back to article Western Digital uncages ferocious VelociRaptor data hunting drive

Western Digital is today launching the first model of a new line of ultra-swift hard drives, which the company says is the fastest SATA HDD available. The new VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS hard drive can store 300GB of data. Certainly not huge, but twice the space of the Raptor X model it will eventually replace. Obviously Western …


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  1. TimBiller


    Um, perhaps it's just me, but that Velociraptor has more than a hint of "The Graham Nortons" about it ...

    <goes to get coat>


  2. Anonymous Coward


    I prefer picture of the bird from eee articles.

  3. Nathan Billett
    Dead Vulture

    So Jurasic park was lying!?!

    Hold on... by your representative comparison of the size of said velociraptors... the rather sharper variety were only 2' tall!?!

    I call shenanigans on your photoshop ability... or that of Stephen Speilbergs... won't someone please think of the children and give us an active representation with comparisons to mobil figures and brontosaruseseseses.

    Vulture with no eye... cause he can't spatialy comprehend either

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Velociraptor Anachronosaurus?

    So, did they all have punk-style dayglo Mohys, then? It appears to be giving us the finger, anyway. An example of flipping the proto-bird?

  5. Dazed and Confused
    Paris Hilton

    Since when does that count as fast?

    10K rpm


    Some of my 10year old SCSI drives would eat that for breakfast.

    Get real

    a drive that is struggling to make 135tps is not fast.

    Paris, coz I hear even she can write faster than that.

  6. vincent himpe

    roughly to scale

    So the animal velociraptor was nothing but a large chicken ? Thats good to know. It falls in the category of things that qo 'squeek' when you step on them...

    Mine's the one with the Sata-II cable hanging out

  7. Brian


    Oops, I wish I'd seen that comparison before! I think I may have ordered the wrong thing! Quick, to the supply closet, that lies through the dark forrest... I'm sure I can reset the power then hide in the kitchen!

    Mine's the one with the dust on it

  8. Austin Modine (Written by Reg staff)

    Dinosaur pendantry

    The velociraptors in Jurassic Park are inaccurately depicted as about the size of their close cousin, Deinonychus.

    To be fair to Spielberg, the name velociraptor is way more menacing. Deinonychus sounds more like an intestinal disease.

  9. Webster Phreaky

    Worstern Digital has WORST reliability reputation of the top 4

    Ask any IT pro or major league gamer and they'll tell you that Worstern Digital has the WORST reputation for reliability and customer support of any of the big four HDD makers. At our school district 24,000 system network, we stopped buying their junk a few years ago because of much higher than acceptable premature drive failures; many under 16 months! A lot of civilian consumers and teachers I know have also told me (often calling for help) that their external and internal WD (Won't Drive) hard drive just suddenly croaked even though it wasn't very old, less that two years in use.

    Trying to make Worsten Digital make good on their warranty replacements is a real chore as well. I've never had a probelm getting Maxtor or Seagate to replace a downed HDD even if it died just shortly after the warranty period.

    Beware of Worsten Digital!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Wha? Really? I've got 2000+ WD drives at various installations all over the country, purchased because they were the most reliable ones available.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @Worstern Digital has WORST reliability reputation

    Either you are from another dimension or we have a serious case of YMMV.

    Oh wait, it's Webster.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @Dinosaur pedantry

    To be even fairer, Deinonychus was regarded at the time (mistakenly) by many palaeontologists as a species of Velociraptor and was thus used as the basis for the creatures in the book and film; by the time the experts decided otherwise, the book was written and the film was in production, although the book, somewhat confusedly, refers to a different species anyway (V.mongoliensis).

    Still, it's just a work of fiction.

  13. Steve Foster

    "Icepack mounting frame"?

    WTF? Is that a tacit admission that they can't design the things within acceptable limits without a honking great big heat sink?

    And if this is a 2.5" drive with a steel overcoat, can I run it without the overcoat (in a refrigerated room)?

    Hmmm, I wonder if that house fire XBox had really been modded with an early model Velociraptor...

