Is VelociRaptor 10,000 rpm HDD good for OSX? Mixed opinions

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mariavittenson, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    I heard completely opposite opinions on the VelociRaptor disk:
    - This is the most reliable and the fastest HD available now
    - It is not faster than a regular 7,200 rpm HDD and crashes more often.

    I need a good and not-too-low system disk because I need to load many heavy apps. SSD (about 250GB) is too expensive, so my idea was to copy OS from original Mac Pro’s HDD to a 300GB VelociRaptor. Additionally I want to use two 150GB VelociRaptors (RAID 0) for Lightroom and iMovie libraries (I have a chance to buy these two 150's really cheap).

    Is it a good idea? Should I move OSX to VelociRaptor or leave it on the original disk? Do you have any experience or knowledge about VelociRaptors?

  2. macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2007
    The Western Digital Velociraptor is an enterprise level hard drive that is very fast and very reliable. As you mentioned, not nearly as fast as an SSD, but they are very, very reliable and have a stellar reputation.

    As for Velociraptors crashing, I think this is an untrue fact. Well, hard drives can crash, but I bet that Velociraptors crash less than other non-enterprise level HDDs. Again, Velociraptors are very reliable enterprise level HDDs. That's what they are made for, speed and reliability. A testament to their reliability is the 5 year warranty Western Digital offers with the drive.

    I think that when your reading, "It is not faster than a regular 7200RPM HDD", the source is speaking in terms of some 2TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache hard drives like the Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB, Western Digital RE4 2TB, Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB, and Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 2TB. There may be some others, but in general, I believe these are considered the fastest 2TB HDDs. In that case, the statement isn't necessarily true. From what I have learned, the 600GB Velociraptor and these other 2TB HDDs I mentioned are kind of neck and neck in terms of performance. Here is a link to confirm this. There are benchmarks are toward the bottom of the page :

    I used a 300GB Velociraptor in my previous Mac pro, a 2009 8-Core as an applications/system/boot drive, and I never had any problems whatsoever. The drive was quiet, fast, and reliable. I'm considering the purchase of either a 600GB Velociraptor or other enterprise level 2TB HDD for my system boot drive in my 2010 Mac Pro, myself. I can afford an OWC 240GB SSD, but I just can't justify the cost and need for that much speed. I'd rather save the money and spend it on something else that I can get more joy out of.

    I've also heard that its not the smartest idea to RAID-0 two HDD's for a boot drive, but I'm not sure if that opinion is being too overly-cautious because if your backing up that RAID-0 onto one single hard drive, than your relatively safe. Its tempting, two 600GB Velociraptors in RAID-0 (1.2TB), but at that cost I could have an SSD to boot from, but it would only be around 200GB-256GB. SSD's are so, so tempting, but I think I can wait another year or two. To tell you the truth, I'm more tempted to throw an SSD in place of the optical drive on my Macbook Pro, than put one on my Mac Pro.

    What "heavy apps" do you use?
  3. macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2009
    I've been very happy with my 300GB Velociraptor in my 2009 MP. I've had no issues with it at all--it is fast and reliable. I use it for my boot/system/app drive, and I have 2 1TB WD Caviar Blacks in Raid 0 for my data (I'm a pretty heavy user of Lightroom as well). Personally, I would never boot with a Raid 0 array.

    If I had to build a new one today, I *might* go with an SSD instead of the Velociraptor, but 18 months ago when I bought my MP, SSDs were more expensive and I couldn't justify the cost.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Thank you for your interesting comments. Probably I wasn’t clear enough - my idea was to have one 300GB VelociRaptor disk for OS (boot) ONLY and additionally two 150GB VelociRaptors (RAID 0) for libraries ONLY.

    Heavy usage applications: Lightroom and Photoshop

    Other apps I want to use: Final cut Pro (+ iMovie), Logic Studio (+ GarageBand), Illustrator
  5. Moderator emeritus


    Dec 10, 2008
    Is 2x150GB in RAID 0 for OS out of question? Would be faster than single 300GB. Just remember to get a big backup drive, no matter what you end up getting as VRs are still hard drives which will, sooner than later, fail.
  6. macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Velociraptors are enterprise grade drives (= more reliable than consumer models) that are faster at random access than the OEM disk that came with the system (may be faster for sustained throughputs as well, depending on the generation gap between them).

    As per faster performance, the stripe set idea of the 150GB's would help you. But if you do this, make sure you've a good backup system to recover your data from if it's not used purely for OS/applications (just re-install everything if needed, but a clone is really nice here).
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Am I smart or stupid? No cooling…

    I wanted to put system HDD into the second optical bay and use all 4 disk bays for RAID and storage. However, I just realized that there is no fan in the optical bay, right? So the disk will have no cooling. Do you think it matters?
  8. macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It's been done before successfully. ;)
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2010
    Let me ask you the same question another way: Is it worth to buy a 300GB VelociRaptor for OSX or is it better to keep system on the original Mac Pro’s HDD? Is VR significantly faster and more reliable than regular HDD?

    Another option is to wait a year and buy an SSD for a half of the current price ;)

    Thank you for all your comments.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2009
    At that price, I would get them in a second. I wouldn't RAID them for OS, personally. A guy at work has a 10,000 rpm drive in his MP and his feels like the fastest computer, hands down. The UI is so much snappier and more responsive.

    On that note, I'm finally going to setup my new MP with an SSD this weekend (hurricane Earl kind of killed my past weekend) and am just a little bit excited about that.
  11. macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I've had the 10,000 rpm velociraptor in my Mac Pro before and while it was fast, I still recommend an SSD drive over it.

