Benchmark

How to check drive read and write performance speeds on Windows 10

Is the drive on your computer performing optimally? Here’s how you can check on Windows 10.

CrystalDiskMark drive performance test on Windows 10

When you get a new device, or you’re upgrading an existing hard drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD), it’s a good idea to test their performance to ensure the drive is working as advertised.

Although you’ll find a bunch of tools out there, on Windows 10, you can also use CrystalDiskMark, which is a known tool that allows you to perform a number of tests to measure the reads and writes speeds of virtually any kind of drive.

CristalDiskMark can run sequential and random read and write tests, and it’ll display the benchmark results in megabytes/second (MB/s) and Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS), which is useful information that you can use to understand the performance of your new drive, or figure out if your old drive is losing performance.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to use the CrystalDiskMark to test the performance of your solid-state drive or traditional rotating platter hard drive.

How to measure hard drive speed performance using CrystalDiskMark

To measure a drive reads and writes performance using CrystalDiskMark, close all the running programs, and use these steps:

Warning: This is a third-party software, use it at your own risk.
  1. Download CrystalDiskMark from the Microsoft Store.

  2. Click the Install button.

  3. Open Start.

  4. Search for CrystalDiskMark and select the top result to open the app.

  5. Using the first drop-down menu on the left, select the number of runs. (If the default is 5, you can change it to 3, which is enough to get more accurate results.)

  6. Using the second drop-down menu, select the file size that the app will use to benchmark the drive. (The default selection is more than enough in most cases.)

  7. Using the third drop-down menu on the right, select the drive (HDD or SSD) that you want to test.

  8. Click the All button.

    CrystalDiskMark benchmark results
    CrystalDiskMark benchmark results

When using the All option, the tool will run all the available tests, including the sequential reads and writes and three different 4KiB random tests. If you only want to run a single test, you can click the green button on the left.

Once you’ve completed the steps, the performance tests will run on the disk for several minutes depending on the drive, and after they have been completed, you’ll see the benchmark result in megabytes/second. You can hover over the result to see the IOPS results for the tests.

If you’re not sure about the results, the “Seq” Q32T1 tests the sequential (1,2,3,4…) read and write performance of the drive.

The “4KiB” Q8T8 uses 4K file sizes to test the drive using random (2,5,7,1…) reads and writes, which are more resource intensive than the sequential test. However, this test is less demanding than Q32T1 and Q1T1 options.

The “Q” means “queue depth,” which defines the number of requests has at one point in time, and the “T” means “threats,” which defines the number of processes accessing the disk at a particular time.

Then you can compare the result with the performance information provided by the manufacturer to see if the drive is performing as advertised, or if you’re testing a drive that you had for a while, you can figure out if it’s time for a newer and faster replacement.

If you’re ready for a replacement or you just want a faster drive, here are a couple good choices to bump the speed from your HDD or SSD (if you go with the M.2 drive):

It’s worth noting that CrystalDiskMark (or any other third-party software) will only give you an approximate estimate of the real-world performance. Also, typically, you want to benchmark a drive when isn’t being used. Trying to test the drive, which includes your installation of Windows 10, may cause inconsistent results.