    (flame icon for obvious reasons)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @(previous) Anonymous Coward

    Heh, sounds like you're going to be in a world of hurt then... might be time to dust of the CV... ;->

  15. ben edwards

    Raptor? Really?

    Western Digital's Velociraptor vs Seagates Raptor. Hm. I see infringement here.

  16. Mike C
    Paris Hilton

    Worstern Digital has WORST reliability reputation of the top 4

    "Worstern Digital has WORST reliability reputation of the top 4..."

    Who are you trying to kid???

    in nearly 10 years of assembling, configuring etc PC's as full time paid employment I can honestly say MAXTOR is the worst of the 4 major brands with respect to reliability and premature failures. The fact that they have been taken over by Seagate in recent years has not done them any good, in fact the opposite is true in that it seems that some of Seagates' lower spec/ size drives are now no more than rebadged Maxtor bits of rubbish.

    Just my 2 cents

    Paris, because she's just another dumb blond with nice tits.

  17. Eugene Goodrich

    Hard drive failures are not canonical

    Hard drive manufacturers do not agree with their customers in many cases about what constitutes a failure.

    Specifically, there are a number of things that customers might be willing to call a "partial failure" that the manufacturers do not count against MTBF.

    So I can't take anyone else's claims of MTBF or hard drive failure anecdotes as useful data, because I don't know what they're saying a "failure" or "still works" means.

  18. James Henstridge

    @ben edwards

    Western Digital has been making drives under the "Raptor" name for drives since 2003. I have a WD740GD Raptor in my desktop that I built back in 2004.

    I didn't know that Seagate produced disks using the "Raptor" name.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Worstern Digital has WORST reliability reputation

    You must be kidding. I had more Maxtors and Seagates die on me compared to that.\

    My only nitpick with them is their ability to disregard standards and churn out drives with non-complying instruction sets, which might or might not misbehave on the chipset your motherboard is using. I had to turn off IDE prefetch on any of my machines, one running a NForce4, the other an ancient Intel HX440, both which are using WD drives for said reason, otherwise I'd randomly meet with a "Disk error has occured, press Ctrl-Alt-Del" message at boot-up.

    Still, better than dead as soon as a power surge occurs (*cough*Seagate-Maxtor*cough*)

  20. David

    Western Digital Reliability

    Adding fuel to that fire....

    Of the major four, I've never lost a WD drive, in twelve years of building and configuring. Only recently purchased my first Seagates, so I'll see how they last, but mother of God, there's no way in hell I'm buying another Maaxtor or IBM piece again.

  21. Matt

    More info

    According to Tom's Hardware you can't remove the ice pack without voiding the warranty, but their tests seem to indicate it runs OK without it.

    With the ice pack it seems to run cooler than other disks.

    WD also say it's more reliable than the last series and according to TH it is fast, even compared to "professional" SAS drives.

    Looks to me like it could be useful in low end servers.

  22. Kanhef


    What hat did they pick 1.4m hours out of? That's a bit over 159 years. Any drive will wear out within 50 years of continuous use, probably a lot less.

  23. Anonymous Bastard

    A dirty one

    A quick and dirty survey of ebay shows the following faulty drives up for offers:

    Fujitsu - 0%

    Hitachi - 1.4%

    HP/Compaq - 0%

    IBM - 3.0%

    Maxtor - 0.5%

    Quantum - 3.8%

    Samsung - 0%

    Seagate - 0.6%

    Toshiba - 3.4%

    WD - 0.4%

    This creates three very curious questions. Why have Western Digital and Maxtor got the worst reputations? Who sells faulty drives? Who buys faulty drives?

  24. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    I've done it, I've done it!

    I've figured out who Mr Webster Phreaky really is. It's now so obvious it hurts.

    Take a bow, Mr Ralph Nader

    Thank you Mr Nader for turning your activist attention on all things electronic. Apple and WD were getting away with MURDER for YEARS before you turned up.

    Praise BE!.

  25. Olof P

    @ "Icepack mounting frame"?

