6. Anvil’s Storage Utilities
For an SSD or hard drive benchmark and test utility that really puts drives through their paces, they don’t come much more comprehensive than Anvil’s Storage Utilities. While being able to perform a complete read and write test using sequential and random operations, it displays a full set of results including response time, speed in MB/s and also IOPS. A total overall score is in the yellow box. Also included are 3 extra IOPS tests, an endurance testing function and the ability in the settings to alter the amount of compression to use on the test file. More functions like a system information tab and a screenshot saver round off an impressive tool. Anvil’s Storage Utilities is not a final build yet and currently at the Release Candidate stage.
7. Disk Thruput Tester
DiskTT is a small and portable testing tool that uses Windows core read and write functions to write a temporary file to the specified drive, then read it back sequentially and randomly to get three resulting scores. The test file can be between 10MB and 100GB with a block size to test of 1KB up to 8MB. To test a different drive to C, change the path of the test file to “User defined path” and select a drive letter. Windows file caching settings are available as an option but will often skew the results if not set correctly, so are best left alone unless you have a specific reason.
8. Roadkil’s Disk Speed
Roadkil makes a number of small and useful utilities, Disk Speed is another one that simply does the job you expect with no frills or bloat (it’s only ~90KB). The program is simple to run, just select the logical drive letter or physical drive number and press the Begin button. It only runs read tests but you will get a range of scores from 512 byte blocks up to 1MB blocks for both random reads and linear reads for each block size. The “Results in Brief” box will show the average access time, maximum read speed, cached speed (also known as burst speed) and an overall score which can be compared online at Roadkil’s website with the same or similar model drives.
9. HD Speed
Like Roadkil’s tool, HD Speed is small and portable and around 90KB, but has more configuration options to suit different storage devices. It also has Read+Write and Read+Write+Verify modes, but be aware the data on any device you want to write test WILL be destroyed. Something useful not found on other testing tools is the option to test a specific position on the drive, 0% for the faster outer part of a hard drive, 100% for the slower inner. To run a benchmark and get the average speed on the graph, choose the drive, enter the time to run it in the box and press Start. Block size can be left at Auto or changed from 1KB up to 16MB, a log file can also be created to review the results.
DiskMark is a nice tool to run because it displays plenty of information about average, minimum, maximum and last read and write scores, laid out in both raw number format and a live graph. The one slight problem with the program is actually configuring the test to perform. You can obviously leave it at the default of 64KB blocks, in an 8MB test file which runs 320 times. But to get another score such as using 1MB or maybe 4KB blocks, you have to enter the Set Size (block size), then enter the Rounds (number of blocks to make up the test file), and then choose the number of times the test file is read and written to. Incorrect setup will either produce a very short test which is less accurate or a test which takes far too long. Separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available.
Benchmark Notes: For less experienced users, a lot of the numbers thrown up by any benchmarking tool can look a bit confusing because you might not know what you’re supposed to take notice of. A few simple things to look for are:
Sequential (also seq or linear) – This is the speed at which a drive can read or write continuous blocks of data in the form of large files. It’s better for data drives or games partitions to have a higher sequential speed where most files will be at least a Megabyte in size. Sequential tests will show the maximum possible read and write speeds a drive can achieve.
4K – The 4K results produced by benchmark tools show how fast a drive is at accessing small files, and are the most important scores for a Windows boot drive. Most notably the random 4K read and write speeds show how quickly the files are accessed when scattered across a partition, like in Windows. Higher 4K results will also produce a better and smoother Windows during multitasking. When looking at buying an SSD drive to install Windows on for example, study the 4K scores first and not the headline grabbing sequential speeds.