WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo review: WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo

Other than RAID 0, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo also supports RAID 1 and JBOD. You don't want to use it in anything but RAID 0, however.

Like most other Thunderbolt drives, there's not much to setting up the My Book VelociRaptor Duo. Out of the box, the drive is configured in RAID 0 and preformatted using HFS+; it works immediately once plugged to a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac running OS X 10.6.8 or later. I tried the drive with a Thunderbolt-enabled Windows computer and, once reformatted into NTFS, the drive also worked immediately.

The drive comes with WD Drive Utilities, which helps monitor the status of the drive and change the internal hard drive's configurations. The options are RAID 0 (default), RAID 1, and two separate volumes. RAID 0 (strip) offers top capacity and performance, but if one of the hard drives crashes, you'll lose data on both. RAID 1 (mirror) is the opposite; you get just half of the total storage and slower performance, but your data safety is doubled.

Performance
I tested the My Book VelociRaptor Duo only in RAID 0 and in two sets of tests. In the first set, it was stacked up against other Thunderbolt drives as well as internal drives, including solid-state drives (SSDs). In the second, it was tested the way any other non-Thunderbolt external storage devices are tested: against the test machine's internal drive.

Note that the Thunderbolt standard currently has a ceiling speed of 10Gbps, whereas the fastest internal drive caps at just 6Gbps of the SATA 3 standard. I used a 2011 MacBook Pro running OS X Lion, on a SATA 3 (6Gbps) SSD, as the test machine.

In the first set of testing, when moving data from a daisy-chained Pegasus R6, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo showed its top performance and scored 363MBps, being the second fastest, just after the R6 itself. Note that the R6 is a six-bay drive with all hard drives also set up in RAID 0. By far in this test, the My Book was the fastest among all dual-bay and single-volume Thunderbolt drives I've reviewed. When moving data within itself from one folder to another, the drive registered 124MBps, again faster than any other dual-bay Thunderbolt drives. In this test, it was slower than some SSDs, however.

In the second set of testing, when moving data back and forth from the connected test machine, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo scored 192MBps and 179MBps for writing and reading, respectively. In both of these tests, it was second only to the Pegasus R6, and even then, just by a small margin.

In all, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo offers stellar performance for a dual-bay storage device and much more value than some of its peers that cost more but are slower and/or much more expensive.

Data transfer scores -- Thunderbolt vs. Internal (in megabytes per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Unit-to-unit  
Self read and write  
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
323.79 
192.53 
WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo
263 
124 
Plextor PX-256M2S
261 
162.03 
OCZ Vertex 3
260.71 
150.01 
Crucial M4
235.51 
117.99 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
233.5 
141.69 
OCZ Agility 3
207.75 
101.67 
Patriot Wildfire
202 
99.72 
WD VelociRapter 600GB
126.33 
58.05 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
121.96 
71.84 
Seagate Barracuda XT
115.71 
51.1 
WD VelociRaptor 300GB
112.59 
47.12 

Data transfer scores -- Thunderbolt vs. External (in megabytes per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5)
177.53 
210.5 
WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo
178.73 
192.34 
LaCie Little Big Disk SSD
186.8 
184.71 
Promise Pegasus R4 (RAID 5)
171.1 
150.47 
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD
168.97 
120.61 

Conclusion
With an included Thunderbolt cable, stellar performance, and reasonable pricing, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo is an excellent investment for those who need a superfast storage device for their professional digital-content editing needs.

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About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.