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Western Digital Raptor WD740GD Hard Drive Review (Page 1)

Today we are playing host to Western Digital's Raptor WD740GD 74.8GB Hard Drive which includes an impressive list of features such as 10,000 RPM, SATA connectivity and Command Tag Queuing and it is the fastest consumer level Hard Drive we've tested. We compare it against two Seagate 7,200 RPM PATA and SATA drives.
By Steve Dougherty | Mar 8, 2004 11:00 pm CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Western Digital


Western Digital have been firmly established within the hard drive sector of the market for quite a long time now, beginning with their "Centaur" series of ATA and XT attachment drives back in 1988 if memory serves correctly. Only a few years later (1991 I believe) they hit a milestone with the release of their highly successful "Caviar" series of hard drives which used the latest in embedded servo and computerized diagnostic systems. Along with earning an excellent reputation for their corporate structure over the following years, they have (more so recently) started to focus on implementing future integrated technologies in order to keep a firm grasp on a unique segment of the hard drive industry.

A perfect example of their now continuous efforts to stay ahead of competing manufacturers was to boldly go where no other company has with the release of their "Raptor" 10,000 RPM SATA series some nine months ago. SATA was still in the midst of maturing in the mainstream market at that stage but WD knew it wouldn't be long before more people began to take advantage of the several benefits the interface has to offer. Initially aimed at low-end servers and workstations, the hot swappable capabilities of the SATA interface was an indefinite necessity so this allowed them to enforce their decision.

Although the first Raptor was an outstanding product in the way of its 10,000 RPM goodness, it lacked a couple of things that would have helped with its success. Due to its somewhat limited storage capacity (36GB), many couldn't warrant the price tag in conjunction with this, 10,000 RPM or not. Second of all, a feature many of you are probably not yet fully aware of is "Command Tag Queuing", something the first Raptor lacked. "What the hell is that?" I hear many of you say. Without getting too technical, it optimizes the sequence of which data transfers take place from the host controller to the hard drive which effectively increases overall efficiency. This in turn provides higher performance and throughput, also minimizing rotational and drive seek latency by allowing simultaneous data transfer between commands.

With these issues rectified along with several other additional enhancements, Western Digital knew they'd be clearly enforcing the crown within their own unique category of performance hard disk drives, there was never any doubt the demand was there.

In saying all of this, it's time for me to spit it out, the WD740GD. Bigger, faster, better - it's everything the first Raptor wasn't. This is the puppy we have on the test bed for your reading pleasure today. Let's see how it fairs as a successor to its sibling, starting with the specifications.

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