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Western Digital unveils TB Velociraptor, USB 3.0 Passport

updated 10:06 am EDT, Thu August 30, 2012

Thunderbolt drive uses 10K RPM disks to match SSD performance

Hard drive maker Western Digital has revealed a new line of portable external drives specifically for Macs with capacities up to 2TB and USB 3.0 functionality, and has added a 2TB Thunderbolt-enabled drive that it says offers up to 400MB per second read speeds (and 380MB per second write speeds). When two My Book Velociraptor Duo drives are daisy-chained together, it doubles the speed capacity, rivalling consumer SSD drives at dramatically lower costs.

The new Thunderbolt drive is not WD's first entry into that market, but is the first to employ the 10,000 RPM Velociraptor drives reports Computerworld. The My Book Velocipraptor Duo drive, priced at $900, isn't cheap by HD standards but is dramatically lower in cost than large-capacity SSDs, which top out at 1TB currently (and even that sells for $2,500, making a theoretical 2TB SSD cost around $5,000).

The unit comes with two 10Gbps Thunderbolt ports and is essentially two RAIDed 1TB Velociraptor drives in a single case. The $900 price tag does include a Thunderbolt cable, an option usually not included with TB drives. The company says the drive can transfer a 22GB HD movie in 65 seconds, a 5GB SD movie in 16 seconds and 2,000 five-minute MP3 songs in nine seconds. A similar SD movie transferred over USB 3.0 would take 58 second (about the same time as a single-disk TB drive) and two minutes over USB 2.0.

When two Velociraptor Duo units are daisy-chained, read and write speeds can reach 800MB per second and 760MB per second respectively, far surpassing the top speeds of SSD drives, which rarely achieve much over 500MB per second and are often seen at about half that peak speed. Western Digital plans to market the larger-capacity-at-lower-cost advantage of its HDDs for users who need maximum throughput and significant storage.

The TB discs inside the Velociraptor Duo drive come configured in RAID 0, but can be set for RAID 1 (halving the capacity but providing its own backup), with a JBOD option for users running Windows on a Mac. The drive, pitched to the creative professional market, is formatted for Mac by default and compatible with Time Machine but can be reformatted for Windows if needed. The two drives inside the case can be easily swapped out, an usual feature in WD drives.

The company also debuted a new line of Mac-specific My Passport USB 3.0 external drives, all in the portable 2.5-inch form factor. The My Passport for Mac line includes 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. The USB 3.0 port allows for up to a theoretical 5Gb per second transfer, though USB 3.0, like earlier versions, never achieves anywhere near its maximum speed in normal use. While touted as being 10x faster than USB 2.0, real-world use often finds it around three times faster, still a significant improvement.

The My Passport for Mac drives come with WD security software that allows password protection of the drive, hardware encryption and file protection. The drives sell for $100 (500GB), $130 (1TB) and $200 (2TB) and are 3.25 inches wide, 4.25 inches long and 0.82 inches thick. Both the My Passport and My Book Velocirapter Duo drives come with a three-year warranty. [via Computerworld]

by MacNN Staff



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