Western Digital Raptor review

£97
Price when reviewed

If you’re into your desktop storage, you’ll already know plenty about the Raptor. The WD740GD on test here is the latest model, sporting a 74GB capacity – double the old model’s thanks to a second platter – and the near-infamous 10,000rpm spindle speed.

Western Digital Raptor review

Upping the rotational speed reduces the average latency to 2.99ms, and we measured the Raptor’s seek time at just 4.71ms. Add the two together and you’ve got the quickest average access time around, for a Serial ATA disk at least. The Raptor makes do with an 8MB buffer, and our benchmark results show that it doesn’t need any more.

The average STR just broke 65MB/sec, making it over 7MB/sec faster than anything else on test. Outer zones almost breached 72MB/sec and inner zones remained higher than other disks’ average speed at 53.8MB/sec. Needless to say, when reading and writing large files, the Raptor led the field by a distance. Small files took their toll, though – the DiamondMax 10 was just ahead for reading, while for writing the WD740GD managed only a 0.1MB/sec lead.

In Photoshop, the Raptor was actually beaten by the Seagate 7200.8, but only by half a second. Oddly, boot time was average at 29.6 seconds.

Shifting performance aside, the Raptor has two main problems. One is noise. Unless you like to hear your disk seeking, a WD740GD won’t suit you; it registered 33.2dBA in our quiet room. The second barrier to an award is the price – it costs £1 more per GB than the DiamondMax 10. However, if you need speed and the five-year warranty, and can live with the capacity and price, the Raptor is a great choice.

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