Over the years, Western Digital has brought top of the line hard drive performance to the consumer level with their line of 10K RPM Raptor drives. However, when SSDs hit the scene, they undoubtedly lost the consumer performance crown. With SSDs pumping out performance numbers well beyond the capabilities of the traditional mechanical drive, Western Digital has been left with one avenue to expand upon: price/capacity ratio.
Western Digital has given word that they have begun work on their next generation VelociRaptor drive. Staying with their trusty 10K RPM speed number, WD has once again doubled the capacity to 600GB utilizing a two-platter design. A single-platter 300GB flavor is also expected to be available at release. WD has also mentioned that the on-board cache has been significantly released. While there is no concrete numbers in regards to pricing, WD expects them to be close to the numbers seen at the launch of the current generation of VelociRaptors.
There is little doubt that the market for such drives has dwindled over the years with the increased performance of current high capacity mechanical drives and the advent of the blisteringly fast SSDs. However, a niche market almost certainly exists or else Western Digital likely wouldn't bother with the development of this next-generation Velociraptor.