Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB Single and RAID 0 - Reviewed

Written by Joe Baker on . Posted in PC Hardware

WD VelociRaptor 300GB

The VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB has higher performance than that of the previous generation, WD3000GLFS 300GB and the designers have also changed the fining arrangement to horizontal rather than vertical as shown in the GLFS model.

Following the successful tried and proven build lines of previous WD Raptors with the 3 GB/s interface, we found that with the 16 MB cache the 3.5-inch SATA Hard Drive Raptors can deliver staggering performance.  They are approximately 35% faster than the older models but with a commensurate percentage drop in power requirements.

I guess the name “Raptors” came from the prehistoric carnivore that could out run anything on the planet and just hunt the prey down.  Well these hard drives are fast, spinning at 10,000 rpm, so it’s little wonder that they benchmark so well.  It’s obvious that the VelociRaptor has retained a lot of the performance based on its 10,000 rpm spindle speed.

This is one of those unfair reviews where you’ve had the older model, same brand, for three years and it’s been working perfectly and it is still providing faultless performance.  But hey, we’ve heard the new one is faster.  So let’s take off the “rose coloured glasses” and have a closer look at these babies.  I’m going to say this straight up and get it over with, I bought the four original raptors from www.Acheiva.com.au.  They were great to deal with three years ago and have continued to remain a well priced, top notch easy to reach customer focused organization.  If you think I always say these positive things, I don’t (read the Innovate SSI-4 review), it’s just that it’s nice to deal with people who care AFTER you’ve paid for the product.

Anyway I digress, so back to the task in hand!

Let’s start off with an summary of the specifications in a table - and for those that want the more detailed specs, read on below!

Model Features

WD VelociRaptor


Capacity 300 GB
Buffer Size 16MB
Interface SATA 3 GB/d
Read - Seek Time 4.2 ms
Write - Seek Time 4.7 ms
Read IOPS QS=1 134
Sustained Data Rate 120 MB/s
Operating Temperature Ambient 5° - 55°C ambient
Temperature Change Rate (Op/ Non-Op) 20° - 30°C per hour
Non Op 40° - 70°C ambient
Noise Level
Idle 29dBA
Seek 36dBA
Ramp Load/ Unload 2 (sones)

Optimised operation in any likely vibration susceptible areas is carried out with the use of the acceleration feed forward principles which makes them particularly suited for use in multi drive chassis.  The hard drive is protected from damage in transport and wear as the ramp load technology has been so designed that the recording head does not touch the disc media.

Another design feature is the “IcePAK” mounting frame which allows the 2.5 inch WD VelociRaptor to be enclosed in a backplane ready 3.5 inch mounting.  We said this Raptor breed is reliable (history has shown us that in previous models) and we expect this model will also be true to form.  Our expectation is backed by the 1.4 million hours MTBF.  Design enhancements have ensured that the WD3000HLFS 300GB packs twice the capacity of high performance storage space per disc than the older model, although they are still not compatible with notebook computers.

The manufacturers quite obviously decided to have a close look at product design and try to incorporate a competitive advantage by going to a 2.5” form factor. An advantage of this move is to reduce heat and power consumption. They did this by using an innovative chassis mounting system called “IcePAK” which allows the drive to be utilised in an increased field of applications of 3.5” and 2.5“, the only negative being that this type of mounting does not work with standard SATA backplanes.

With regards to conventional hard drives, we are of the opinion that the VelociRaptor  WD3000HLFS has excellent application and provides the quickest access times and transfer rates coupled with low temperature (approximately 5 deg C lower) and noise levels.

It is likely that the constant development in the electronics field will win in the end as Flash SSD develops to the optimum.  This however, is hampered at the present by the fact that SSD modules for the larger capacities will cost you an “arm and leg” but history has shown us that the designers are likely to get it cheaper in the end.

In the short term SSD at present is likely to be far more unreliable as designers test the boundaries for speed and capacities, so we say for any capacity over say, 128 gig, stay with the Raptors at present as there are no reliability issues whatsoever in these proven products.  Be aware though, that if you remove the hard drive from the IcePAK mounting you will void your warranty.  This is due to Western Digital feeling that installers may improvise and mount the drive incorrectly.  Take note that you must also exercise care in connection as the WD SecureConnect cables and the usually used 4-pin molex connector no longer fits these later model Raptors.

We’re sure you have seen all these Benchmarks before but for easy reference here are our findings on the new Windows 7 PC platform.

Raid O Mode






Single Hard Drive Mode






Engineered for maximum speed! WD VelociRaptor, the newest member of our unique class of 10,000 RPM SATA hard drives, combines a SATA 3 Gb/s interface and 16 MB cache to deliver performance that’s up to 35% faster than its speedy older brother.

