The majority of gamers and enthusiast users are told that in order to get a faster system they need to upgrade to SSDs. In our past reviews, we have found that SSDs have, in general, been faster than conventional HDDs. This was especially noticeable in the latency and overall boot times as well as game load times. Now that SSDs have saturated the marketplace, consumers are more educated to the benefits and pitfalls of running SSDs or SSDs in a RAID array. One of these is that at this current moment, you cannot have TRIM enabled with an SSD RAID array running. TRIM simply will not function and the SSD RAID array will begin to lose performance over time unless it has BGC built into the firmware. This still does not improve the overall life of the SSD but it recovers most of the original performance.
Getting back to HDDs we notice that one company in particular has launched their own series of high-performance drives. This company is Western Digital. While many may criticize them for releasing an HDD in an SSD dominated performance market, there are some benefits to releasing a newer and faster HDD. Today we will evaluate whether or not the Western Digital 600GB VelociRaptor is really worth buying and in what instances it should be good to use.
First, there’s a little back story… the Raptor series of HDDs have been commonly associated with high performance and gaming. Ever since the 74GB 10,000 RPM drives came out, people had been equating WD’s Raptor line of HDDs as the fastest HDDs on the planet bar-none. As such, WD built on this success and eventually made 150GB, 300GB and now 600GB drives. The great thing about the VelociRaptor line is that these drives are not only faster than the older ones with a larger capacity, but they are also physically smaller. This clearly illustrates WD’s drive to innovate and make their products better in every way possible. The VelociRaptor 600GB could in theory be installed into a laptop but WD strongly cautions against doing so, as these drives generate enough heat to require an ‘IcePack’ cooling module that these smaller drives are installed onto in order to fit the 3.5” form factor for most HDDs. They also draw too much power for most laptops to sufficiently be able to power them up and the drive is designed to recognize that.
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