Western Digital’s Raptor line of high performance hard drives has long been a favorite among gamers and PC enthusiasts alike. But though they’ve been in production since early 2003, there has been little to none competition in this performance market. And now, the company has upped the ante with a brand-new enthusiast-class hard drive: the 10,000 RPM, 300GB VelociRaptor.

Despite offering the same 16MB buffer and 10,000 RPM spindle speed as its predecessor, WD’s VelociRaptor sports a completely new design that offers significantly increased performance in terms of access times and data transfer rates. The new drive is actually a 2.5-inch hard drive with a massive “Icepack” heat sink that makes it large enough to fit in a 3.5-inch bay, while keeping it extra cool. The new drive will be available in mid-May for $299.99, in the meantime you can read Hot Hardware’s take on this high-performance beast.