Review: Western Digital VelociRaptor Duo
- — 24 October, 2012 22:00
|Name||External hard drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor Duo|
|At a glance:||Lightning quick transfer speeds,Can get noisy in quiet rooms,Too expensive for this reviewer’s salary|
|Summary:||Quick transfer speeds and plenty of storage makes this drive a must-have backup tool for the Mac users that can afford it.|
When Apple first announced Thunderbolt would be standard on its computers from 2010 onwards, I was optimistic about the devices that would take advantage of its lightning quick claims.
Thunderbolt has throughput of 10Gbit/s on two separate streams, which is up to 20 times faster than standard USB 2.0 peripherals.
Yet since that time, there have been very few third-party devices with Thunderbolt capability. Western Digital is one of the brands coming to the rescue of Mac users with its Thunderbolt-capable hard drives, including its latest: the MyBook VelociRaptor Duo.
The VelociRaptor Duo is essentially two 1TB VelociRaptor drives inside of a sleek black body with two Thunderbolt ports, and an input for the included power adapter.
The two Thunderbolt ports lets you connect multiple Thunderbolt hard drives in series, and because the Thunderbolt technology is backward-compatible with DisplayPort, you can connect a monitor (or indeed a series of monitors) using a DisplayPort adapter.
Like other rotating-disk hard drives, the VelociRaptor creates heat and noise as it spins at its 10,000 RPM maximum. The heat produced is well controlled by the onboard fans, but the noise from the disk movement and fans is very audible in a quiet room.
All together the VelociRaptor Duo weighs around 2kg, so if you’re looking for a portable Thunderbolt drive you’re out of luck in this instance.
Out of the box, the device comes formatted with HFS: Mac OS X’s journaled file system. The drives are preconfigured to RAID 0 which gives the best speed performance, but using a pre-loaded software tool you can configure it to RAID 1 for data redundancy instead.
If you want to use the two 1 TB drives individually, the same tool can configure the VelociRaptor to just a bunch of disks (JBOD) mode, and is also capable of acting as a boot disk.
Tested in the RAID 0 configuration, the drive gets great speed performance when compared with USB 2.0 alternatives.
Transferring a 1.2 GB movie file takes around 21 seconds, compared to 40 seconds over USB 2.0. Transferring 800 MB of camera RAW files (50 in total) took only 14 seconds, significantly quicker than the one-minute or more I was averaging on the USB 2.0 drive.
A 110 GB Time Machine backup of my MacBook Pro took almost one hour, which was 40 minutes faster than on my USB 2.0 hard drive. After the initial backup I found the daily TimeMachine backups to be quick and painless when running in the background.
WD says the VelociRaptor can max at transfer speeds of 400 Mbps. In tests I was getting around 350 to 380 Mbps read and write speeds, which is still an incredible improvement from most USB alternatives.
At $1499, the VelociRaptor Duo is out of reach for most consumers looking for a speedy backup solution for their Macs. I see the VelociRaptor Duo as more suited to professional photographers or videographers who want to speed up their workflows, and can justify the cost as a business expense.