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 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).
256GB Transcend Linear Read Results
We run the AIDA64 linear read and write tests with a 1M block size. Charted above, read performance on the 256GB Samsung external SSD returned average speeds of 417MB/s. The performance is very linear, with none of the larger spikes I’m used to seeing, except for a dramatic dip down to 70MB/s near the end.
AIDA64 linear write-to tests were next…
256GB Transcend Linear Write Results
Again we see a very linear overall performance from this drive (here, as in some of the other benchmarks, the drive is identified as a “StoreJet” for some reason. Perhaps Transcend is OEMing the controller.)
The linear write performance begs comparison to the Samsung T3, which suffered a dramatic throughput drop partway through the test as shown below:
Although the Transcend results look better, check out the average throughput numbers: 311.8MB/s for the Transcend and 318.6 for the Samsung. The Samsung’s dropoff happens about 32% through its 500GB capacity, or at about the 150GB mark, so you’re unlikely to run into it unless you’re writing very large files.
The chart below shows the average linear read and write bandwidth speeds for a cross-section of storage devices tested with AIDA64. The overall performance of the Transcend drive just barely edges out the Samsung T3.
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…