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Western Digital refreshes VelociRaptor hard drive line, but can it compete against SSDs?

WD has finally refreshed the VelociRaptor to compete with the SSD threat, bumping its maximum storage size to 1TB and improving its performance. But should you buy it or a solid-state drive?
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Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

Western Digital positioned the VelociRaptor as the ultimate hard drive for performance-oriented desktop builders, with the drives spinning at 10,000rpm. But the company hadn't updated the line in a couple of years, during which time solid-state drives have flooded the market with their speed and ever-growing capacities.

WD has finally refreshed the VelociRaptor to compete with the SSD threat, bumping its maximum storage size to 1TB and tweaking its performance. In particular, it's doubled its cache from 32MB to 64MB and improved its platter density. The result, according to testing by Anandtech, is a drive that is far faster than other desktop hard drives.

However, it still can't compare to even an entry-level SSD in terms of random write operations, though it's much more competitive when it comes to sequential read/write speed. Of course, mechanical drives also remain more reliable in general than SSDs, while solid-state drives consume less power.

The new VelociRaptor costs $319.99 for the 1TB version, with the 500GB version running $209.99 and the 250GB version priced at $159.99. That's still less per-gigabyte than the price of an SSD, but Anandtech still doesn't recommend the VelociRaptor as your primary drive because of the performance advantage and increased affordability of SSDs, especially if you're looking for lower capacities.

Even with the performance updates, does the VelociRaptor stand a chance against today's SSDs? Will you buy one for your next build? Let us know in the Comments section.

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