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
|Corsair's Neutron Series XT solid-state drive reviewedMy SSD controller has more cores than yours||24|
|Samsung's 840 EVO update fixes slow reads with old dataAn early look at the EVO's Performance Restoration tool||27|
|Micron's M600 solid-state drive reviewedA truly dynamic SLC/MLC hybrid||24|
|The SSD Endurance Experiment: Only two remain after 1.5PBAnother one bites the dust||76|
|Adata's Premier SP610 solid-state drive reviewedA budget four-banger takes on a pack of V8s||26|
|TR's August 2014 peripheral staff picksMonitors, monitors, monitors!||53|
|A quick look at AMD's Radeon R7 SSDRadeon solid-state drives are a thing now||76|
|OCZ's Arc 100 solid-state drive reviewedA new budget contender||40|
|Mechanical roadmap points to hard drives over 100TB by 2025||113|
|Ubisoft doles out freebies to make up for AC Unity issues||11|
|In the lab: Cooler Master's Silencio 652S quiet case||6|
|Native FLAC support coming to Windows 10||42|
|Early Black Friday deals: 4K for $350, 1080p IPS for $100, and more||23|
|Zalman is 'not going bankrupt'||19|
|Tuesday Night Shortbread||31|
|Nvidia expands Grid selection with #GridTuesday initiative||5|
|TR's 2014 Christmas gift guide||39|
|I'll take old-school over Optimus Prime's nutsack covered in neon lights any day of the week.||+63|