Still celebrating National IT Professionals Day with 3 months of free Premium Membership. Use Code ITDAY17


Fast desktop alternative to the WD Raptor

Posted on 2009-04-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
It's been a long time since I bought a hard drive so I've been doing a little shopping.  My primary concern is cost and performance (size really is not)  I've been looking at the ultra fast WD raptor drives but at 160 for a 150 GB drive, I can't help wondering if I can't get a larger, cheaper drive that performs nearly as well.  I was hoping I'd find an expert that had already had a similar shopping trip and could save me the time at looking at a whole bunch of reviews.
Question by:b_levitt
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions

Assisted Solution

Sniper98G earned 200 total points
ID: 24127470
If you are looking for performance in an SATA drive the western digital velociraptor 300GB drive is the current king. It trouces everthing eles on the market. The only way to get any better preformace would be to use a SCSI drive. However that peformance does come at a price. If you were looking for something that is more economical but still has really good performance; I would recomend the Seagate 7200.11 seris drives. Tom's hardware keeps charts of how most popular drives stack up against each other (,24.html) and they are usualy up near the top.
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

_ earned 600 total points
ID: 24127486
The Seagate Barracuda 500GB through 1TB and WD Caviar Black 1TB drives are pretty fast for 7200 rpm drives
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 24127501
hmmmm... should have 'refreshed' first.   ; )
Migrating Your Company's PCs

To keep pace with competitors, businesses must keep employees productive, and that means providing them with the latest technology. This document provides the tips and tricks you need to help you migrate an outdated PC fleet to new desktops, laptops, and tablets.


Expert Comment

ID: 24127777
The 10K RPM raptors are amazing, but depending on what you are using it for, are usually not necessary. They produce more heat and use more power than other 7,200 RMP drives. If preformance is truly your concern then check out the speeds you can get from the newer SSD drives. The preformance is sick on these little guys, of course so is the price. The only thing they do lack is drive space. Compared to the currintly available 1.5 TB 7200 RMP drives with 32 MB of cache, most people go with the one that takes years to fill.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 24128099
It simple depends on which performance measure is most important to you:  access time or sustained transfer rate.

For access time, nothing comes close to the Velociraptor (4.2ms) or Raptors (4.6ms).   The best 7200 rpm drives are typically in the 8.5 - 11 ms range.   Note that it can be hard to find the access times on many modern drives -- with the "green" (lower power) drives the access time is even slower (at the 11ms end of that range).   Many drive makers are focusing on the "average latency" -- which looks good (a 7200 rpm drive has 4.2ms average latency) ==> don't be fooled by that spec ... it's meaningless -- it's simply 1/2 the time of a single drive rotation (i.e. the average time the head has to wait for the right sector once it's already been moved to the correct cylinder (i.e. the seek time).

The sustained transfer rate is the speed the drive can sustain once data begins to flow.   The better 7200 rpm drives compete very well with the Velociraptor in this area, because they have higher areal densities (i.e. the data is more tightly packed -- so even though they're rotating slower, they compete very well with a Velociraptor at sustained data transfers.   The 750GB and larger drives can typically sustain ~ 110MB/s ... very close to the 120MB/s spec for the Velociraptor.

For a FAST system drive, I'd still suggest a Velociraptor if performance is an important factor => for many transfers (e.g. swap file pages) a Velociraptor will be DONE before a 7200 rpm drive would even start (since it starts ~ 5ms earlier than the 7200 rpm drive, it can transfer 5ms worth of data (~ 600kb) before the 7200 rpm drive could seek to the proper sector.   [And once it's at the right cylinder, the Velociraptor's latency time is much better as well, since the drive's rotating at 10,000rpm, the average latency is 3ms].   You'll get notably faster boot times; quicker program loads; etc. with the Velociraptor (or a Raptor).

The counterpoint is simply that once a system has booted and your programs are loaded, the performance you'll notice is generally not much different if you're typically dealing with large files (audio, video, graphics, etc.) -- since the time to transfer the file is similar, the 5-7ms advantage a Velociraptor has at STARTING the transfers is dwarfed by the total transfer time.

Personally, I have one Raptor for the system drive; and a few 1TB (and larger) drives for everything else -- and will likely do the same with my next system.   A very nice combination :-)

Bottom line:   You won't come close to getting a "... larger, cheaper drive that performs nearly as well ..." if you factor in the access time (which is very important for booting; program loading; and small file transfers).   The combined seek time/latency advantage of the Raptors (~ 6-7ms) simply gives them too much of a head start on transfers for 7200 rpm drives to be competitive.    But the overall data transfer performance of modern drives can be competitive when you're typically dealing with larger files; and if this matches your likely use of the system, you may be willing to forgo the speed advantage of the Velociraptors for the much lower cost/GB of the larger drives.   If you're decide to do that, I'd suggest you look at the 640GB and 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black drives ... they're both excellent performers and very reasonably priced.
LVL 11

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31569387
The WD black is what I'm going with and the link for tom's help me confirm.  SSDs are awesome but just too expensive right now.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 24133775
Thank you much.   : )

>> late breaking news
I just got one of my mags in, and the Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 is out now, and should be under $150.00 USD
That is a 1TB drive with only 2 platters (higher areal density) instead of 3 or 4 platters.

Featured Post

Industry Leaders: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

This is a little compilation of tips and procedures to help with data recovery from a failed / failing hard drive. The information here can be applied to Desktop/Server/Laptop and external hard drives. All of us have at one time or another been …
In this article you will get to know about pros and cons of storage drives HDD, SSD and SSHD.
This video Micro Tutorial explains how to clone a hard drive using a commercial software product for Windows systems called Casper from Future Systems Solutions (FSS). Cloning makes an exact, complete copy of one hard disk drive (HDD) onto another d…
In this video you will find out how to export Office 365 mailboxes using the built in eDiscovery tool. Bear in mind that although this method might be useful in some cases, using PST files as Office 365 backup is troublesome in a long run (more on t…

704 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question