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Review: Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo

by Thursten Kent on 12/05/2012

 

I know what some of you might be saying. That hard drive looks awfully familiar. I assure you that might be likely, but hiding beneath the facade of a jet black container lies quite a different beast. Drawing off the success of the My Thunderbook Duo line of drives comes the VelociRaptor Duo. This drive is sporting WD’s high RPM line of HD’s inside.

Gear Used

For this review we tested the VelociRaptor Duo with the Macbook Pro Retina 15.4 inch laptop.

Tech Specs

Specs by B&H Photo

Performance
Capacity 2TB
Interface Thunderbolt x2
Drive Speed 10000 rpm
Buffer Not specified by manufacturer
Average Seek Time Not specified by manufacturer
Sustained Data Transfer Rate Thunderbolt: 10Gbps (max)
RAID RAID 0, 1, JBOD
Preconfigured to RAID 0
System Requirements Computer with Thunderbolt connector
Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher
General
Mounting Desktop, external
Power Requirements AC Input: 100 – 240V, 47 – 63 Hz
Environmental Requirements Operating temperature: 41 – 95°F / 5 – 35°C
Non-op. temperature: -4 – 149°F / -20 – 65°C
Dimensions (WxHxD) 6.50 x 6.20 x 3.90″ / 165 x 157 x 99.00 mm
Weight 4.18 lbs / 1.90 kg

Ergonomics

Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo  next to the My Book Thunderbolt Duo

Following the look and feel of WD’s line of desktop drives. Instead of a silver exterior seen with most of WD’s line, you are presented with a stealthy jet black color motif on the front and sides of the unit. This drive is a little lighter than the Duo at 4.18 lbs. That was not a terribly big difference when I held them in my hands side-to-side. These are still some seriously hefty units.

In the back of the unit like the Duo, you are presented with 2 Thunderbolt ports and a power connections. You can also daisy chain a few devices as well to the unit. Whether that is an external display or another Thunderbolt drive. Heck, if money was no problem, you could set two of these units up as a RAID 10. That’s the best of both worlds. RAID 0 and RAID 1 for redundancy.

Top portion of the Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo (top)  and  My Book Thunderbolt Duo (bottom)

The same design follows for the top as well. You have a plastic lid that houses the hard drives as well as adds ventilation to let the heat escape from the enclosure.

The inside of the drive bay

Now here is what is all the fuss about this unit. It’s the drives. The heart and soul. One of the drawbacks of the Duo is the fact it was using 5400 RPM green drives. This unit is outfitted with Western Digital’s screaming fast 10,000 RPM Velociraptor drives. These drives are enterprise grade. They also have a 64 MB cache and are designed to take the task of daily punishment 24-7. Plus you’ve got a 3-year warranty.

Take note, too, that this unit is serviceable. If one of the drives were to fail, you can replace it. It’s a very simple task really. By flipping up the plastic top, you will notice a small screw mounted top on the inside. Once you turn the thumb screw, carefully lift the inner  lid up and slide it back to remove it. This will give you access to the hard drives.

Next, you simply pull the tab on top the of the drive and it will slide out. No wires, no fuss. Everything is clearly labeled A or B designating which drive is which.

The Velociraptor Duo can be configured a few ways just like the Mybook Thunderbolt Duo. RAID 0 which is going to offer the best performance but at the cost of no redundancy–if one of the drives were to fai. RAID 1 is mirroring. Drive A will be mirrored onto Drive B. This is the safest method. Or, JBOD which will allow you to have each drive in the unit to mount as individual volumes. More on the speeds in a bit.

Example shot of WD Utilities 

This drive comes with WD Drive Utilities software. What I like about it is if you are not familiar with setting up the RAID configuration than this utility will help you do that. You can even run some diagnostics to check up on the how the drive is doing.

Speed

I decided in keeping things consistent, I ran the same test I did with the My Book Thunderbolt Duo. Tests were ran using AJA’s System Test Application. I made 10 passes in RAID 0 and than RAID 1. I than took an average as Read/Write speed in both modes. I also rounded by the nearest hundredth when necessary. Keep in mind this is in no way scientific or super technical. I wanted to do a simple test.

I used 8.0 GB sized 1080p, 8-bit video to test read and write speeds

After making 10 passes, here are my results:

RAID 0 offered the fastest speeds with an average read speed of 371.2 MB/s and write speed of 344.3 MB/s.

RAID 1 as expected in this configuration took a hit. With an average read speed of 187.3 MB/s and an average write speed of 179.2 MB/s.

These speeds in RAID 0 were super impressive. This is much, much quicker than the My Book Thunderbolt Duo. In fact with these speeds this makes it one of the fastest Thunderbolt HDD units out now. You’d be cheating yourself if you used this drive in a RAID 1 configuration. Go with tRAID 0. This drive was designed with getting maximum speeds in mind. As a caution, always remember the risks of going RAID 0.

Conclusion

Now, getting a chance to use a drive with such numbers you’ve have to run it through some edits no? Keeping the drive in RAID 0, I did see my render times in certain cases blaze through. The speed was just crazy.  I am happy to report this drive comes with a Thunderbolt cable in the box! Something I’m sure might make some people angry if you bought a MyBook Thunderbolt Duo and did not purchase one separately.

When I move to my next camera I am thinking of working with more uncompressed footage that might demand a drive like this. This is its purpose, though: to chew through render times. For a photo person, I can’t see this as an option.   Video makers on the other hand should see a nice benefit. Can you justify the price as well? That will be up to you and your needs.

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