly to the disk rather than to the drive cache. This feature prevents data from being lost in the event of a power failure or other interruption, but it can slow write performance. WRITE_THROUGH is an important feature for enterprise applications, so we haven’t disabled it on the Atlas 10K V.

Since Seagate makes versions of the 7200.7 both with and without NCQ support, the 7200.7 in our tests appears as the “Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ” to clarify that it’s the NCQ version of the drive. The Caviar RE2, Deskstar T7K250, DiamondMax 10, 7200.8, 7200.9, and Raptor X aren’t explicitly labeled as NCQ drives because they’re not available without NCQ support.

Our testing methods
All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.

Processor Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz
System bus 800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Asus P5WD2 Premium
Bios revision 0422
North bridge Intel 955X MCH
South bridge Intel ICH7R
Chipset drivers Chipset
Memory size 1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Micron DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
CAS latency (CL) 3
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 3
RAS precharge (tRP) 3
Cycle time (tRAS) 8
Audio codec ALC882D
Graphics Radeon X700 Pro 256MB with CATALYST 5.7 drivers
SCSI card Adaptec 20320R with drivers
Hard drives Hitachi 7K500 500GB SATA
Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB SATA
Maxtor Atlas 10K V SCSI
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ 160GB SATA
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB SATA
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 160GB SATA
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB SATA
Western Digital Caviar SE16 250GB SATA
Western Digital Caviar RE2 400GB SATA
Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB SATA
Western Digital Raptor X 150GB SATA
OS Windows XP Professional
OS updates Service Pack 2

Our test system was powered by OCZ PowerStream power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor’s Choice winners in our last PSU round-up.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.


WorldBench overall performance
WorldBench uses scripting to step through a series of tasks in common Windows applications. It then produces an overall score. WorldBench also spits out individual results for its component application tests, allowing us to compare performance in each. We’ll look at the overall score, and then we’ll show individual application results alongside the results from some of our own application tests.

The Raptor X leads the pack in WorldBench, bettering its predecessor’s score by a full two points. Let’s break down WorldBench’s overall score into individual results to see where the Raptor X gained the most ground.

Multimedia editing and encoding

MusicMatch Jukebox

Windows Media Encoder

Adobe Premiere

VideoWave Movie Creator

While it manages to lead the field throughout WorldBench’s multimedia editing and encoding tests, the Raptor X really only distinguishes itself in Premiere. Even then, the WD740GD is right on its heels.

Image processing

Adobe Photoshop

ACDSee PowerPack

Photoshop doesn’t spread the field much, but ACDSee gives the Raptor X a little room to stretch its legs.

Multitasking and office applications

Microsoft Office


Mozilla and Windows Media Encoder

The Raptor X falls to the middle of the pack in two of WorldBench’s multitasking and office application tests, but scores are virtually identical across the board.

Other applications



Scores are far from identical in Winzip and Nero, though. The Raptor X takes top honors in both, and it has a huge lead on its closest competitors in Nero.

Boot and load times
To test system boot and game level load times, we busted out our trusty stopwatch.

Curiously, the Raptor X’s Windows XP boot time isn’t anything special. Don’t mind the Atlas 10K V’s comparatively long boot times here; a good chunk of that time is consumed by the Adaptec SCSI card as it scans the SCSI bus for connected devices.

The Raptor X’s Far Cry level load times aren’t all that hot, either, although the drive is faster than any other in our DOOM 3 level load test.

File Copy Test
File Copy Test is a pseudo-real-world benchmark that times how long it takes to create, read, and copy files in various test patterns. File copying is tested twice: once with the source and target on the same partition, and once with the target on a separate partition. Scores are presented in MB/s.

The Raptor X goes five for five in FC-Test’s file creation tests, and with most test patterns, the competition doesn’t even come close. Note that the Atlas 10K V is way behind here, likely due to its use of the WRITE_THROUGH flag.

Despite its perfect record in the file creation tests, the Raptor X only wins two of FC-Test’s read tests. In the other three, it’s forced to settle for a couple of silvers and one bronze. However, even in defeat, the Raptor X is never far off the lead.

In a return to glory, the Raptor X rips through FC-Test’s copy tests and finishes way ahead of the field with a couple of test patterns.

