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Wed 4 Jan 2006 04:00 AM

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Raptor grows bigger teeth

Western Digital has unveiled the latest addition to its Raptor line of hard drives with the launch of the WD1500.

Western Digital has unveiled the latest addition to its Raptor line of hard drives with the launch of the WD1500.

Now offering 150Gbytes of storage capacity, the new Raptor offers double the space compared to the last generation model – the WD740GD – that offered 74Gbytes of capacity. To achieve this, Western Digital has doubled platter density on the new drive to 75Gbytes and employs a two-platter design.

The WD1500 also offers a larger 16Mbytes of buffer memory compared to 8Mbytes present on the older model. The latest Raptor retains a 10,000rpm spindle speed and also makes use of the Serial ATA interface.

With the WD1500 however, Western Digital has finally moved the Raptor to a native Serial ATA implementation. This means that support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ) – a performance enhancing feature – is included as standard.

Additionally, the firm’s newest drive features Time Limited Error Recovery (TLER) and Rotary Acceleration Forward Feed (RAFF). The former is present to prevent false drive dropouts on RAID 1 level and greater arrays. The latter uses electronics that sense and compensate for vibrations commonly found in multi-drive installations (such as rack mount servers or network storage devices) that may adversely affect performance.

Though the Raptor line was originally designed for enterprise level usage, the firm explains that PC enthusiasts and performance users have been buying the drives for home use as well.

Western Digital is already shipping the new drives in volume with stocks expected to hit stores in the region by the end of January 2006. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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