Countering the rampant development of fast and expensive solid state storage, Western Digital has officially released the fifth generation of its VelociRaptor hard drives. The series itself hasn't changed drastically from 2008, but it does include new 450 and 600GB models, along support for SATA 6Gbps and a larger 32MB cache. According to WD, the updated drives can load data up to 15% faster than their predecessors with the same 10,000RPM spin speed.

The drives come in the VelociRaptor's signature 3.5-inch bay version with the IcePAK heatsink cooling the drive or a bare 2.5-inch form factor for server use. Don't think about stuffing one of these in a notebook, though, as they are 15mm tall rather than the standard 9.5mm. The updated drives consume no more power than the previous generation VelociRaptors and feature sustained transfer speeds of up to 145MB/s.

These specs might not hold a candle to the 200+MB/s reads and writes and much faster random-access times of solid-state drives, but in the price per gigabyte department the VelociRaptor still commands a considerable advantage. The 450 and 600GB drives have an MSRP of $299 and $329, respectively, and come with a five-year warranty.