My 1TB VelociRaptor Review

Discussion in 'Memory and Storage' started by BFG10K, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. BFG10K

    BFG10K Lifer

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    Background

    I picked up a 1TB VelociRaptor as an upgrade for my 1TB Caviar Black, which holds my gaming library. Currently SSDs are too small and expensive to fill this role.

    What’s new from the previous generation is a doubled cache size (64MB) and increased platter density (333MB from 200MB). We also get the dual-stage actuator from the 1.5TB/2TB Black variants, and the 4K advanced format. But more importantly, we get 1TB capacity which is viable for mass storage in many situations.


    System

    i5 2500K, GTX680, 8GB DDR3-1600, Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3-B3, X-Fi XtremeMusic, Seasonic X 560W, Antec 902, 30" HP LP3065, Windows 7 SP1 (64 bit).

    The four drives tested are:
    · Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.D 1TB (HDS721010DLE630), 1 x 1TB platter @ 7200 RPM.
    · Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB (WD1002FAEX), 2 x 500GB platters @ 7200 RPM.
    · Western Digital 1TB VelociRaptor (WD1000DHTZ), 3 x 333GB platters @ 10000 RPM.
    · Intel 320 SSD 120GB (SSDSA2CW120G3).


    Synthetics

    Here are HD Tune scores for the HDDs. HD Tune isn’t accurate for reporting sequential performance on SSDs, so I’ve included Crystal scores for Intel’s drive.

    [​IMG]

    The Hitachi posts very impressive sequential performance courtesy of its single 1TB platter, but the VelociRaptor is even faster, especially on the inner sections. Online I’ve seen it crack 200MB/sec in this test. The Caviar Black is quite slow because of its low areal density.

    Even the mid-range Intel SSD does better than any of the HDDs with reading, though the VelociRaptor and Hitachi would write faster sequentially across most of their surface area.

    Looking at random access, we see the Hitachi being 50% slower than the Caviar Black, while in turn the VelociRaptor reduces the latency of the Caviar Black by almost half. Of course an SSD is light-years ahead of any mechanical drive, and HD Tune reports 0.061ms for this particular one.


    Games & Booting

    Cold boot times were measured from pressing the power button until the Windows login screen appeared. Games were measured with level and saved game loading. “RAM” is the speed of the game loaded from the disk cache, whereby the drive is removed from the equation.

    [​IMG]

    It’s no surprise to see Windows’ boot time directly correlate to random access performance, so we see the drives assume their natural pecking order. The VelociRaptor is only four seconds slower than the SSD.

    Game I/O is mostly sequential in nature, though random access often plays a part too. In either case, the VelociRaptor cleans up in HDD space because it offers the best of both worlds. It’s also very competitive with the SSD in most tests.


    Subjective Usage

    At idle the drive is only slightly noisier than the Black, so it’s quiet overall. It doesn’t have any whine or significant vibration. Under load it’s a bit noisier than the Black, but it’s much more pleasant than the heavy grinding sound that I remember second generation Raptors having.

    Overall I find the noise level acceptable for the extra performance over 7200 RPM drives it provides.

    For OS use and applications’ first launch, it doesn’t quite have the instant “snap” of the SSD, but it’s still responsive and very usable. Thumbnail generation in Explorer for lots of images seems subjectively as fast as the SSD.


    Conclusion

    This drive is absolutely perfect for my needs. It’s easily big enough to consolidate everything onto one drive (including my 395GB gaming library) while leaving plenty of room for future storage needs. It also dramatically reduces a lot of SSD advantages in areas such as booting and game load times, while costing far less per GB.
     
  2. philipma1957

    philipma1957 Golden Member

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    Okay I see the wd vr 1tb at about 285.

    I see the crucial m4 512gb ssd at 399.

    these are current usa amazon prices.


    so 28.5 cents vs 80 cents per gig.

    the gap is shrinking.

    I have to say if you have a 600gb or so amount of info the wd is an easy winner since a 1 drive setup is easy to do .
     
  3. Golgatha

    Golgatha Lifer

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    For $150 ($170-200 with current prices) I built a 1TB (2x500GB) WD RE4 RAID0 array, which completely kills this setup. For the few games I have that random IO is important (mainly Rift for me, but insert your favorite MMO here), I install those to the SSD. Also, I put a 10GB DDR3 RAM cache in front of the RAID0 array using a program called FancyCache.

    180 day free beta trial here - http://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/fancy-cache/download.html

    [​IMG]

    Still faster even without the SSD than the Velociraptor, especially if you've played the game within the last week and it's cached.
     
    #3 Golgatha, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  4. BFG10K

    BFG10K Lifer

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    You forgot to factor in the cost of the SSD.

    Also RAID-0 has twice as much chance of failure and it requires extra administration to initially setup, and to restore if it fails. And by installing games across different drives, that requires more administration too.

    And you’re using a third party program to cache things which is not only beta, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be free when it comes out of beta.

    A single drive setup is more robust and simpler, and requires the least amount of administration to function.
     