    No, the main purpose is to adapt it to 3.5" drive bays. They'll sell a pure 2.5" version without the adapter as well.

  26. Dam

    alienware ? SCRAM

    If it goes in an Alienware, the poor disk is being wasted.

    Overheavy, overheating computers with PISS POOR customer care.

    Wait, your computer overheated because we actually fsckd up at assembly time ?

    Alright, we'll give you one extra month warranty and pray your pieces fail in 32 days.

    Alienware eh ? NEVER AGAIN.

  27. Tony Paulazzo
    IT Angle

    Who are the best?

    I just bought a Seagate/Maxtor HDD after looking at seemingly hundreds of (on-line) arguments about which are the most reliable. I eventually went with Seagate because the warranty was a cool five years, and of the HDD's I've had they seemed to last ok - I've had a Western Digital die on me just after a year which p*ssed me off no end; if these MTBF's are to be believed then surely their warranties should reflect that.

    So, in this high tech website which drives are the most reliable? And I'd take reliabilty over the nanosecond faster drives any day.

  28. James Henstridge


    Don't worry. Seagate acquired Maxtor a few years back, so you shouldn't see any more Maxtor kit. I don't know what that means for your Seagate disk purchase though ...

  29. Edwin

    HDD reliability survey

    An informal survey of El Reg comments shows that, statistically, it doesn't matter which HDD you buy.

    An equal number of El Reg readers will shout 'I told you so'.

    Interestingly enough, the same can be said for your OS of choice, your Linux editor of choice, and your CPU of choice. What this probably means is that brand never matters - it's the specific motherboard/CPU/HDD model or OS version, although I'll wager you could get some pretty good flamewars going on those topics as well (see any article regarding Vista)...

    Mine's the kevlar one...

  30. Andrew

    All HDD makes have had lulls in quality

    My family has been building/fixing machine as full time work for many years.

    Personally Ive only had one drive fail on me, and it was a Maxtor (old ~1GB drive).

    Though I prefer WDs as they always 'feel' a little more responsive. Ive had probably a dozen of each (Maxtor/WD/Seagate) drive make, and a few of the lesser known makes too. I remember quantum bigfoot drives those were fun :-D Slow but big capacity for a low cost.

    Obviously the worst make of HDD is Fujitsu after their utter screw up a few year back which basically killed thousands of drives, due to someone further down the supply chain changing the adhesive in a control chip to something that became corrosive when heated!

  31. Rich Silver badge

    1.4 million hours?

    A MTBF of 1.4 million hours?

    Are you serious???

  32. Ronny Cook


    At around the same time Jurassic Park was released partial remains of a dinosaur were found which were much bigger than previous specimens. It was dubbed the Utahraptor.

    Obviously this couldn't have been used as a basis for the animals in the film but it was used as a partial justification afterwards as I recall. I think New Scientist had an article about it.

    If you check the Wikipedia entry the Utahraptor is, if anything, bigger than the "Velociraptors" (sic) in Jurassic Park.


  33. Anonymous Coward

    Don't follow Apple

    IBM DeathStars in G4s - lived up to the name.

    Fujitsu drives in Apple laptops - "fun" to get to to replace - despite all the practice I've had, I still can't get the cases to go back together with everything aligned.

    Latest Mac Pro - WD drives. Oh no! Have Apple got it right or have they cursed WD?

    Why yes, those are Nomex gloves in the pockets :-)

  34. Ru

    Drive failures

    I've come across two instances of multiple drive failures... one because a guy didn't ventilate his workstation well enough and zapped half a dozen drives over the course of 3 years. The other was my former employer, a school, who somehow had a whole load of deceased fujitsu 18 and 36gb 10k scsi drives. I'm inclined to blame careless handling rather than faulty manufacturing.

    Final verdict? Each manufacturer will suck more than the others. Your favourite manufacturer is blatantly the worst. Use RAID. That's what its for.

  35. Ishkandar

    I've had this HDD die on me...

