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Western Digital Raptor WD360GD (SATA)
By CPU-zilla
Category : Storage
Published by Jimmy Tang on Wednesday, 30th April, 2003
Rating : 5 out of 5 stars  

The Raptor

If you've been waiting for that ultimate serial ATA drive, there's nothing else that comes even closer than what the new Western Digital Raptor drive offers. Spinning at a whopping 10,000 RPM, it's the first of its kind made for the serial ATA interface. Positioned as an enterprise drive, the Raptor is targeted at the high-end storage segment where performance and cost are of greater consideration.

Just like most serial ATA drives in the market today, the Raptor will come with a huge 8MB buffer. However, it's not built around a truly native serial ATA interface. Simply put, the WD Raptor is based on parallel interface technology employing a simple serializer/deserializer (SERDES) chip to convert PATA into SATA. You can tell immediately from the Marvell chip at the back of the drive that it's based on that technique. While some may not like the idea of such techniques, the SERDES chip should do a rather efficient job in converting the signals. Let's just put it this way, current drives don't even maximize the parallel ATA bandwidth, so it's not necessarily bad that the interface isn't truly serial ATA native. However, concerns about the drive's high throughput due to the 10,000 RPM speed may hold true as we've never seen how performance could peak in an ATA-100/133 interface. But as you will see from the results in the following pages, the Raptor's performance should give most of us an idea of where it stands.

By the way, there were speculations that Marvell already have a SATA II solution. Well, this particular SERDES chip is scalable up to 3.0Gbps to support future generations of SATA standard and that's probably what most are talking about. Having said that, support for the standard is just part of the story, but the standard is still far from completion. Let's just say that this is just one of the ingredient for the complete solution. So, don't get too excited yet.

The drive employs Hynix SDRAM for its 8MB buffer.

A view of the hidden portion of the interface board.

The Raptor uses a Marvell bridge SERDES chip to convert its native PATA interface into SATA.

Here's the full technical specifications of the drive :-

Western Digital Raptor Technical Specifications
Interface Serial ATA
Capacity 36.7 Gigabytes
Model No. WD360GD
Number of Disks - N/A -
Number of Heads - N/A -
Bytes per Sector 512
Average Read Seek 5.2 ms
Track-to-Track Seek 0.7 ms (avg)
Full Stroke Read Seek 10.2 ms (avg)
Average Latency 2.99 ms
Rotational Speed 10,000 RPM
Data Transfer Rate
  • 150MB/sec (buffer to host)
  • 102MB/sec (buffer to disk)
  • Buffer 8 MB
    Power Requirements 9.25W (idle), 9.75W (read/write)
    Weight 730 g (1.60 lb)

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