Interleave factor is a term describing the ratio of physical disk sectors on a hard disk that are skipped for every single one sector that is actually used for write operations on the disk. It’s expressed as a ratio – so, say, a 5:1 interleave. That’s quite high, but a 5:1 ratio would mean that one sector on the disk is used for writing, then five are skipped before another one will be written on, and so on.
Technipages Explains Interleave Factor
The computer that is doing the writing knows what it’ll need next – whether it’s a skip or a write section, and lets the hard drive know accordingly. Modern computers are faster than hard disks – when this was not the case, larger interleave factors were common, but now a 1:1 interleave is standard. The interleave factor is set by the hard disk manufacturer, but it isn’t absolute – it can be changed by software that is capable of performing low-level formatting.
Interleaving improves access performance between a computer and a storage medium. If data was placed in every sector, it would take longer for the computer to fully find the info it needs. After reading out one sector, some time passes before the computer is ready to receive information again. This means that while the computer processes information received, sectors with information are skipped – if the info the computer needs is in one of them, the machine needs to circle back around in order to access it. Lower ratios mean faster speed, and improvements to computer speeds also helped this process along.
Common Uses of Interleave Factor
- Interleave factor is also sometimes called skip factor.
- Reduced interleave factor means faster reading and writing speeds.
- Interleave on a disk accounts for the sections skipped during writing and reading when a computer isn’t ready to deal with more information yet.
Common Misuses of Interleave Factor
- Interleave factor describes the time spent by a computer writing on a disk.