AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
Many enthusiasts are familiar with the Finalwire AIDA64 benchmark suite, but very few are aware of the Disk Benchmark tool available inside the program. The AIDA64 Disk Benchmark performs linear read and write bandwidth tests on each drive, and can be configured to use file chunk sizes up to 1MB (which speeds up testing and minimizes jitter in the waveform). Because of the full sector-by-sector nature of linear testing, Benchmark Reviews endorses this method for testing SSD products, as detailed in our Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing article. One of the advantages SSDs have over traditional spinning-platter hard disks is much more consistent bandwidth: hard disk bandwidth drops off as the capacity draws linear read/write speed down into the inner-portion of the disk platter. AIDA64 Disk Benchmark does not require a partition to be present for testing, so all of our benchmarks are completed prior to drive formatting.
Linear disk benchmarks are superior bandwidth speed tools in my opinion, because they scan from the first physical sector to the last. A side affect of many linear write-performance test tools is that the data is erased as it writes to every sector on the drive. Normally this isn’t an issue, but it has been shown that partition table alignment will occasionally play a role in overall SSD performance (HDDs don’t suffer this problem).
240GB Premier SP550 SSD Read Results
We run the AIDA64 linear read and write tests with a 1M block size. Charted above, read performance on the 240GB ADATA Premier SP550 SSD returned average speeds of 506.1MB/s.The SP550 has the smoothest, most consistent read performance on this benchmark that I’ve ever seen: note that the difference between the minimum and maximum recorded speeds is a mere 0.6MB/s. Most SSDs will have enough variance to make the line in the chart above visibly wavy.
AIDA64 linear write-to tests were next…
240GB Premier SP550 SSD Write Results
Um. Well, this is a shock: after an initial burst of almost 450MB/s, performance plummets to the lowest score I’ve ever seen from an SSD. This result was so startling that I performed a clean erase on the drive and ran it again, with identical results. Oh, that initial high-speed burst? That’s the data being written to the drive’s 256MB of cache RAM.
Linear tests are an important tool for comparing bandwidth speed between storage products, serve to highlight the consistent-bandwidth advantages of SSDs, which don’t suffer the performance drop-off that HDDs do as the test proceeds away from the fast outer edge of the disk.
In the next section we use PCMark Vantage to test real-world performance…