At 10,000rpm, the Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX drive certainly spins faster than the competition. But does faster rotations-per-minute translate into faster performance? Lab tests show this drive may not have as much advantage as it once did.

Compared with standard desktop drives that spin at up to 7200rpm, the VelociRaptor had a distinct edge. But the performance gap narrowed considerably when the latest, pricey VelociRaptor, one of the very few hard drives today with a 600Gbps SATA connection, went up against another SATA600 drive, from Seagate.

Like its predecessor, the 600GB VelociRaptor is actually a 2.5-inch hard drive, mounted into WD's "IcePack" 3.5-inch drive sled that doubles as a heat sink. The drive installs seamlessly into a standard 3.5-inch drive bay. Its fast 10,000rpm spec classifies it as the performance-minded drive to beat, and its 600GB capacity, though paltry compared with a standard drive's 2TB, represents an impressive doubling over the previous capacity.

Tested over a SATA600 connection, the drive continues to have a dramatic performance edge over SATA300 drives. There, we saw performance improvements of 8 to 17 seconds faster, or  to  percent, as compared with the 2TB WD Caviar Green WD20EADS. However, when compared with the Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB, the VelociRaptor finished in a statistical heat on our file and folder read and write tests.


One distinction is that the VelociRaptor is aimed at high end servers (it's rated for 1.4 million hours mean time between failure) as well as high end PCs, including gaming-centric models, where every bit of extra performance boost may be appreciated by intense gamers. And for that slight boost and greater endurance rating, the VelociRaptor may yet hold appeal. But if you're buying this to max out your SATA-600 rig, the Seagate may represent a better overall value for your needs: You get more gigs for your dollar, and comparable performance, too.