Western Digital's VelociRaptor is the fastest consumer mechanical HDD on the market. This isn't surprising since every time WD revamps this product it easily takes this title. The problem is this giant SSD cloud over head. It rains on the enthusiasm of any mechanical drive release. In years past we could still get excited about a new Raptor. The performance is always class leading, the reliability is always better than anyone could expect and the retail price always drops rapidly under the MSRP. All of those things are or will be true again, but instead of seeing the VelociRaptor in a shiny light, the halo has faded. It's kind of like seeing a boxer who is still the best, but in his age group or something my kids will understand, seeing Hulk Hogan still in the wrestling ring at age 60. Hogan still amazes the crowd and is the best entertainer for his market, but he's lost some of his popularity to new opponents.
All is not lost and the VelociRaptor should live on. We keep hearing about Western Digital working on hybrid drives, a mix between mechanical capacity and solid state performance. WD didn't pull out the hybrid card this round, but maybe with the next release we'll see a hybrid Raptor. That doesn't mean you can't take advantage of other hybrid solutions already on the market with the VelociRaptor, though. The Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB is the ultimate HDD for use in an Intel's Smart Response Technology or NVELO's Dataplex.
At the time of writing the new 250GB VRaptor lists at Newegg for $169.99, the 500GB model for $229.99 and the 1TB model we reviewed today for $329.99. We expect the 1TB drive to reach the $299 market in the next month or two which will help, but with SSDS reaching $1 per GB, the VelociRaptor makes a much better candidate for tiered storage than it does a boot drive. Many users are starting to use tiered storage in their desktops with Windows installed on the boot drive and programs and storage residing on the D drive. Once again, the VelociRaptor is the best mechanical drive for that secondary drive, but at that point you have a smaller SSD paired with a much larger HDD. Many users will opt for pooling their money of both products and just buy a larger SSD and if they add a little more, a 512GB SSD is a real possibility.
The new Western Digital VelociRaptor is still the best in the class, but the class has lost favor with enthusiasts who make up the majority of buyers.