Native Command Queuing is a feature in SATA technology that minimizes read/write head movements in hard drives by queuing up commands and conducting them in the most efficient sequence. This feature is also used in Solid State Drives (SSDs) due to the quick collection of read/write commands. The NVMe controller interface built for SSDs has a greater command queue capacity than the standard SATA/AHCI interface, allowing for up to 64K commands in 64K queues.
Understanding Native Command Queuing (NCQ) Technology in Hard Drives
When it comes to hard drives, technology advancements have significantly impacted the way data is read and written on a disk. One technology feature known as Native Command Queuing (NCQ) has made a significant contribution, minimising the amount of read/write head movements in a hard drive.
What is Native Command Queuing (NCQ)?
In simple terms, NCQ allows a hard drive to perform read and write commands in the most effective sequence after queuing them up. Essentially, NCQ reorders the commands to minimise head movement, which translates into faster data access.
The technology became available for use back in 2004 and was initially introduced to support Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) devices, which are typically found in personal computers. Despite advancements in SSD technology, NCQ remains an important feature for traditional hard drives due to its ability to improve the performance of sequential read and write operations.
Command Queuing on Solid State Drives (SSDs)
The significance of command queuing is not limited to traditional hard drives. As CPUs continue to send read and write commands at a faster rate, SSDs can also experience a backlog of commands waiting to be processed.
That said, SSDs support NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) controller interface, specifically designed for high-speed SSD data access. The NVMe interface has been proven to reduce latency and increase input/output operations per second (IOPS) several times over the traditional SATA/AHCI interface.
The NVMe interface also has a more extensive command queue, allowing up to 64K commands in 64K queues. For comparison, the standard SATA/AHCI interface allows a maximum of 32 commands per queue.
Native Command Queuing (NCQ) technology has been a significant development in the history of hard drives. With NCQ, both traditional hard drives and SSDs gain a performance improvement that drastically reduces head movement and data access latency.
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, it will be interesting to see how command queuing continues to evolve and improve data handling and access for all storage devices.