The Raptor X’s strong file copy performance extends through FC-Test’s partition copy tests, where it registers faster transfer rates than every other drive. Keep in mind, however, that the Atlas 10K V’s file copy performance will at least in part be constrained by the drive’s support of the WRITE_THROUGH flag.

iPEAK multitasking
We recently developed a series of disk-intensive multitasking tests to highlight the impact of command queuing on hard drive performance. You can get the low-down on these iPEAK-based tests here. The mean service time of each drive is reported in milliseconds, with lower values representing better performance.

Maxtor’s DiamondMax 10 proves surprisingly resilient in our iPEAK tests, forcing the Raptor X to play second fiddle for most of the first round. Note how much the Raptor X improves on its predecessor’s performance, though.

iPEAK multitasking – con’t

The Raptor X can’t catch the DiamondMax in our second round of iPEAK tests, but it does cement its second place standing. Again, note the huge improvement in performance over the WD740GD.

IOMeter – Transaction rate
IOMeter presents a best-case scenario for command queuing, so the NCQ-less Western Digital drives should have a slight disadvantage here under higher loads.

The Raptor WD740GD has been outclassing 7,200-RPM Serial ATA drives in IOMeter for some time, and its successor continues that legacy. However, despite its support for Native Command Queuing, the Raptor X is only marginally faster than its predecessor. Neither drive comes close to the performance of the Atlas 10K V SCSI drive once we hit more than one outstanding I/O request.

IOMeter – Response time

IOMeter response times have the Raptor X wedged between slower 7,200-RPM Serial ATA drives and the 10K-RPM Atlas. From a performance perspective, SCSI clearly isn’t dead yet.

IOMeter – CPU utilization

The Raptor X’s IOMeter CPU utilization is a little higher than that of the other drives, but it barely eclipses half a percent.

HD Tach
We tested HD Tach with the benchmark’s full variable zone size setting.

What happens when you combine 75GB platters with 10K-RPM spindle speeds? You get mind-numbing transfer rates in HD Tach. Note how higher areal densities allow the Raptor X to better its predecessor by about 10MB/s at the same spindle speed.

Unfortunately, the Raptor X’s lack of support for 300MB/s Serial ATA transfer rates slows the drive in HD Tach’s burst speed test.

The Raptor X is also a little slower than the WD740GD in the random access time test, although it’s still much quicker than the 7,200-RPM drives.

CPU utilization results are well within HD Tach’s +/- 2% margin of error in this test.

Noise levels
Noise levels were measured with an Extech 407727 Digital Sound Level meter 1″ from the side of the drives at idle and under an HD Tach seek load. Drives were run with the PCB facing up.

Although far from the quietest drive at idle, the Raptor X isn’t all that loud under load. The high-pitched whine that plagued early Raptors appears to be gone for good.

Power consumption
Power consumption was measured for the entire system, sans monitor, at the outlet. We used the same idle and load environments as the noise level tests.

Despite its phenomenal performance, the Raptor X’s power consumption is quite reasonable. Our Atlas 10K V numbers might be a little inflated here, since it was necessary to run the system with the Adaptec SCSI card installed. Our other results were taken without the Adaptec card in the system.

Regardless of whether you actually want to see your hard drive’s internals—and pay a $50 premium for the privilege—you have to admire the engineering that went into installing a window in the Raptor. From a technical standpoint, it probably would have been much easier to put a window on a drive with a slower spindle speed, but Western Digital had the audacity to do it with a 10K-RPM drive. That says a lot, especially in a hard drive world filled with relatively dull and boring designs.

Of course, there’s more to the Raptor X than just its window. The drive offers a number of improvements over previous Raptors, including higher density platters, a larger cache and total capacity, and support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ), all while retaining the 10K-RPM spindle speed that made the Raptor so popular in the first place. Thanks to those new additions, the Raptor X has no problem outperforming its predecessor, in some cases quite dramatically. In fact, the addition of NCQ support seems to have had a particularly profound impact on performance under multitasking loads.

If anything dampens our enthusiasm for the Raptor X, it’s the drive’s lack of support for 300MB/s Serial ATA transfer rates. That’s not a huge deal, of course, and we’d rather have Western Digital get it right than release something half-baked. However, with a suggested retail price of $350, the Raptor X has little room for error.

