I currently own the following drives so I decided I would put a few arguments to rest and lay down some facts with proof.
1x WesternDigital VelociRaptor 300GB
1x WesternDigital Black Edition 2 TeraByte
2x WesternDigital Black Edition 1 TeraByte
Processor: AMD Phenom II 965 BE
Motherboard: MSI 870A-G54
Memory: Adata DDR3
Raid Controller: Onboard AMD SB850
Taking a random guess I could tell you before any testing that the WD Black Raid 0 configuration will be fastest Burst and Sustained speed unless the controller is holding the drives back. I was amazed at the jump in speed when I first got my hands on a WD 1 TB Black Edition drive, I was expecting another huge jump in performance when I upgraded my 1 TB drive to a 2 TB WD Black drive but without spoiling the results I will say it wasn’t much faster.
I have concluded my testing and now present the data to you the reader to make your final call on which drives you will choose. I was expecting some variance in testing so I decided I would run 3 of the most popular benchmark utilities and from experience I know how HD Tach seems to have a large amount of wiggle room so with HD Tach I made sure I ran it 3 times for each setup to later take the averages from.
I want to note before we continue on how important it is to make sure your motherboard and controller are configured properly, I have below included some screenshots showing a WD VelociRaptor in IDE Compatibility Mode / AHCI Mode with default Microsoft drivers and AHCI with the proper AMD drivers for my board. You can notice a huge difference in performance in my specific situation, your mileage may vary.
VelociRaptor IDE Compatibility Mode with MS Drivers
VelociRaptor AHCI Mode with MS Drivers
VelociRaptor AHCI Mode with AMD Drivers
OK Now that we got that out of the way lets get to some performance charts and benchmark data. You will see from the charts below that the HD benchmarking programs vary greatly from each other but usually show similar results overall, i.e. if you drive is faster in one program it will be faster in another. The 2x 1 TB WD Black drives in Raid 0 are king of the arena here and thats no surprise at all considering their individual speed in a non-raid configuration. One thing you will notice is although in most situations the Black drives are faster than the VelociRaptor but the VelociRaptor has one very important advantage over the Black drives and that is Access time. In fact this single specification is what made me give up my 2 WD 1 TB drives in a Raid 0 in favor of one WD VelociRaptor (with the goal of adding another later), the average user may think because the other specifications like burst speed and average writes far outperform the WD VelociRaptor that it would be a no brainer to go with the drives with bigger numbers and more storage space to boot. Well it all depends, if you plan to transfer very large files then yes, but smaller files and day to day tasks will be noticeably faster with the VelociRaptor and its lower Access Time. Another misconception is that Ram will take care of the speedy access times and this is true to an extent, but one thing to keep in mind is no matter how fast your ram is, it still needs to pull the data off of your (fill in the blank). One specific situation where the higher sustained rates will benefit is a Media PC, this type of machine often experiences long reads (watching movies) and long writes (recording TV).
Quick Overview of the Results
And for the Benchmarks, grouped by type
ATTO HD Benchmark
HD Tune Benchmark
HD Tach Benchmark
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