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How do I benchmark my SSD? These free tools do it all

Samsung 990 Pro SSDImage: Samsung

Fast solid-state drives (SSDs) have now almost completely replaced classic hard disc drives (HDDs) in PCs and notebooks. In this guide, we reveal which SSD tips you should definitely know so that you can get even more out of your mass storage device.

Speed measurement

To ensure that the SSD you purchased achieves at least the performance specifications advertised by the manufacturer in terms of transfer rates and access times, you should use an appropriate SSD benchmark. The best programs for this purpose are:

CrystalDiskMarkAS SSD BenchmarkATTO Disk BenchmarkAmorphousDiskMarkIntel IOMETERKDiskMark

With these small tools, it’s possible to determine all relevant performance parameters of an SSD and then compare them accordingly. You should check whether your SSD fulfils the following manufacturer specifications in full:

Sequential readSequential writingSequential copying

You should also take a look at the drive information, including the corresponding S.M.A.R.T. values, as these reveal whether your SSD is actually a new storage medium.

Crystalmark

Once you have checked the performance of your SSD, you are already quite a bit further along and can concentrate on the next step.

Application performance

In addition to the more theoretical sequential performance values, the highest possible application performance of your new SSD in programs and games is of primary importance to you as a user. You can determine this in several ways.

To get an initial rough idea of the application performance of your SSD, we recommend the PCMark 10 benchmark. The benchmark from UL Solutions was specially developed for Windows 10 and Windows 11 and tests and compares the latest SSDs with special storage benchmarks that simulate the actual storage requirements in everyday use.

UL Solutions

The PCMark 10 SSD benchmark determines the relevant parameters of all SSDs installed in the system and compares them with the numerous reference values from UL Solutions’ huge SSD database. This allows performance bottlenecks and potential bottlenecks to be quickly identified and subsequently rectified.

Stability test

Testing an SSD for stability is no trivial task, as errors and stability problems with flash memory cells cannot be easily detected and often only become apparent in the system during everyday use.

However, to ensure the highest possible stability of your SSD, you should fulfil a few basic requirements that can reduce later problems to a minimum.

Update the firmware of your SSD to the latest version and use one of the following manufacturer tools, depending on the manufacturer:

Samsung MagicianWestern Digital Drive UtilitiesCorsair Solid State Drive ToolboxCrucial Crucial Storage Executive ToolKingston SSD Manager AppGIGABYTE SSD ToolboxADATA SSD Toolbox

Once the firmware of your SSD is up to date, restart your system and then restart the manufacturer’s tool.

Lifetime

Now it’s time to get an approximate idea of the possible lifespan of your SSD. You can also use the manufacturer’s tools or applications such as the powerful CrystalDiskInfo tool for this.

The “Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology”, the so-called S.M.A.R.T. values, are of particular interest here. Pay particular attention to the following parameters:

ConditionTemperaturesUDMA error rateEnd-to-end errorReported uncorrectable errorsMedia and data integrity errorsUnsafe shutdownsCritical warningsS.M.A.R.T. status

To ensure that the SSD you have purchased is really new, the following parameters should also be included:

Overall conditionNumber of operating hoursNumber of switch-on and switch-off operationsNumber of write, read, and copy operationsSerial number and firmware

CrystalMark

The manufacturer tools and third-party software can also be used to check whether your SSD is correctly configured and connected in terms of the interface and transfer mode.

Note: An independent Google study, which ran for nine months and included all manufacturers and a total of 100,000 drives, produced the following result: Taking all relevant parameters into account, 64 percent of all failures can be predicted with S.M.A.R.T.

The best SSDs

Switching to an SSD is the best upgrade you can make to your computer: An SSD will speed up boot times, improve the responsiveness of your programs and games, and generally make your computer feel faster.

But which SSD is the best for your system? We’ll tell you.

Further reading: The best SSDs

We also give you useful information on what you should look for when buying an SSD.

This article was translated from German to English and originally appeared on pcwelt.de.

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