  5. superccs

    superccs Senior member

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    Nice write up, I'm sure plenty of us consider the Raptor for a sweet secondary drive, so thank you.

    So are you using your SSD with the Raptor as secondary? It was hard to determine from your summary.

    That 7200RPM Seagate has some impressive access numbers though (I had no idea there was 1TB platters out there, whoa).

    With SSD prices dropping like your IQ while watching Fox news, the raptor is really staring extinction in the eye.
     
  6. LagunaX

    LagunaX Senior member

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    Why don't u pick up an OCZ 64gb Synapse Cache SSD for under $100 without having to reinstall Windows?

    It's like Intel SRT For P67 but much faster.
     
  7. Golgatha

    Golgatha Lifer

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    Yeah, cheap HDD with caching system RAM or a small SSD are still superior solutions IMO. The ease of setup is the only benefit over either of these alternatives.
     
  8. Golgatha

    Golgatha Lifer

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    No, a small SSD + cheap 1TB HDD + 8GB of RAM is still cheaper than $250-300 you'd pay for a Velociraptor 1TB drive. Gets even cheaper still if you limit yourself to a small SSD for caching and use 1TB HDD for mass storage. Either solution performs better.

    The only drawback, as you mentioned, is complexity of setup and failure rates. IMO, if you don't have full disc backups of your OS and games installs, you're doing it wrong. Further, if you're in the market for a Velociraptor drive, you're the type of person who probably understands technology, and aren't going to be scared of a bit of system complexity entering into the equation. To each their own.
     
  9. Smoblikat

    Smoblikat Diamond Member

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    Fixed. Actually a single drive failure will result in the same data loss that a RAID0 array will, its still one place that your data is stored. And if you backed it up to another place, you couldve done the same with the striping array. As for administration, im not sure what you mean. Basically if you can install a hard drive you can setup RAID0, its not any sort of challenge or trick. Go into BIOS, switch to RAID mode and setup the array with whatever you want. Two or more drives mirrored will ALWAYS be more robust than a single drive.
     
  10. Golgatha

    Golgatha Lifer

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    Robust as in ensuring uptime right? RAID1 still doesn't protect against the things which a real backup plan does. e.g. Viruses, accidental deletions, data corruption, computer is destroyed in a house fire, etc.
     
  11. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    Thanks for the write-up!

    Newegg has the VR 1TB for $250 shipped with coupon EMCNDJA33 (exp.6/25).

    Right now I have 200GB of games installed, with a mere 5 games that I have touched in the past few months (around 48GB). Windows and the rest of the software I use (plus random data) is around 39GB. Heck, I should just uninstall the games that I know for a fact I'll probably never play again.

    I think I have owned around eight Raptor/VelociRaptor drives over the years (still have most of them). I like what they are and how they perform, but with a 256GB SSD costing less than a 1TB VelociRaptor (just ordered Crucial M4 256GB for $180 -$9 cashback) and more than being able to hold all my stuff, the VR is a tough sell for me even at $250. I am not opposed to owning one. It is merely the $/GB versus current SSD pricing along with my actual capacity needs that makes SSDs my choice.
     
  12. Golgatha

    Golgatha Lifer

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    Yeah, great writeup even if I do question the value of this product in the current marketplace. Before SSDs came down in price quite a bit, I used Velociraptor drives myself. Still have 2/3 I own in service. One is in a HTPC and the other is in a server I built. All of them are 300GB models. I keep the 3rd drive around so I can easily image an OS to it in the event any of my 4 household computers has a hard drive failure.
     
  13. DigDog

    DigDog Diamond Member

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    u guys are probably gonna laugh at me for this but my PC currently holds 200Gb of data including W7 and i'v yet to do spring cleaning.

    i'm seriously looking at moving everything on a 256Gb SSD.
     
  14. greenhawk

    greenhawk Platinum Member

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    Thanks for the review OP.

    I was looking at getting one of the 1TB v'raptors as the 600GB V'raptor I have I wanted to add to. The 600GB is enough for my games still and going forward to my next upgrade I was going to add some form of SSD caching to it. The 1Tb would have been a scratch drive/ect.

    But when the local cost is $350 AU and most shops are not stocking it for some reason (not expecting to move it?), then the crucial m4 512gb ssd for 399 came along (plus postage to AU), it made the SSD look very attractive, so the SSD won my money.

    Looking at the review, it appears my reasons to go SSD was worth it.

    note: the 512GB is my 3rd SSD, have a 80GB and a 256GB so neither of these drives I was looking at would become the OS drive.
     
  15. Skott

    Skott Diamond Member

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    Great review and write up. Gives me lots of food for thought on next build.
     
  16. BFG10K

    BFG10K Lifer

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    I don't have any SSDs anymore. The 120GB one used in the tests was okay, but I sold it to go towards a bigger one. The bigger one was absolutely not worth it; Steam and its games showed little to no improvement, which was the whole point of it. So I sold that too.

