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HD Tune

Next up we take a look at raw speed and performance using the HDTune testing tool. Unlike PCMark Vantage, HDTune is a purely sythetic test. It tests the raw speed of the drive, without any consideration for data or applications.

The results start to get a little more muddy here. The VelociRaptor is definitely faster than the 640GB SE16, but by how much depends on what you need. When it comes to burst speeds, the VelociRaptor is 19% faster than our base drive. Average speed on the other hand offers little variation, with the VelociRaptor only posting a 4% advantage over the base drive.

Write testing didn’t faire much better. The results themselves were almost a 1:1 ratio with the read tests, and they replicated the general outcome nearly as perfectly. In write testing, the VelociRaptor was 22% faster than the 640GB SE16 drive for burst rates, and 3 % faster for average transfer rate. So how do we interpret these results? Well it’s easy to say that the Raptor is fast at burst and random access, and application performance is nothing to sneeze at. This drive is definitely much more suited to single user environments, where small amounts of data are accessed in spurts.

This interpretation is further reinforced by the difference is Access Times (aka seek times) between the two drives. The 640GB SE16 nearly doubles the VelociRaptor in seek times, which would lead to those higher burst rates. This means the drive has the ability to perform well in an environment where there is access to many small files in spurts; an environment like that of a gaming or performance computer system.

Windows Vista

Finally we decided to see if the VelociRaptor could reduce the length of the dreaded Windows boot time. The stop watch was run from the pressing of the power button, to when Windows was loaded and the hard drive light was off. This boot up includes drivers for all the hardware, and a couple utilities used in test. Even with all that, our test bed with the VelociRaptor installed managed to boot into Windows Vista in under 1 minute. The exact numbers translate into a 22% performance boost in favour of the Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB hard drive.

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