If your computer is running slowly or is lagging behind your daily needs, there’s a good chance you need some minor upgrades. Most commonly, poorly performing computers are due to slow disk speeds, high memory usage, or a lack of cooling. But how can we address the issue without replacing the whole thing?
In this guide, we’ll be showing you X ways to test your hard disk or solid-state drive speeds, which will allow you to determine if slow disk speeds are what’s slowing your computer down.
1. Testing SSD Speeds With Built-In Applications
Testing your hardware is relatively easy on most operating systems. Luckily on some operating systems, you can test your hardware without the need of downloading an additional program. Third-party applications will display read and write speeds at once, but you must manually figure them out in this method.
On Windows, testing your SSD speeds (among many other things!) can be done through the Command Prompt. It is important to run this as an administrator to prevent any potential issues.
- Type CMD in the Start Menu search bar, then right-click the Best Match and select Run as Administrator.
- Now, type in the following command: “winsat disk -ran -write -drive (name):”.
The parentheses will not be part of the command, and “(name)” will be replaced with your drive, commonly “C”. Typically, users will only have a primary HDD or SSD, although many use additional drives for storage purposes. The disk name(s) can be found by navigating through This PC and can be located through the search bar, similar to the previous step.
Linux users can also test hardware through integrated software.
- First, you need to navigate to the terminal and open it.
- Once its opened, type in the following code in between the quotations: $ “sync; dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile bs=1M count=1024; sync“. The number shown will be the “write” speed of your tested storage device.
- Because we created a temporary file, the data is cached, resulting in a skewed result when you try to test your “read” speeds. If we were to run the same command, we would get a skewed result. So, you need to clear the cache from the temporary file using the following command: $ “sudo /sbin/sysctl -w vm.drop_caches=3“.
- After this, you can type in this command to see your “read” speeds, as shown in the yellow box in the first image above: $ dd if=tempfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=1024″.
Lastly, if you have a Mac, and many of us do, we do not have a built-in feature to look at our hardware specifications. Apple has always been discreet about what’s underneath the shiny aluminum body and is no different from the software side of things. Luckily, there are still ways to display your device’s performance with some additional programs.
2. Testing SSD Speeds With Third-Party Applications
Whether we have the option to test our hardware with or without extra software, there is no need to fret as there are many freeware applications that do the same thing. Furthermore, some are even cross-platform, making it more convenient for all types of users.
For Windows users, there is an excellent program you can use—CrystalDiskMark. With this, you can measure the disk speeds of your computer. This can be accomplished by pressing ‘all’ upon installing the program.
Download: CrystalDiskMark for Windows (Free)
For macOS, Novabench is a good program that can identify your read and write speeds. Since this is a third-party program, this is not on the App Store but can be found on Novabench’s website. Unfortunately, this is only for Intel-based processors, so those with Apple’s newest M1 chip are out of luck.
Lastly, since Linux is all about open-source programs, it would be counterintuitive for the platform to rely on third-party software. Still, if you feel the need to use third-party software, Novabench is available for Linux users to test their speeds.
3. Testing SSD Speeds With Cross-Platform Software
For those who use more than one operating system, ATTO Disk Benchmark is cross-platform. This is technically freeware, though there is a paid version that gives you access to more features. Still, the program gives you the ability to benchmark a variety of your hardware components on your computer aside from just reading your storage device’s speeds.
Whether you’re using Windows OS or macOS, testing your SSD speeds couldn’t be any simpler. For the test to start, click Start in the middle of the program. In the dropdown menus are some parameters that can be changed to your liking and hardware. Then, as shown above, the desired information will be displayed accordingly.
What to Do if You Have a Slow Drive?
As technology progresses every day, the technology in your computer becomes dated quickly. Luckily, many of the parts that do become dated can be replaced with newer components, resulting in better performance. While upgrading your memory can improve responsiveness, upgrading your SSD can drastically change the performance of your computer.
Common speeds for an SSD are anywhere from 300-600MB/s for both read and write speeds. In some cases, you’ll reap more benefits from upgrading your memory than upgrading an SSD. The benefits are minimal upgrading from SSD to SSD, especially because they are fast already. But from an older HDD to an SSD, you’ll certainly feel the difference, as will you upgrading from an older PCIe standard to a newer generation.
Upgrading your storage device to an SSD is a pretty easy task. Determine whether you want an NVMe or SSD, but be sure it can be supported on your device. Not all computers or laptops allow the use of an NVMe drive due to the lack of an available port.
After selecting the device you want, you will need to transfer data from your original SSD to a new one. Admittedly, transferring your data can be an infuriating process, though, with the help of this HDD to SSD guide, it shouldn’t be as tedious.
Switch Out Your Drive for Faster Speeds
With the price of computer parts in recent times, upgrading your main components cannot be done as cheaply anymore. One of the cheaper components in the grand scheme of things is your storage device. SSDs can be found for a hundred dollars or two, depending on the storage size you want. As shown above, testing your disk speeds is a rather easy process and can be done with or without internet access for most operating systems. With the choice of onboard software or third-party, the information is at your fingertips.
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