Key Features

  • Killer speed - Built on the performance bloodlines of WD Raptor®, these 10,000 RPM drives, with SATA 3 Gb/s interface, and 16 MB cache deliver mind-bending performance. Not only are they 35% faster than the previous generation WD Raptor drives, but they also beat out all other competitors in the field.
  • Rock-solid reliability - Designed and manufactured to mission-critical enterprise-class standards to provide enterprise reliability in high duty cycle environments. With 1.4 million hours MTBF, these drives have the highest available reliability rating on a high capacity SATA drive.
  • Double the capacity - State-of-the-art technology packs twice the capacity per disk compared to its older brother WD Raptor resulting in up to 300 GB of high-performance storage space in this enterprise-class 2.5-inch drive.
  • Ultra-cool operation - WD VelociRaptor consumes 35% less power than the previous generation of WD Raptor.
  • IcePack™ mounting frame - The 2.5-inch WD VelociRaptor is enclosed in a backplane-ready 3.5-inch enterprise-class mounting frame with a built-in heat sink that keeps this powerful little drive extra cool when installed in high-performance desktop chassis.
  • Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF™) - Optimizes operation and performance when the drives are used in vibration-prone, multi-drive chassis.
  • NoTouch™ ramp load technology - The recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit.
  • Ideal For: Performance enthusiast systems, workstations, and servers

* Windows® Vista/XP/2000
* SATA interface connector on motherboard or SATA host controller*
* Available 3.5-inch internal drive bay
*Compatibility may vary depending on user's hardware configuration and operating system. 

Important interface information
This drive requires a SATA interface

Detailed Specifications
Performance Specifications

  • Rotational Speed 10,000 RPM (nominal)
  • Buffer Size 16 MB
  • Average Latency 5.50 ms (nominal)
  • Load/unload Cycles 50,000 minimum
  • Seek Times
  • Read Seek Time 4.2 ms
  • Write Seek Time 4.7 ms (average)
  • Track-To-Track Seek Time 0.7 ms (average)
  • Transfer Rates
  • Buffer To Host (Serial ATA) 3 Gb/s (Max)

 Physical Specifications

  • Formatted Capacity 300,069 MB
  • Capacity 300 GB
  • Interface SATA 3 Gb/s
  • User Sectors Per Drive 586,072,368

 Physical Dimensions

  • Height 1.028 Inches (Max)
  • Length 5.787 Inches (Max)
  • Width 4.00 Inches (+/- 0.010 inch)
  • Weight 1.08 Pounds
  • Metric
  • Height 26.1 mm (Max)
  • Length 147 mm (Max)
  • Width 101.6 mm
  • Weight 0.489 kg

Environmental Specifications

  • Shock
  • Operating Shock (Read) 65G, 2 ms
  • Non-operating Shock 300G, 2 ms


  • Idle Mode 29 dBA (average)
  • Seek Mode 0 36 dBA (average)


  • Operating 5°C (41° F) to 55°C (131° F)
  • Non-operating -40° C (-40° F) to 70° C (158° F)


  • Operating 5-95% RH non-condensing
  • Non-operating 5-95% RH non-condensing


  • Operating -350m (-1,000 feet) to 3,050m (10,000 feet)
  • Non-operating -305m(-1,000 feet) to 12,200m (40,000 feet)


  • Operating
    • Linear 20-300 Hz, 0.75G (0 to peak)
    • Random 10-300 Hz, 0.008 g² / Hz
  • Non-operating
    • Low Frequency 0.05 g²/Hz (10 to 300 Hz)
    • High Frequency 20-500 Hz, 4.0G (0 to peak)

Electrical Specifications

  • Current Requirements
    • 12 VDC
      • Read/Write 225 mA
      • Idle 200 mA
      • Standby 6 mA
      • Sleep 6 mA
    • 5 VDC
      • Read/Write 675 mA
      • Idle 425 mA
      • Standby 70 mA
      • Sleep 70 mA
  • Power Dissipation
    • Read/Write 6.08 Watts
    • Idle 4.53 Watts
    • Standby 0.42 Watts
    • Sleep 0.42 Watts


We believe the Western Digital Raptor still carries a “Must Have” tag for the high performance gaming computer.  With regards to capacities 128 GB >, we still have some concerns with reliability and cost of the SSD coming into the market place and urge gamers to be cautious  in their purchase of upgrades.

We wish to thank Mr Marcel Regtein of Z-NetWORKS for providing Technical expertise for the review and to also thank www.acheiva.com  for the supply of not one, but two of these totally “tried and proven” excellent hard drives enabling us to “raid” our new system.

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