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    Western Digital Raptor Hard Drive

Product :

WD360GD 10000RPM 37GB HDD

Manufacturer :

Western Digital

Reviewed by :

Wayne Brooker

Price :

£99.58 + VAT (Dabs)

Date :

July 10th , 2003.


   Page No:   2
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A Closer Look

One thing the pictures can't portray is the weight of the Raptor. Tipping the scales at 1.6 pounds this single platter unit is a relative heavyweight. Externally there's nothing very exciting happening other than the addition of a few shallow fins on the side which no doubt increase the surface area but which I doubt do a great deal to keep case temperatures much lower than without them.

On the back of the drive all the components are hidden on the reverse side of the PCB with the exception of a chip that on examination turns out to be a Marvell 88i8030. The 88i8030 is actually a programmable transceiver and is scalable to 3.0 Gbps to support the future Generation II, Phase II, SATA speed, theoretically at least. It also and implements Spread Spectrum Clocking for reduced EMI. In plain English, it's a Serial-ATA bridge chip designed to offer Parallel ATA (PATA) to Serial ATA (SATA) conversion using PATA electronics and this could mean there's a regular Serial ATA version of this drive in the pipeline. My only worry is that when we last saw this chip used (during our HighPoint RocketMate review), there seemed to be some overhead introduced in terms of increased latencies.

Rear View


Side View

Looking at the end connectors we again get some clues that either the Raptor was initially designed as a PATA drive or that one might be planned judging by those jumpers. They could of course offer some kind of low noise or power saving mode but as there's no mention of this in any of the documentation I've seen I can only guess.

I was pleased to see that in addition to the new power connector (1), the Raptor also offers a regular four pin Molex power socket (3) for those who don't have a SATA-ready power supply or the required adapter. Alongside the SATA power connector is the much neater SATA data connection (2).

End View

To overcome the somewhat feeble nature of the current SATA connector design WD have introduced what they call their "SecureConnectTM" SATA cable technology.

This involves a specially designed cable features two lugs that locate with two holes in the back of the drive itself, increasing the strength of the assembly by over 500% according to WD's own figures. Unfortunately the cable doesn't come with the drive and must be ordered separately.







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