Western Digital Raptor X
February 2006

That’s right: $350 for a 150GB hard drive. That’s a pretty dismal cost per gigabyte, but given the Raptor X’s performance, it’s not that hard to justify. Raptors obviously aren’t the most economical solution for those looking to maximize storage capacity, but if you’re looking for the fastest Serial ATA hard drive around, the Raptor X is the way to go. If you don’t want to pay a premium for a window, you can always opt for Western Digital’s Raptor WD1500. That drive shares the same internals as the Raptor X, costs less than $300, and should offer identical performance. We don’t hand out Editor’s Choice awards often here at TR, but the Raptor X is deserving for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s by far the fastest Serial ATA hard drive around. As if that weren’t enough, Western Digital had the engineering prowess—and nerve—to put a window in it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Western Digital made the window optional by offering the WD1500 for those who have little interest in staring at their drive’s internals for hours on end. I’ve been playing with the Raptor X for a couple of weeks now and the window’s novelty still hasn’t worn off, but then, perhaps I’m too easily amused by precise mechanics spinning at mind-numbing speeds. 

Comments closed
    • stmok
    • 14 years ago

    Hmmm…In regards to the early Raptors being nosier than the current ones. This is because the older ones used a traditional bearing system. All current ones use Dynamic Fluid Bearings. (regardless of size). Its still louder than the typical desktop HDD, but I guess that’s the price you pay for performance. (I prefer low noise than speed, as my PCs are in my bedroom). 🙂

    The original Raptor X called for a “see through” bit as well as a nice shiny LED inside to make it “look cool”. However, having an LED in a HDD that spins at 10k rpm posed more problems than its worth, and as a result, was removed from the final product.

    Did anyone notice that the Raptor X has a lower MTBF than the non-enthusiasts version? Are they telling me it lasts longer and costs less?

    • samadhi
    • 14 years ago

    It would have been nice to see the performance of the drive with NCQ turned off as well, the review at §[<http://www.storagereview.com/articles/200601/WD1500ADFD_8.html<]§ seems to show that for them the drive was aproximately 10% faster without NCQ for typical desktop activities and it was only under server type loads that they recommended that NCQ be turned on. As this is the desktop version of the drive it would probably make more sense to have NCQ switched off if this is indeed the case. Any chance we could get an update with some NCQ disabled results added as a 10% performance boost is worth knowing about?

      • indeego
      • 14 years ago

      Also confirmed at anandtechg{<.<}g

    • d0g_p00p
    • 14 years ago

    I wanna know about noise. Since the DBa is useless to me because I cannot measure it. I am trying to keep a low noise PC now and I would like the Raptor but again. I need to sleep at night.

      • arb_npx
      • 14 years ago

      Raptors aren’t known for being silent; far from it. They’re not quite as loud as an 18 GB Seagate Cheetah Ultra-160 drive that I have in a Sun Ultra 2, but it’s close. If you want quiet, you’d be better off going with a Seagate drive with fluid bearings (they make those in SATA, right?).

      I personally don’t mind the noise, and have put my newest games on the 74 GB Raptor. The lower latency helps cut down loading times quite a bit.

    • Bensam123
    • 14 years ago

    I don’t know about you guys but tieing a SCSI drive to a PCI bus then comparing it to other SCSI level hardware without that disadvantage doesn’t seem fair…

    I thought coperations would use server motherboards which come equiped with PCI-X slots anyway?

      • UberGerbil
      • 14 years ago

      Why? No single drive can saturate PCI, so just like SATA150 vs SATA300 it shouldn’t make a whit of difference.

        • Bensam123
        • 14 years ago

        I wasn’t talking about saturation, I’m talking about latency and all the other crap a shard bus has to get through to get to the southbridge. I could be mistaken and the PCI bus doesn’t suffer from any of that though…

        • NewfieBullet
        • 14 years ago

        Even for a single drive it will have some affect on performance. Look at the burst rate benchmark to see the 320 MB/s SCSI bus bottlenecked by the 128 MB/s PCI bus. For streaming this will have no effect but for random accesses for data that is in the drive’s cache this will certainly affect performance.

      • bwoodring
      • 14 years ago

      Most SATA controllers are attached directly to the motherboard bridge and are not on the PCI bus.

    • albundy
    • 14 years ago

    would it make sense to enable write caching for the scsi drive? i mean duh, it does affect performance.

    I personally prefer the article on comparing scsi drives and the raptor from iXBT:

    §[<http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/storage/roundup-scsi2005.html<]§ I mean, come on, some of these drives are not even worth competing against!

