Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo Speed Test

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I raved quite a bit about the performance of the Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo in my review post. So awesome was the speed that you could even pit it against Solid State Drives (SSDs). How fast is this awesomeness? Let’s get down to talk about some benchmark figures. I didn’t have time to post them in my last review, but we’ll have them here.

Let me start with a disclaimer. I’m not a “pro” benchmark tester, and I don’t do terribly rigorous testing. I use tools that are readily available, and compare with things readily available to me. Don’t get into too much details about the specific benchmark numbers. They should, however, give you some indication of performance relative to other things being tested.

All my tests were run off a mid-2012 MacBook Air, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage. The notebook runs OS X Mountain Lion. The storage devices that were tested are:

  • MBA Mid-2012: MacBook Air’s internal flash storage
  • WD MBVRD RAID0: Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo in RAID0 configuration (striped)
  • WD MBVRD RAID1: Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo in RAID1 configuration (mirrored)
  • WD MBVRD JBOD: Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo in JBOD configuration
  • WD My Passport USB3: Western Digital’s portable USB3 disk
  • Hitachi Tuoro USB3: Hitachi’s portable USB3 disk
  • OCZ Vertex 2 USB3: OCZ Vertex 2 SSD (SATA2) connected via a USB3-SATA3 adapter dongle

First, here are the results from Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. The numbers are the MB/s throughput.

Blackmagic Table

The MacBook Air’s internal flash storage, of course, should ace this and all other tests. The VelociRaptor Duo’s performance, particularly in RAID0 mode, is very commendable, achieving about 85% to 90% of the performance of the MacBook Air’s internal flash storage.

In all modes, the VelociRaptor outperformed the OCZ Vertex 2 SSD connected over a USB3 interface. This says quite a lot about the performance of the 10K RPM VelociRaptor drives, or the Thunderbolt interface, or both.

Blackmagic’s tests are sequential I/O. Next, we’ll look at Xbench’s Disk Test, which tests both sequential and random I/O using varying block sizes. The Xbench scores are below (higher scores are better).

Xbench Table

Now, in case you spotted something very strange in the chart above, I double checked that the Xbench scores for random I/O are far better than that of sequential I/O for both the SSDs, and even slightly so for the VelociRaptor Duo in RAID0 mode. I don’t know how Xbench does the scoring, but the actual MB/s throughput reported by Xbench does correctly reflect that sequential I/O outperforms random I/O in all cases.

Notice that the VelociRaptor Duo in RAID0 mode still outperforms the OCZ Vertex 2 connected over USB3. Imagine that, a spinning disk beating flash storage. Or, maybe, it’s about Thunderbolt beating USB3.

Finally, here’s a “real world” file copy test, using the Xcode app. It’s 1.8GB big, and as any veteran Mac user should know, OS X apps are really a big buch of files. Some 178K in this case. The app is copied from the MacBook Air’s internal flash storage, so in the results below, the entry for the MBA Mid-2012 is actually quite meaningless (it being both the source and destination of the copy). The figures in the chart below are seconds taken to complete the copy (smaller is better).

FileCopy Table

The VelociRaptor Duo is fast. It wins the OCZ Vertex 2 connected over USB3 again, regardless of RAID0/RAID1/JBOD modes.

The My Book VelociRaptor Duo is fast, but it is also pricey. At S$1199 (at last week’s IT Show), it costs about S$1.10/GB in RAID1 mode, or S$0.55/GB in RAID0/JBOD mode. It’s not fair, of course, to compare it with USB desktop or portable disks. They are sort of in different leagues.

SSDs, on the other hand, may start at under S$1/GB in low capacities, but they quickly grow obscenely expensive with greater capacity. The OCZ Octane 1TB SSD, for example, sells for over US$2.6K from Amazon.

If you’re looking for SSD-like performance in a huge capacity storage, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo seems to be the solution, and a great one too. The combination of 10K RPM VelociRaptor disks and Thunderbolt interface gives you the best of both SSD-like performance and huge storage capacity.