I hate to say it but the VelociRaptor VR200M is facing heavy competition from both sides of the isle. On one side we find solid state drives with the Indilinx Barefoot controller becoming available at the same 330 USD price point, but with only 128GB of capacity. On the flip side, products like the Seagate Barracuda XT and even Western Digital's own 2TB Caviar Black are able to move data just as fast as the VR200M. Granted, when it comes to access times the 7,200 RPM platter drives can't give the same access times as the 10K VelociRaptor VR200M, but then again, the VR200M is not able to compete with the access times offered by SSDs.
I wish I could find a way to keep the series in a brighter light since it has significant historical value; every Raptor and VelociRaptor change the playing field, but in 2010 the proven recipe, the magic, it has been diluted just enough to come and go with little relevance to the target audience, power users and enthusiasts.
Aside from the lack of a big bang, there are some cases where the VR200M can really shine. Users looking to add high speed storage to their system to make up for lower capacity SSDs is a good example. There are many people that have purchased 32 and 40GB SSDs for their operating system but need an additional drive to install all of their programs on. Power users have been doing this for years and the practice goes all the way back to high speed 10K SCSI drives. These users install their OS to the C: Drive and then install programs to the D: Drive. The Western Digital VelociRaptor SATA 6G 600GB drive would make a damn fine D: Drive.
More traditional users looking to only use a single drive in their system would be hard pressed to find a better bang for the buck, best of both worlds in speed, capacity and overall cost per gigabyte. Who would have ever thought that would be a statement made about the VelociRaptor? That statement really goes to back up my thoughts at the beginning of the conclusion to this article. Maybe I just expected more, a Raptor that really took a bite out of all other platter based drives and not a Raptor that just eats its own.
At 330 USD the 600GB VelociRaptor is at the upper end of the mainstream platter based drives. 2TB drives that are priced around the same offer real world transfer speeds equal or greater than the VR200M, but also offer three times the capacity. These drives don't offer the same user experience found in 10K RPM drives from the reduced access times, but you have to weigh where your priorities rest.