    • Convert
    • 14 years ago

    Great review.

    I have a question. How solid is the top of the drive? Is there give in the window/window bindings?

      • indeego
      • 14 years ago

      I think it’s basically a couple of layers of saran wrap with stickers that say “Do not remove or warranty voidedg{<.<}g"

        • Convert
        • 14 years ago

        You mean to tell me they didn’t even spring for a ziploc freezer bag?

          • indeego
          • 14 years ago

          I think that is what they send you when the click of death invariably hits at year 5, plus one dayg{<.<}g

      • Dissonance
      • 14 years ago

      There’s a little give, but it seems pretty solid.

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    With respect to boot performance, I’m wondering if you would have seen better performance if the system had had time to create prefetch info and defrag boot files (which Windows does as part of the ProcessIdleTasks cleanup). Did you time the first boot, or one after the 3rd boot?

    Granted, under the testing conditions none of the compared drives would have that benefit, but since the STR makes the biggest difference with contiguous files it would tend to affect drives with the highest STR the most.

    I’m sure this is old news for Geoff, but fyi for anyone else:
    §[<http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/benchmark.mspx<]§ Anyway, these days boot seems to be limited by all the other crap that goes on, from BIOS fiddling to network identification.... And since I generally don't reboot my machine for weeks or months at a time, it's not really a factor.

      • indeego
      • 14 years ago

      Also might be useful to use this on the singular test files they use:
      §[<http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/Contig.html<]§ I also would recommend a run of ccleaner before every test: §[<http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/CCleaner_Crap_Cleaner/1100194579/1<]§ (anything to reduce uncontrolleable variables) uncheck prefetch option prefetch adds a whole new level to benchmarking as mentioned in your link. I wonder how TR builds these systems? images? scripts? the two methods are vastly different and can impact different platforms. Also might be useful to disable SMART on all drives/BIOS as that can have impact on boot times for different drives for different reasons. Also might be useful to get latest firmware for the drives. This typically happens many moons after a new drives released, and it would hit motherboard reviews as well, and is probably beyond the scope of timeline sensitive benchmarking. I don't envy these dudesg{<.<}g

    • sluggo
    • 14 years ago

    On the video the Raptor appears to be short-stroked. Is true? And if so, has the Raptor line always been this way?

      • Krogoth
      • 14 years ago

      Raptor X is a little louder then my WD740 HDD, but it revs at the same speed. The header on the WD740 probably waves back forth at the same rate.

        • sluggo
        • 14 years ago

        “Short-stroked” means that the drive only uses the outermost cylinders and forgoes the capacity of the inner part of the media. It’s designed that way to reduce the time taken for a maximum stroke and to avoid the lower transfer rates of the inner cylinders.

        On the video the heads appear to be accessing outer cylinders only. Thus the question.

          • indeego
          • 14 years ago

          Don’t drives by nature physically fill in their data in that method? he probably just hasn’t used much of the capacity to warrant an inward read/write….

            • sluggo
            • 14 years ago

            It’s entirely possible that he didn’t have any data on the inner cylinders. I don’t know.

            Anyone know if the Raptor is short-stroked?

      • SpotTheCat
      • 14 years ago

      I don’t think it is, look at the still pictures of the drive. Unless the heads are just parked there for the photo, it seems the head moves across more than we saw in the video.

        • sluggo
        • 14 years ago

        The heads park on a data-free “landing zone” when the drive spins down. It’s not just for the photo – you won’t see the heads anywhere else when the platters are not spinning.

    • IntelMole
    • 14 years ago

    Excellent review. If I was making a system today and I had the cash, I’d put one of them in there as the primary drive without question.

    Anyways, a suggestion just hit me for the IOMeter graphs here:
    §[<https://techreport.com/reviews/2006q1/wd-raptorx/index.x?pg=9<]§ The number of concurrent requests in those graphs is doubling at each point, but the vertical axis is purely linear. Would it not be more informative to have the vertical axis on a log2 scale also? Then a straight line would indicate purely linear scaling, and we can see where the drive approaches it's limits more clearly? There may well be a good reason for not doing this, but I thought the idea was worth mentioning. -Mole

    • Ruiner
    • 14 years ago


    Toss the window and one platter, sell it for $120 and they would have something.