    The VelociRaptor holds everything now, including the OS. There’s ample room for future expansion too. I like having everything on one drive. Every time I go with smaller drives I start having to juggle where I put things.

    The other two HDDs are backups including the Caviar Black, which has become an offsite backup.
     
  17. BFG10K

    BFG10K Lifer

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    I evaluated all of these options but none were suitable for my purposes.

    An SSD by itself is too small for my games and requires manual administration to shuffle data around. That wastes my time.

    For automatic SSD caching setups, these are no good either. I frequently launch different games in a session and across sessions, so games would be replaced when there was no room on the SSD. I’d also wear out the SSD because of this.

    Also neither of those solutions accelerates the backing up of my entire gaming library.

    For my needs, I need fast and consistent access to any of my games at the drop of a hat, kind of like a 395GB database. No SSD based solution offers this unless I drop $800 on a 1TB Raid-0 solution.

    So for ~$280, a 1TB VelociRaptor was a much more sensible solution, especially considering how closely it performs to the SSD in those gaming tests. The built-in Windows disk cache takes care of everything else.
     
  18. exdeath

    exdeath Lifer

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    Not sure how to make out with those benchmarks.

    The cold boot time for example.

    I mean if I had a SSD equipped system that took 28 freaking seconds to boot I would promptly throw it in the trash. I pretty much expect 10 seconds and under these days. You running like 3 antivirus programs at once along with whole disk encryption?

    I don't think my Raptor array even took THAT long. The Hitachi 250GB in my laptop before I replaced it with a Chronos Deluxe 240GB didn't even take 28 seconds. It's easy to justify "as fast as the SSD" when the SSD results are horrendous. Just saying.
     
    #18 exdeath, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
  19. StinkyPinky

    StinkyPinky Diamond Member

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    What's with your crappy boot up times? It takes me probably 10 seconds to get to a usable desktop.
     
  20. BusyBeaverHP

    BusyBeaverHP Member

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    I have a pair of Velociraptor 1TB in RAID0, and it is used exclusively for storing games. The benchmark:

    [​IMG]

    Who needs SSD caching with this much brute force?

    With sequential loading speeds approaching an SSD, and the capacity of a football stadium, it's about as ideal for a Steam Folder as I can get.
     
    #20 BusyBeaverHP, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
  21. BFG10K

    BFG10K Lifer

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    Most of that happens before Windows starts loading. When Windows loads the flag doesn’t even come together before disappearing on the SSD. On the Raptor it comes together and then disappears shortly thereafter.

    I’m not going to put up such scores because they’re nonsensical. I can’t be productive while in the BIOS and I’m sure you can’t either.

    But if you really want to see boot times minus POST, they did some here:

    [​IMG]

    Oh look, the Raptor’s only 3.9 seconds slower than the Crucial and 3.2 seconds slower than the Samsung, completely in line with my 4 second result.

    Based on the SSD scores above, people claiming total cold boot times of “10 seconds” must have POST times of 1-3 seconds, and I find that extremely hard to believe.
     
  22. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    Depends. You counting from power button or from "Starting Windows?"

    The computer I'm using right now takes 9 seconds to POST, then 10 seconds to boot Windows (Intel 320 SSD, not a speed demon), thus 19 seconds from pushing the power button to seeing the icons on the desktop. Oh yeah, and Windows won't have an IP address yet, but I can launch Steam right away and sometimes it will give an error before Windows finishes grabbing an IP address. :p

    The Asus P6T X58 chipset motherboard I had in the past took like 25 seconds just to finish POST (with RAID enabled). o_O
     
  23. Golgatha

    Golgatha Lifer

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    1) I'm with you on the too small and wasting time comments.

    2) If you're launching 64-128GB worth of game files in a day...just not really possible. Also, you're not going to wear out the drive in its useful lifetime. 10 years min lifetime should be expected. Honestly, it will probably outlast your Velociraptor. As far as backups go, I suppose the backup from a Velociraptor would be faster, but it's at the cost of 24/7/365 performance. How often do you backup and why aren't you backing up automatically when you sleep (a.k.a. do you sit there and watch the backup...about as fun as watching paint dry IMO)?

    3) Depends on the game. Also, you lose the ability to multitask productively. Try burning a couple of discs, running a game, recording TV, and recoding some movies on a SSD vs HDD and let me know which system you'd rather use.

    Quite frankly, I think the 1TB Velociraptor really has no place in the current marketplace, except maybe in a SFF HTPC where you need lots of local storage for files and desire better than a regular HDD performance for other tasks.
     
  24. Golgatha

    Golgatha Lifer

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    Yeah, I have an add-in card for SATA 3 and USB 3.0 (ASUS U3S6) which has to post as well. I'm looking at about 40 seconds or so before I get to the login screen. 8 seconds of which is Windows actually loading. I also have the IP problem with Steam and I actually disabled launch on startup because of this issue. Takes less time to launch Steam manually than it does to go through the error and relogging shenanigans.
     
  25. Monster_Munch

    Monster_Munch Senior member

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