Native Command Queing Support
The Western Digital RaptorX WD1500AHFD HDD's specifications include support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ). The benefits of NCQ have been discussed previously, but in essence NCQ allows the hard drive to
retrieve data more efficiently off the disk when multiple reads are involved. If you
would like to read about the benefits of NCQ, check out the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 motherboard review
where we go into depth on the technique.
WD SecureConnect Serial ATA
The Western Digital RaptorX WD1500AHFD
includes the companies $9.99 beefy blue WD SecureConnect Serial ATA
cable. Anyone who has used a Serial ATA hard drive knows well how flimsy the connectors can be if bent at the socket. The SecureConnect cable (which is sold separately) is said to be 500% firmer than the average SATA cable. With the two large plastic inserts at the end of the cable, there is no way it can come lose from the drive accidentally.
SecureConnect cable doesn't supply power to the hard drive, so remember to plug in a standard
molex power connector as well. We've been using the SecureConnect cable around the PCSTATS labs for
around half a year, they certainly feel a lot sturdier than regular Serial ATA
cables and are much less susceptible to damage, which is always nice.
There's little doubt that the Western Digital RaptorX WD1500AHFD HDD is a very pretty HDD with its clear plastic top. However there is something else to consider. The MTBF rating of the WD1500AH FD is 600,000 hours (68.5 years) while the other Raptors have a MTBF of 1.2 million hours (137 years).
The RaptorX WD1500AHFD comes with a five year warranty and knowing WD,
you'll be well taken care of when you have problems. RMA and support is an
Western Digital Support and Software
When it comes to a device as complex as a hard drive, it
is not if it will fail, rather when. Like all the hard drive manufacturers, Western Digital has well developed easy to use service and support options. From accessible software to a completing an RMA process within five minutes, you can even give Western Digital a call if there are problems.
Having RMA'ed hard drives to every major manufacturer, I
can say that Western Digital's level of customer service is excellent. Incidently, if it comes time to RMA a hard drive and you have selected an 'advanced RMA,' Western Digital even goes to the trouble of including a return address sticker with the replacement drive. A couple of support emails are also sent with the latter informing users that the replacement drive has been received by WD.
Another handy bit of kit is the Lifeguard Tools CD, let's run through what that does next.
LIfeguard Tools Software
The Western Digital RaptorX WD1500AHFD Serial ATA hard drive was accompanied by a
Western Digital Data Lifeguard Tools CD. The software is available for download
via WD's website so anyone can get the same software
The SecureConnect Cable
For many users, a hard drive upgrade is often one of
the first upgrades. It can be a complex undertaking, but with the right
guidance isn't too difficult. Western Digital's packs in an Installation guide with the Lifeguard Tools CD which is easy to understand, and detailed. Illustrations clearly guide users along the RaptorX WD1500AHFD installation steps and cable hook ups.
The Western Digital Lifeguard Tools works in Windows or DOS mode, and most options will require a reboot into DOS mode before the program can truly function. The "View Installation Tutorial" runs through physically installing an IDE or Serial ATA hard drive step by step, it has lots of pictures to help illustrate the steps. The "Set Up Your Hard Drive" option allows users to partition and format the HDD directly from the console. You do not need a WD hard disk to run through this, and non WD drives can be used with this utility.
The "Maintenance Options" allow users to
update, backup or restore the hard drives master boot record. This is a very
useful feature since if the boot record is lost, the data on the hard drive is
pretty much toast (also see PCSTATS guide to hard
drive data recovery for other options). In the "Utilities" section users can clone
partitions and entire drives. This is useful for anyone who wants to replace an existing hard drive with the operating
system, with something larger. Finally in the "Hard Drive Information" section,
users can get technical information on the hard drive; like number of heads, cylinders, etc.
Prelude to Benchmarks
The details of how the Western Digital
RaptorX WD1500AHFD hard drive test system was configured for benchmarking,
including the specific hardware, software drivers, operating system and
benchmark versions are indicated below. In the second column are the general
specs for the reference platforms this serial ATA hard drive is to be compared
against. Please take a moment to look over PCSTATS test system configurations
before moving on to the individual benchmark results.
|PCStats Test System Specs:|
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
12 x 200 MHz = 2.4 GHz
Asus A8N-SLI Premium
2x 512MB OCZ Gold GX PC3500
Western Digital WD740 Raptor
Western Digital WD4000KD Caviar
||Aopen DVD-RW/CD-RW Combo Drive|
||PC Power & Cooling 510 SLI|
WindowsXP Build 2600
Business Winstone 2004
SiSoft Sandra 2005