      • Flying Fox
      • 14 years ago

      You can buy the “enterprise” version, model ADFD iirc, already for ~50 bucks less.

    • draksia
    • 14 years ago

    I am a little upset that Atlas 10k V was used with the write cache. While this would be typical for a enterprise solution when hooked up to external storage. The test suite here is clearly desktop orientated in which no user would likely turn the write cache off. I know it would have been a little more testing but maybe the Atlas should have tested both with cache on and with it off.

    That said I am little bias as my current drive is an altas 10k V.

      • jpostel
      • 14 years ago

      My question exactly. If you are going to make a proper comparison, then find out if the testbed’s chipset uses the write through cache by default and compare apples to apples. It’s not like the comparison was 6 disk RAID arrays or anything, so we are not worried about enterprise applications here.

    • FireGryphon
    • 14 years ago

    That was a great review, as always.

    I just took apart an old hard disk of mine that had a small window in it (see pic #3 here: §[<https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36638).<]§ The window in the Raptor X is much larger and much more impressive. You can tell their engineers are having fun doing their jobs. Lack of SATA-II doesn't seem to adversely affect the performance of the Raptor X all that much. It'll get recommended a lot around here. ...and see my question below about the Nero test.

      • indeego
      • 14 years ago

      /[<"You can tell their engineers are having fun doing their jobs. "<]/ or you can tell the marketers are biting their nails trying to come up with something "innovative" in the dull HDD marketg{<.<}g

        • Ruiner
        • 14 years ago

        overheard at next marketing meeting…

        “ooh ooh ooh, let’s put LED’s and cold cathodes in the window! Those rubes will bay another 50 bucks a drive for sure!”

          • jss21382
          • 14 years ago

          perhapse a glowing blue platter to go with it!!!

          • SpotTheCat
          • 14 years ago

          that was so 3 years ago.

    • FireGryphon
    • 14 years ago

    What does the Nero test show us? With this hdd, we can burn discs faster?

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 14 years ago

    Woohoo for new toys! Looks awesome. Thanks for the write-up.

    • Zenith
    • 14 years ago


    Lack of SATA2 sorta kills it for me. Only in the sense though, that if I was going to shell out big bugs for a big non-SCSI setup, I’d expect absolute full capacity of my drives. Even if it’s minor, the lack of SATA2 makes it seem a bit dated….

    I guess I’m just a bit superficial.

    Speaking of being superficial, how about a video of the window when the drive is in action?

      • crichards
      • 14 years ago


        • Damage
        • 14 years ago

        Ok. Was part of the plan all along. Added it to the review.


          • indeego
          • 14 years ago

          Fairly cool. Bet the chicks would dig itg{<.<}g

          • quarantined
          • 14 years ago


          But me want solid state. Argh.

          • Zenith
          • 14 years ago

          Heh, can’t get anything past you guys. Thanks.

      • pepys
      • 14 years ago

      Well, la-de-fu$kin-da, I always wondered what was goin on in thar. Nice review Damage!

        • jobodaho
        • 14 years ago

        Check out who wrote the article and give Geoff some credit.

      • Freon
      • 14 years ago

      At the end of the day, spindle speed is really the only thing that matters. 10k > huge cache, 10k > interface speed, 10k > NCQ, TCQ, etc. Sure the other factors may play a part, but the spindle speed is setting the class of the device, the others barely add up to a few points here and there.

        • UberGerbil
        • 14 years ago

        Well, not exactly. A 10K drive with a 20ms seek time wouldn’t be much of a performer — it would be fine on streaming tests, but would suck rather badly on most workstation loads. But you’re right generally. And the interface speed is a non-issue. Unless and until we start seeing fan-out (multiple drives on one SATA channel) it simply doesn’t matter if the drive’s maximum transfer rate is ~50% of SATA150 or ~25% of SATA300. Making a buying decision based on that is just silly.

        • tu2thepoo
        • 14 years ago

        really depends what tasks you’re doing. for non-server scenarios firmware tweaking and cache design will usually have a larger impact on overall performance than you’d think.

        • bwoodring
        • 14 years ago

        Not really. Do some reading at StorageReview.com and catch up. It turns out, for example, that many modern 7200RPM SATA drives are faster for desktop work than older SCSI 10k drives. Additionally, the new Raptor is faster than most 15k drives for desktop work. Drive firmware and aerial density have become about as important to performance as spindle speed.

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