To NCQ or not to NCQ; manufacturers dropped the disc

So the system drive in my HP XW4100 workstation has started to make those sounds that nobody using computers wants to hear. No big deal, it’s still under warranty. The problem is that I don’t really want a 1:1 replacement, I want a 400GB or 500GB system drive; so I figured I’d just go to my favorite on-line store, Dustin, and buy one.

No big deal, right? Wrong! It turns out, after checking, that almost all or all of the 400GB and 500GB drives use NCQ (“Native Command Queueing”) technology. The chipset on my HP workstation cannot, according to a number of sources, handle disks using this technology.

I recall getting a number of Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 disks; they’re only 200GB, but that’s at least a step up from the system drive in the XW4100. The only “minor” problem is that nobody I ask have them in stock anymore. Say what?!! I have a business workstation that is less than three years old, and I cannot find a reasonable sized harddrive that works with it.

I realize things have to keep moving along at a steady pace, but to add things in common (and portable between systems) hardware, that makes it impossible to migrate systems piece by piece sounds like major braindrain to me. I’m all for development, improvements, and evolution; but not without actual benefits.

Can you say BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY?!

Now, according to www.sata-io.org which states “Devices that support NCQ are 100% backward compatible with non-NCQ supporting systems”, this should not be a problem. So who’s got it together, and who doesn’t?! You would think HP knows what they’re talking about when it comes to their own systems. But then again, HP keeps refusing to enable firewire by default in their computer systems, so one could perhaps question the reliability of HP as a source 😉

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