    It runs much quieter than the velociraptor and faster at launching applications as well. But the velociraptor is much cheaper.
  12. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    I have 4 300GB VelociRaptors; although they are fast in RAID 5, I wouldn't buy them again. Too expensive for the capacity; the 2TB Caviar Blacks are almost as fast in sequential access (which is good for media and such) and they have more than 6x more capacity. For random access, I would rather have an SSD because there aren't many things I need the faster random access except for daily tasks which fit on the SSD. That's not to mention 4 VelociRaptors are quite loud (they aren't that loud, but they can be hear when seeking considering the Mac Pro is otherwise silent).

    Even for your case, with 3 VelociRaptors, it would still be too loud; againt they are quite expensive for the capacity. I'd get a nice SSD for boot and then a couple 2TB Caviar Blacks. Would probably cost the same.
  13. macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Would it be loud like a Raptor scratching at your kitchen door as you hide inside with a bunch of kids in an attempt to not get eaten?
  14. macrumors member


    Jul 5, 2010
    I've got a 300 GB velopciraptor and it's pretty sweet as a boot drive. Especially when you open say the applications folder and all the icons are there instantly.

    Highly recommended until SSD's get worked out for various reasons.
  15. macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    She already has the 300GB version, and stated that a sufficient sized SSD was out of budget.

    So it would make a good OS/applications disk (definitely faster for random access performance than the OEM disk).
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    Although I understand the desire to have heavy applications load faster, once you work with them, it is more important to have a fast dedicated scratch disk.

    In your case, I recommend, any disk will do just fine for OSX & applications and configure the fast VR as a scratch disk. Most professional applications (PS, FCS, etc) can be configured to use a certain disk to scratch to.

    In the end, this will be by far more beneficial than having the application load fast.
  17. macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    To the OP regarding concerns of reliability:

    I've had the previous gen Raptor 74GB as my boot drive for five years, and not a hitch (knock wood). Boots fast, benched really well so I'm a fan of the VR line. The only reason I'm not repeating with a VR as boot drive is that I'm looking to go SSD.
  18. macrumors 6502


    Oct 13, 2005
    Fort Collins
    I've 4 VR raptors, 2x 1st generation 36GB, and 2x 74GB, both sets are running in RAID-0 under Linux. They are old, really old, but still run like a champ and S.M.A.R.T. statuses show no signs of aging.. ;-)

    Unfortunately, a single SSD, like the Intel SSD or now I have two OWC SSDs in RAID-0, just blow the VRs away in speed (even in RAID-0). Especially random read/write performance area.

    Two nice things about the newer VRs, (1) come in 600GB, (2) price compared to SSDs. So if you need the space, or can't handle the SSD prices, VR are probably one of the better HDD solutions out there.
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 25, 2010
    New Jersey
    Bringing this thread back!

    I have some first hand expirence with a 240gb OCZ Vertex II 3.5" failing under normal usage in a matter of months.

    Since then I decided to wait for SSD to mature a bit further.

    I reverted back to using velociraptors. This time around I went with a 150gb as my OSX/App disk and kept the stock 1TB as my home folder. I may or may not get another 150gb and raid 0 them. They're cheap enough.

    So far I have had a great experiences with the following models, my current 150gb, a 300gb from my gaming pc, and a 600gb which I sold for some dumb reason.

    The 600gb was the fastest. I miss it!

    I would love to get another Intel ssd but I am holding out for any sort of gen 3!
  20. macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2009
    Its also slower than every SSD on the market.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    I'm also thinking to move over to a Velociraptor 300gb drive, but for the second HDD on my Mac Pro 5,1 that runs Windows 7 Ultimate (Bootcamp setup).

    Getting the drive is no problem, but what's the easiest way to clone the old disk (300gb 7200rpm Seagate) to the new one.

    My Windows 7 is primarily used for Flight Simulator (work done in Mac OS) - and I've got so many addons I just don't want to have to re-install everything.

    Suggestions are appreciated.
  22. macrumors 68030

    Oct 15, 2008
    I'm using an intel 160GB SSD for OSX and apps, and a 300GB velociraptor for VMs. It's working great.

    Unfortunately the Velociraptor is a refurb, as I bought the drive new and it failed within a year. It had to happen to someone I guess.
  23. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 25, 2010
    New Jersey
    Of course an SSD *****s all over a Velociraptor, no need to state the obvious. But there is an equilibrium between performance and price, and to some people, thats where certain models of the Velociraptor shine for certain applications and usages.
  24. macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
  25. slughead, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011

    macrumors 68030


    Apr 28, 2004
    Hrm.. has it ever been proven that "enterprise level" hard drives crash less than others?

    It's not as though they put in a magic circuit that fixes the things that total most drives, and if they did, it wouldn't cost more to put them in the "consumer" drives.

    Moreover, why wouldn't some clever company come along and put the magic no-crash circuit into a regular drive--they'd take over the market over night!

    I look at the stats from Newegg's review section and they're all over the place. Consumer and "enterprise" drives have ratings that are usually the same. In fact, I read some of the 4 star reviews of WD Blacks, for instance, and they're a LOT less likely to rate based on failure, skewing the stats even more. There are a few reviews that say "well the first one I got failed, but since I got a new one from WD quickly, I'm giving this 4 stars."

    I also find that people who over-pay for products tend to defend them more--probably to rationalize their silly purchase.

    In addition, Google did some hard drive tests a while back and released the data. They found "consumer" drives are incredibly reliable.


    I switched to a 10k RPM raptor years ago and noticed a HUGE difference with OS X 10.3 and 10.4. However, I retired the drive for a while and dug it up a couple months ago to put 10.6 on it.. I don't notice much difference at all now between the drive I was using (a 750GB WD) and the 10k.

    I suppose I could clock the boot times and see which is better, but I have a bunch of drivers that would probably handicap my established installation unless I cloned it.

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