Benchmark: How to know your Hard disk speed on Ubuntu in 4 clicks?

Recently I thought of testing the hard disk performance with hdparm command, which initiated to write about this graphical way of running Read Benchmark in just 3 mouse clicks with Disk Utility in Ubuntu. Disk Management in Ubuntu has become easy with Palimpsest tool called Disk Utility. Apart from disk partition management, it does SMART tests to know the health of hard disk and also it remote disk management.

hdparm is a nice tool to run on command line and Palimpsest is for GUI people. Let’s see how to get it done in both the ways. My system is Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick-Beta).

Command line way (hdparm)

Following is my console session on running test on /dev/sda hard disk. It is basically Sequential Read test.

blackgod@blackgod-laptop:~/$ sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda
[sudo] password for blackgod:
Timing buffered disk reads:  182 MB in  3.02 seconds =  60.36 MB/sec

Graphical tool way (Palimpsest)

1. Ubuntu Main Menu -> System -> Administration -> Disk Utility

The application has Disk drives in left pane and information and tools for the drive in right pane.

2. Select your hard disk at left pane.

3. Now you should see “Benchmark – Measure Drive Performance” button at right side. Click this button.

4. Now you should get a new window with charts as main content and two buttons. One is for “Start Read Only Benchmark” and another one is “Start Read/Write Benchmark”. Clicking this button starts benchmarking the hard disk and plot the results as shown below.

In case of your disk has some partitions (normally), it can do only “Read-Only” tests. It can’t do “Read/Write” tests. In this case it will display the following error message.

If you are interested in Write test on partitioned disk, you may refer IOMeter. Soon I will post more on IOMeter and other Write benchmark tests.

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