Serial ATA II (3GB/s Support)
nForce4 is the first chipset to support the second generation Serial ATA 3Gb/s
standard which is twice the bandwidth of the current first generation SATA
1.5Gb/s out there. Intel too will be supporting the SATA2 3Gb/s standard next
year with their Glenwood and Lakeport chipsets therefore it is no doubt a
standard that every chipset manufacturers will be taking and NVIDIA just happen
to be the first. One good thing is that the cables and connectors for Serial ATA
can be used for Serial ATA II as well. nForce4 supports up to 4 native SATA2
3Gb/s devices with hot swap capability which allows drives to be unplugged and
plugged without powering down the system. There are two storage controllers
present in the MCP which provides two separate data transfer paths to system
memory to improve bandwidth further.
Native Command Queuing (NCQ) is a technology from the SCSI which is designed to
improve performance by allowing the hard drive to internally optimizing the
execution order of the workloads. In simple term, the hard disk can
intelligently re-arrange the commands for better I//O performance.
nForce4 supports RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 which is nothing new since
RAID chips from Promise and Marvell have been offering this feature. Some
interesting features are the Disk Alert System that detects which Serial ATA
connector are not connected properly and also the support of Cross-Controller
RAID for both SATA and PATA drives in a RAID array. With the nVRAID management
software, it allows you to configure the system in an array, turn on striping,
build mirroring volumes and even setup dedicated spare disks.