If you're the type who thinks of 2.5" drive technology only in terms of notebook products, then recently, Western Digital probably helped expand your horizons a bit. With the release of their VelociRaptor 300GB SATA hard drive, mainstream users were exposed to the advantages of the high transfer rates associated with 2.5" platters rotating at 10K RPM, with four access heads pulling data. Though packed in a 3.5" form-factor for desktop system compatibility, the 2.5", dual 150GB platter platform that the VelociRaptor was built on allows it to outperform virtually all standard 3.5" SATA drives on the market today, even WD's 10K RPM Raptor WD1500 series.
However, the VelociRaptor is definitely targeted to the performance enthusiast, with a price tag currently at $1/GB (MSRP $299). Regardless, when you consider the upside potential performance gains and the fact that a hard drive is easily the slowest component and limiting factor in many areas of overall system responsiveness, it's obvious this new Raptor will do well from a retail perspective. But what about the Data Center?
It was with these questions in mind that we decided to RAID up not two but three WD VelociRaptor drives in a RAID 5 configuration with an Areca PCIe X8 hardware RAID card, to see what the numbers looked like.