    ...but it was a 20+ years old Seagate(Shugart?) 5MB one !! Yes!! 5 Megabytes !! Ah, for the days when HDDs were the size of a copper's shoebox !! And you HAD to use SASI (Shugart Associates System Interface, precursor of SCSI) to interface with the damn things !!

  36. Leo Waldock

    HDD temps and failures

    It's a common assumption that a cool hard drive is a good thing and a hot drive is a bad thing but Google Labs disagrees.

    Google uses desktop hardware to power its indexing system and has a LOT of hard drives. Analysis of over 100,000 drives shows no obvious correlation between operating conditions and failure rates. Some drives are duff from the start, some fail rapidly, most are good for two years and then they start to die at a steady rate of eight percent per annum.

    The glaring hole in the paper is that Google deliberately hides the makes of the drives in question so we're no closer to the answer about Hitacho, WD, Seagate or Samsung and their relative suckage.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that...

    The only drive to ever die on me was an 850MB Conner drive, and the customer care was spot on (return to vendor, get a replacement with the smallest drive closest to the size returned - a 1GB drive at the time).

    But I know historically Maxtor and Hitachi had some dodgy parts (remember the Fujitsu-Siemens fiasco a few years back). The drive has never died in the PC's I used that had WD drives. But I prefer Samsung lately anyway.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have to agree with everyone else that WD have a v.good reputation for reliable drives.

    An aside though: This drive has a small platter and the big heatsinky things not because it is some sort of 2.5"disk, but because it is developed from enterprise technology. It is a common misconception that drives used in the enterprise are the same, just with a faster spindle/bigger cache/SAS/SCSI interface. This is not the case, more offen than not the platters are smaller and thicker, this means that the heads can move faster from one end of the surface to the other and also that the surface is less prone to heat/rotationally caused distortion. There is a current trend in enterprise disks to go towards larger platters, for larger capacity though.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So you can get one for $300?

    Unless you're a Brit in which case it'll be the equivalent of $425 + VAT.


  40. Gerry Keen

    How quickly we forget ...

    or is it because most readers here were still in Nic Nacs at the time.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    less than serious...

    I am sure this is somehow relevant

  42. Anonymous Coward


    As someone else mentioned, every maker made a dud or two, just like every car maker. At work, I see Toshiba and IBM laptop drives fail more than others. (But we have mostly IBM drives) Only drive I've had personally fail on a desktop was a WD drive about 8 years ago. (and it was a 2.5GB) My old job, we had ancient Maxtor drives in the restaurant Point-of-sale systems that I maintained. Most of those things are still going after 10 years, despite rotten operating conditions. (glad I don't support them anymore) And for Quantum to take a hit isn't really fair, as any drive from them is old, and the company was bought out a long time ago. I would have to say that when a Toshiba drive fails at work, I usually can't recover a single byte from it. An IBM, it's hit-or-miss, and a Seagate, usually I can coax it into giving up most of its data before it totally bites the dust. Personally, I've had best luck with Samsung drives. Never had one fail in a personal system.

    Anyway, there's my unsolicited 2 cents...

  43. Alan Edwards

    Apple drives

    Just to defend Apple and IBM, my G4 is still going strong on it's - as far as I know - original IBM DeathStar 120Gb. Sounds like the frigging thing is gas turbine powered (known issue, PSU fans apparently), but it's still going.

    My Windows PC has four assorted drives that are all still happy, the oldest is about 3 years old. The way I see it, if a drive dies after a year or two, the replacement will be three times the size and half the cost.

    The Maxtor 120Gb in the Sky Plus box is about three years old and still going. Funnily enough that drive was a warranty replacement - I got lucky, an external enclosure killed that one. I can't remember a drive dying on me without help.


