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Western Digital Velociraptor (1TB, WD1000THZ) review: Western Digital Velociraptor (1TB, WD1000THZ)

Western Digital's Velociraptor is still the king of mechanical hard drives. But in the face of ever-dropping SSD prices, it finds itself at a time of decreasing relevancy.

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Craig Simms
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Craig Simms

Special to CNET News

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

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4 min read

Once upon a time, the Western Digital Raptors, with their 10,000rpm spindle speeds, ruled as speed king of the hard-drive landscape. These days, SSDs destroy them without blinking.

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8.0

Western Digital Velociraptor (1TB, WD1000THZ)

The Good

High performance. 3.5- and 2.5-inch form factors (although far too tall for a laptop drive). 5-year warranty.

The Bad

Noisy. Losing relevance in the face of SSDs.

The Bottom Line

Western Digital's Velociraptor is still the king of mechanical hard drives. But in the face of ever-dropping SSD prices, it finds itself at a time of decreasing relevancy.

The positioning of the Velociraptor, the heir to the Raptor throne, is tricky these days. Speed freaks have mostly taken to pairing a modestly capacious SSD with a large mechanical data drive, and the Velociraptor fulfills neither of these tasks.

It is of course cheaper per GB — at the time of writing, an Intel 520 240GB SSD can be had for around AU$269 (AU$1.12 per GB), whereas a 1TB Velociraptor goes for around AU$309 (AU$0.31 per GB) and a 500GB version goes for AU$195 (AU$0.39 per GB). So perhaps it's position is one of a compromise drive for those who still can't justify an SSD, but still need a bit more space.

It's still delivered in 2.5-inch form factor, arriving in a 3.5-inch "sled" that's used as part heatsink, part noise reducer. Which is handy, as this thing makes quite the racket when operating full pelt, moving from somewhere between white noise and outright grinding. At idle, you can hear it occasionally ticking from about a metre away.

It is still, without doubt, the king of the mechanical drives:

Sequential read speeds (in MBps)

  • 197.6
    Western Digital Velociraptor (1.0TB, WD1000THZ)
  • 161.8
    Western Digital Red (1.0TB WD10EFRX)
  • 160.4
    Western Digital Red (2.0TB WD20EFRX)
  • 157.4
    Western Digital Red (3.0TB WD30EFRX)
  • 117.30
    Western Digital Blue (2.5-inch, 500GB, WD5000LPVT)
  • 70.54
    Western Digital Green (1.0TB, WD10EADS)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


It even showed a respectable burst read speed of 370MBps. It's just that things get rather hurriedly jolted into perspective when you throw an SSD into the mix:

Sequential read speeds (in MBps)

  • 476.6
    Intel 520 SSD (256GB)
  • 197.6
    Western Digital Velociraptor (1.0TB, WD1000THZ)
  • 161.8
    Western Digital Red (1.0TB WD10EFRX)
  • 160.4
    Western Digital Red (2.0TB WD20EFRX)
  • 157.4
    Western Digital Red (3.0TB WD30EFRX)
  • 117.30
    Western Digital Blue (2.5-inch, 500GB, WD5000LPVT)
  • 70.54
    Western Digital Green (1.0TB, WD10EADS)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Things get rather embarrassing when you put an SSD up against a traditional hard drive, especially in the 4K stakes, where we've had to artificially elongate the hard-drive bars purely so we can fit the number in.

Western Digital's Velociraptor is still the king of mechanical hard drives. But in the face of ever-dropping SSD prices, it finds itself at a time of decreasing relevancy.

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