Although Native Command Queuing is most definitely an elegant and intelligent way to minimize the impact of a hard drive's mechanical latency, our test results show that better performance certainly isn't guaranteed with the Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ and Promise's FastTrak TX4200. The best applications for NCQ are undoubtedly the kinds of multi-user environments that IOMeter simulates. With an increasing number of concurrent I/O requests to read or write data from different areas of a disk, command queuing's optimized request rescheduling really shines. NCQ also scales better with lower I/O loads than Western Digital's Tagged Command Queuing, whose CPU utilization is also much, much higher.
Unfortunately, IOMeter is about the only place where NCQ seems to help the Barracuda 7200.7. In fact, command queuing actually hurts the drive's performance in typical single-user applications, sometimes by a significant margin. Trying to pin down why NCQ slows the Barracuda down in some tests is more difficult, although the Raptor with TCQ is also plagued by poor single-user performance, so overhead associated with the Promise FastTrak TX 4200 controller may be the culprit.
At the end of the day, Native Command Queuing is undoubtedly The Right Thing to do. It's clearly a winner for servers that face multi-user loads, but the implementations we tested need to mature before they become attractive alternatives for single-user desktops. Given that it's entrenched in the Serial ATA II spec, we'll be seeing a lot more of Native Command Queuing moving forward. I can only hope that the next generation of drives and SATA controllers will, across the board, at least be no slower with NCQ than they are without.
54 comments — Last by indeego at 12:38 AM on 05/06/05
|Intel's 750 Series solid-state drive reviewedPCIe storage pillaged from the datacenter||105|
|A fresh look at storage performance with PCIe SSDsNew benchmarks for the next storage revolution||51|
|Samsung's 850 EVO M.2 solid-state drive reviewedNow available in fun-sized flavors||34|
|OCZ's Vector 180 solid-state drive reviewedBarefoot goes bigger||40|
|The SSD Endurance Experiment: They're all deadThis is the end, beautiful friend||178|
|A first look at USB 3.1 performanceWith bonus Type-C connector glamor shots||51|
|Crucial's BX100 and MX200 solid-state drives reviewedBrothers from different mothers||50|
|Some 840 EVOs still vulnerable to read speed slowdownsPatched drives exhibit problems with old data||116|
|The TR BBQ XII happens August 15, 2015||5|
|Oculus buys 3D scene reconstruction firm Surreal Vision||11|
|Something big and expensive is coming from Antec||30|
|JEDEC standardizes NVDIMM for RAM-like flash storage||40|
|Apple patents keyboard with integrated touch sensors||6|
|LG site reveals 27'' FreeSync monitor with 4K IPS panel||35|
|Here's our discussion and first impressions of the Asus ZenFone 2||16|
|Jony Ive becomes Apple's first-ever chief design officer||28|
|Braswell NUCs follow established formula||18|