With today’s demanding applications on our computers, it’s important to ensure that there are no slow-downs or bottlenecks in the system. One area that has traditionally been an issue is the read and write speed of hard drives.
The advent of the SSD — or solid state drive — has led to a great improvement in read and write speeds (especially in comparison to older mechanical HDDs), but it’s still crucial to test transfer speeds to determine how efficient a system is and whether there might be any hardware or software problems.
And as we use more and more storage solutions on a daily basis, including USB storage, it’s also important to benchmark these devices too.
In this article we’ll examine the best speed test and benchmark software tools for your computer’s hard drive, supporting either SSD or HDD types of hard disks.
The ranking in the list below is in no particular order.
This is one of the leading benchmarking tools from a respected name. It will work on both HDD and SSD as well as RAID array disks. This makes it ideal for businesses and large companies that need to determine where there might be transfer speed issues in their systems.
Using a convenient interface where all of the relevant information is available in one window, ATTO Disk Benchmark remains a firm favorite with network technicians in the industry. It works on Windows OS but also there is a macOS version as well.
What makes this application different from most other disk benchmarking tools is that it tests transfer speeds on all areas of the drive.
In hard disks, the data transfer speeds on the outside of the physical disk platter are higher than transfer speeds on the inside. This can distort the readings of transfer speeds.
What HDTach does is to use a VXD kernel mode to bypass the file system. It then accesses areas all over the disk and logs the transfer speeds in a file.
This results in a more accurate report on hard disk performance and provides much more relevant information.
The MiniTool Partition Wizard is primarily aimed at users who need to resize, move, split, and format partition areas of their HDDs or SSDs. This allows the installation of multiple operating systems, for example.
It can also test disk transfer speeds on all drives, including both HDD and SSD. This makes it the ideal multi-purpose disk tool for system administrators and even power home users who need such an advanced tool.
The other good news is that it comes in a free edition, which does include the disk speed benchmarking tools.
This free, attractive tool allows for not just testing of hard drive and SSD speeds but also RAM, CPU and GPU speeds.
It will even test the transfer speeds of attached USB storage. This makes it the ideal companion for home users who are curious about system performance or need to identify a potential bottleneck within their systems.
It is a small download, is free to use, and presents all of the information in a very attractive interface that features graphical elements and color-coded benchmark logs.
Overall, this is a highly attractive piece of software that has proven to be very popular with many types of computer users.
This small speed benchmarking utility is for users who just need to see speeds presented in a very simple way. Unlike other utilities, Crystal Disk does not contain any extra bells and whistles. What is unusual is that it also features an anime-themed edition called the Shizuku Edition.
This may suit people who just need a simple, free benchmarking utility that won’t take up much space and won’t confuse them with too much information on the screen.
Available from the long-lived and much-loved Majorgeeks website, this tiny utility allows people to see the speed performance of their HDDs in real time. Once again, this software does not contain too many extras that could become confusing for a user. It does one thing and does it very well.
At less than 150 KB, this is a tiny program that may suit users just looking to test their system speeds.
As the world is moving to better and bigger solid state storage, more benchmarking tools are supporting them.
Anvil’s Storage Utilities has been designed to test both mechanical hard drives and SSDs but it really does do a great job on solid state drives specifically.
If you or your company have moved entirely to solid state drive storage, this is a tool that will run diagnostic and custom speed tests. Because it has been designed with solid state drives in mind, it is the ideal tool to use.
One feature that most other tools do not have is that Anvil’s tool displays both MB per second and IOPS when measuring the speed of disks.
As with Anvil’s Utilities, this tool has been designed with solid state drives in mind. As we are now using more of them at home and in business, it’s also important to have a speed benchmarking tool that can provide up-to-date, relevant information on transfer speeds for this relatively new technology.
AS SSD Benchmark is small and comes in a free edition that allows anyone to get the most out of it before deciding to donate to support the developers. Since it doesn’t even need to be installed on a system and can be executed from a single file, this makes it ideal to carry around on a portable drive.
Like the previous tool, this one also measures the disk speed using MB /sec and also IOPS (input-output operations per sec).
jDiskMark is a benchmarking tool that has been written in Java. Some years ago, Java was all the rage in the IT community but it has since become an outlier.
Having said that, the real advantage to Java is that it is cross-platform. This means that jDiskMark will even run on Linux and BSD-based systems as well as Windows.
It may be a small download, but jDiskMark features an easy-to-understand traditional interface that provides all of the information necessary.
This no-fuss benchmarking solution is ideal for those who need an uncluttered view of disk speed tests. It supports multiple threads; testing on different hard drives and SSDs can be done simultaneously using threaded processing.
This fast, efficient processing makes it the ideal choice for large-scale environments where testing of multiple storage sources needs to be done, including HDD, SSD, USB storage, RAID set-ups, SCSI storage, and networked drives.
Have you ever wanted to check the transfer speed of your CD-ROM drives in addition to your hard disk? Parkdale allows you to do that as well as test and benchmark speeds of hard disks, solid state drives, and even networked drives and servers.
What makes this small tool interesting is that all of that speed data can easily be compared to their benchmark test results page.
All you need to do is enter the device you’ve tested and then the value. This will log it and then compare it with other results that people have submitted, making it very easy to determine what speeds are normal.
