Western Digital is not giving up on mechanical hard disk drives despite the increasing number of solid state drives currently on the market and has announced two Velociraptor drives with 150GB, 300GB, 450GB and 600GB capacities.
The VR200M is aimed at the enterprise segment and surprisingly comes as a 2.5-inch model encased in a 3.5-inch format mounting frame - called IcePack - which helps it maintain compatibility with the form factor while helping keeping it cool.
Not surprisingly, the new Velociraptors still spin at 10,000 RPM and have 32MB cache (which is half what some 2TB hard disk drives deliver). You won't be able to use them in a normal laptop though partly because they use a SATA 6Gbps interface.
Western Digital also lists a MTBF of 1.4 million hours as well as a five year limited warranty which, WD claims, make them the most reliable SATA hard drives around.
Early tests show that they are the best mechanical hard disk drives currently on the market easily besting the rest of the competition although this comes at a hefty price. The 450GB model carries a SRP of $299 while the 600GB model costs only $30 extra.
Oddly enough, the Velociraptor, despite its "Enterprise" label doesn't come with a SAS interface whereas its most direct competitor, the Seagate Savvio comes with one (as well as a 2.5-inch format and a 10KRPM spin speed) although it costs significantly more (cheapest we found was £440).
The new Velociraptors will be best used in a limited number of configurations (entry level servers, high performance portable computers etc). For the rest of us, a pair of RAIDed 2TB hard disk drive will cost less and provide more oomph. Or you could even pair two cheap Intel X25 SSDs for an even faster experience.