  44. jai

    jurassic park

    techincally, it's Michael Cricton you should be leveling the accusations of poor paeliantology at, not Speilburg

    it was, afterall, his book that the film was based on, and so his decision to use the velociraptor name for the medium sized killers

    like most Chricton books I've read - quite a good idea, but it seems his research is never thorough enough or he just take great liberties figuring the average reader is never going to know the difference

    it was the same with that one about the swarm of nanomachines that turned everyone into grey soup

  45. David Cornes

    Ignoring the "my drive's better than your's" pissing contest for a minute

    I'm curious as to how these things actually work. There are two drives in there right? Do they run synchronised, so twice the heads and platters for a given seek etc, or are they configured in some kind of RAID0 setup? If so isn't this doubling the chance of failure?

  46. ben edwards

    @James Henstridge

    Jeez, what was I thinking of?

    A quick googling suggests I'm not the only one to get a brand mixup on the raptors. Wonder if its subliminal or what.

    Seagate Raptor just rolls off the tongue...Western Digital Raptor is kind of clunky...

  47. Steve

    Re:1.4 million hours?

    1.4 million hours isn't way out by any means. It means that if you have 10,000 of them (not unreasonable in a datacentre full of JBOD units) you'll have one fail per week on average.

  48. Simon Round
    Paris Hilton

    @David Cornes

    The article states:-

    "VelociRaptor is actually two 2.5-inch 150GB platters housed in a 3.5-inch "IcePack" mounting frame. "

    It's 2 platters not 2 drives. 1 platter on top of the other with read.write heads for each surface.

    - Paris cos I can.

  49. James O'Brien

    Where to start

    First of all I have had drives from all the big manufactures at some point or another. Thing here is I have had a Seagate fail and when it came to warranty support I gave up trying and went out and just bought a new drive since it was less hassle.

    On the other hand I have a Maxtor external drive that I have had running non-stop for the better part of the last 2 years, I have forgotten it was plugged into my laptop on about 5 occassions pulling the drive (still on and running mind you which is about the worst you can do) and pulled the drive about 3.5 feet off a desk to the floor HARD. Still going strong and no read errors what so ever with it.

    Now in defense of WD drives My current gaming rig at home has 4 150GB Raptors in a RAID0+1 with another 2 WD 500GB Caviars in a RAID 1. I have had one drive fail on me of the Raptors and that was my own fault. When I was installing a new video card I smacked the SATA connector with the card and snapped it off. Just for kicks I called the warranty line for WD told them EXACTLY what I did, to find out how much to replace the controller board (mainly because the 4 Raptors I have are sequential serial numbers from 46-50 kinda fun to say they are all from the same batch too bad thats not the case anymore) but they shipped me a brand new drive even AFTER I told them hey its my fault. Personally that was REALLY cool to hear as I was right about to order a new drive to replace that one.

    @Webster Freaky

    Dude you need to take some more Prozac or something. Ill agree the Apple bashing is nice but now WD and what is next? Babies? I would like to know where you got your numbers about WD being the "Worst" out there though I guess voices can be fun sometimes.

    If you all want to see a HDD die check this forum post out. Rather disturbing if you ask me.

  50. Daniel B.
    Dead Vulture

    @Dinosaur pendantry

    Um... it was Michael Crichton who named 'em "Velociraptors" to start with. Speilberg may have eviscerated the books, but at least the name wasn't one of them. The one in this pic looks like a punk hooligan, though ;)

    One of the major kicks in the books is that in Jurassic Park, the T-Rex can't see its target if it doesn't move, and this actually plays into the plot. Meanwhile, in The Lost World (JP2 book) the T-Rex can perfectly see non-moving targets, and it is even mentioned that the theory was flawed despite this causing a continuity error in the first place!!! Of course, this gem didn't make it into the JP2 movie ... but then, the movie wasn't that faithful to begin with (dino hunters?? T-Rex in San Diego?)

    The dead vulture 'coz it got caught by a Raptor.

  51. Tim Brown


    J Park was made before the "dinosaurs had feathers" idea became popular. Also, someone told the production team that Velociraptors were six feet in size. What the advisor meant by this was that Velociraptors are six feet long, from nose tip to end of tail.

    The movie people decided it meant that the 'raptor was six feet tall at the shoulder, and then came up with the design based on the meanest looking beastie they could find.

    That's what I heard anyways.

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