If you have an older system that is before Windows 10, this tiny disk benchmarking tool may be for you. The interface is a no-fuss, no bells and whistles affair. It has the look of a Windows XP tool and in reality, it is possibly better for older systems.
If you have concerns about the overall health of your drive, the free HDDScan software is worth downloading.
As well as setting the speed of hard drives, USB storage, and solid state drives, it will also access and display S.M.A.R.T information.
This provides an indication of the overall physical health of the drive, including bad sectors and bad blocks. This is useful for knowing when a drive might be about to fail.
Whether you are experiencing a slow system, your programs are slow to start up, or you think that your attached drives could be about to fail, this tiny piece of free software can provide some peace of mind. It may even end up saving you from the loss of valuable data.
Available for both Mac and Windows, this attractive piece of software is ideal for people who need an industry-recognized tool.
If you are in the graphic design or media industry and you rely heavily on computers for daily work, this tool is ideal.
All of the relevant information is presented in an attractive single-screen format with large color-coded graphics and easy-to-find options.
If you depend on fast PCIe transfer speeds, AJA System Test can also test the input-output speeds of these industry-standard cards.
Just bear in mind that you’ll need to pay for the full version to access this additional functionality.
Novabench comes with three different licenses. The Basic plan is free for personal use. You might assume that the free plan would be overly limited but it contains most of the essential hard disk benchmark tools.
The majority of usage scenarios won’t call for anything more than what the free plan provides. You’ll find options to benchmark both the read and write speeds of any hard drives in your computer.
It can also test RAM performance to determine whether or not that might be acting as a speed bump within your system.
The plus and pro options do provide some nice extras. The bottleneck features in those plans let you go beyond RAM and examine other issues which might indirectly impact hard drive performance.
And they also come with online comparison tools to help compare your results to what other people are experiencing. This can help determine whether hardware issues are universal in a line of hard drives or unique to your own setup.
16) HD Tune
HD Tune is a paid utility that requires a one-time purchase. However, it does offer a trial version so you can give it a try before deciding on whether it’s a good match for your needs.
One of the program’s biggest draws is its graphical simplicity. Disk monitoring, file benchmarking, general health, and other categories are all contained in individual tabs.
And you can easily test individual elements like drive transfer rate speeds while also getting multiple forms of feedback on the results. This helps ensure that you can take an in-depth look at the raw stats or take in a quick overview through graphs.
Cross Platform Disk Test is, as the name suggests, a fully cross-platform solution that will run on almost any operating system you can think of. It even has Android support.
What’s more, it’s fully open source. Both of these facts make it an ideal solution for people who use a lot of different systems concurrently. You can easily compare your various devices while using the exact same metrics.
The one downside is that Cross Platform Disk Test doesn’t put much emphasis on user-friendliness. The input and output system is largely reminiscent of older terminal or command line interfaces.
However, the options are all well thought out and organized to the point where it’s still fairly easy to use even if the presentation takes a while to get used to.
SysGauge is a full system monitoring tool with a robust selection of options for hard drive speed testing. You’ll find the expected options for disk read and write benchmarks along with transfer rates. And you’ll also see options for more in-depth tests like IOPS read and write jobs.
The test results are all presented in an extremely user-friendly manner. This includes displaying raw stats, graphics, and even a gauge chart.
The program is also applicable to more advanced usage scenarios by providing test exports in a number of different formats ranging from CSV to Excel. SysGauge can even be used from the command line.
The command line support extends to options for data exports. This mode makes it easy to set up automated system checks and integrate the results into whatever format you desire.
19) EaseUS DiskMark
DiskMark is a free and straightforward disk benchmark program for Windows. It doesn’t offer nearly as many options as most of the other hard disk speed test tools, but it’s an ideal solution for people who want to quickly download a program and run a test or two for a specific purpose.
The GUI is simple enough that you won’t need to spend much time learning to use it. You simply select your drive, the number of iterations to run, and the MB size for testing. The program will then run through some basic read-and-write benchmark tests and provide you with the average speed for both.
20) AIDA 64 Extreme
AIDA64 Extreme is one of the most polished hard disk speed test tools. It’s as feature-full as the most powerful disk benchmark solutions. But at the same time, it manages to pack that power into a user-friendly interface that’s easy to understand and use.
However, it’s also among the more costly options for personal use hard disk speed testing tools. But if you’re willing to pay a little extra you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.
AIDA64 Extreme can test almost every element of your PC. In total, a full test will provide over 50 pages of data points and that of course extends to your hard drive.
You can run real-time testing of read, write, and almost any other element of your hard drive’s performance.
Because it’s a full system monitoring solution you can also easily whittle down the possible causes of slowdown if your drive seems to be healthy but isn’t running properly.
AIDA64 Extreme also provides stress testing for your drive and all other elements of your setup. You can even create a custom readout panel for data visualization that perfectly matches your style.
As our Internet connection speeds have increased and our software applications have become bigger and more demanding of resources, it’s important to understand how fast your hard drive and solid state drive transfer speeds are.
This has implications in business because any slowdown can affect performance and delivery on a daily basis. This is why disk benchmarking tools are so important to the system administrator and even the curious home computer user.