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Western Digital VelociRaptor 600GB
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by William Kelley on May 24, 2010 in Hard Drives

Solid-state may be the future of our storage, but for now, the prices for the latest SSD’s (even value models) is still far too high on the $/GB scale. For those looking for mass storage and still-great speeds, mechanical storage is still on top, and WD’s latest VelociRaptor’s, which utilize SATA 3.0, sit comfortably above all the rest.

Real-World: dBpoweramp, Adobe Lightroom, Boot Times

dBpoweramp R13

Thanks to the fact that mobile audio players are more popular than ever, so is music conversion. It’s not uncommon for even the regular consumer to find a reason to convert a music file, whether it be an incompatibility issue, the fact that a file is too large, or because the file needs to be used for a more specific purpose, such as for a video, webpage, game, and so on. Of all the music converters on the market, though, one of the absolute best is Illustrate’s dBpoweramp.

The reasons are simple. First, there’s the ease-of-use, and then there’s the fact that it supports a wide-range of music formats. If you have even the most bizarre audio file extension, dBpoweramp will no doubt be able to handle it. A second reason dBpoweramp is so powerful is because it supports multi-core encoding, which means that the beefy quad-core in your PC actually gets put to good use. At the same time, because we’re able to convert four files at once, it makes for a great storage benchmark.

Adobe Lightroom 2.5

Photo manipulation benchmarks are more relevant than ever, given the proliferation of high-end digital photography hardware. For this benchmark, we test the system’s handling of RAW photo data using Adobe Lightroom, an excellent RAW photo editor and organizer that’s easy to use and looks fantastic.

For our testing, we take 100 RAW files (in Nikon’s .NEF file format) which have a 10-megapixel resolution, and export them as JPEG files in 1000×669 resolution, similar to most of the photos we use here on the website. Such a result could also be easily distributed online or saved as a low-resolution backup. This test involves not only scaling of the image itself, but encoding in a different image format.

Windows 7 Boot Time

Here’s a scenario that most of us deal with on a daily basis… boot times. Believe it or not, storage performance can play a rather sizable role in the duration of boot process of the OS. Storage devices with lower access times excel the greatest, as a lot of the boot data is stored on various parts of the drive – it’s not usually all sequential. So, it’s no surprise that 10K RPM and higher drives, or SSD’s, excel where this is concerned.

The second round of real world testing had the VR fairing much better with 2 out of 3 victories. To many, the extra speed in Adobe will be most important while I personally favor the boost in Windows load time. My personal PC is powered down daily so this is something I would certainly appreciate.