Can Command Queuing Turbo Charge SATA?


Seagate's advertisements for the Barracuda 7200.7 with NCQ purport major performance improvements. First, the hard disk is supposed to work as fast as other drives at 10,000 rpm, such as Western Digital's Raptor. However, the company's ambitious claims are not realized regarding access time, data transfer rates and I/O performance.

Meanwhile, it can be said that Command Queuing offers improvements for the application benchmark Winbench 99 2.0, which simulates access of typical business and high-end applications. In this case, Seagate's hard drive actually is only slightly behind WD360.

In any case, no current SATA hard disk is ready to hold a candle to the WD740. The data rate is too high and the access times are too short. Thanks to TCQ, it is possible for the big Raptor to beat the WD360 based on IOMeter benchmarks as well.

In sum, we must state that all Command Queuing enabled drives have an advantage over those that do not support this feature. At the same time, CPU load is also slightly higher when Command Queuing technologies are used. However, considering the performance of today's processors, the additional CPU load is a marginal factor.

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  • Anonymous
    Thank you for the comparison. Judging by the tests, it seem NCQ is no big deal. Does it really help with multitasking in ways other than speed, though?