What Is The Fastest Hard Drive For a Home Computer?
Solid-state drives are generating a lot of buzz, but the good old-fashioned magnetic platter hard drive is still what most people have in their desktop and laptop computers. When most consumers ask, “What is the fastest hard drive?” they mean a traditional magnetic hard drive. Surprisingly, given the highly technical blather surrounding hard drives, there is a pretty clear consensus on this question.
Professional reviewers, gaming enthusiasts, and other people in the know generally recommend the Western Digital Velociraptor family of hard drives as the “fastest” just about any way you care to measure speed. The Velociraptor stands alone in several categories.
First, it is the only consumer hard drive whose platters spin at 10,000 rpm. Most others max out at 7200 rpm. Rotational speed is a big contributor to overall hard drive performance. The faster those platters are moving, the sooner the sector of a platter that’s needed gets under the read-write head.
Second, the Velociraptor’s platters are 2.5 inches in diameter. That reduces the distance that the read-write head must travel to move from its home position to the track where it is needed, resulting in much faster seek times.
Third, the Velociraptor has a generous 32 MB cache. Cache memory holds the most frequently used data and dishes it to the I/O bus at speeds up to 1000 times faster than an electromechanical read-write head.