DiskTester™ is a 64-bit application which tests drive performance and reliability for single volumes or RAID. Some highlights:
- The fill-volume command is your smart move for forcing bad blocks to be mapped out whenever you get a new hard drive, as well as for graphing performance across the volume*;
- The recondition command brings your solid state drive (SSD) back up in performance.
- The run-streams command helps video users determine if their hardware can support multiple video streams.
DiskTester can also be used for testing digital camera cards, network performance, or comparing single-drive performance with SATA, Fire Wire and USB. Its sophisticated testing approach offers the most consistent and reliable results available on the Mac today.
* Graph template provided in Microsoft Excel format.
Below is a sampling of what DiskTester offers. For more background on hard drive performance, see Why You Need More Space Than You Need.
- recondition — Recondition an SSD for better performance. Read why.
- fill-volume—Fill a volume to capacity, reporting on performance with the side effect of forcing bad blocks to be mapped out.
- run-streams — Test throughput with multiple simultaneous streams of data, both writing and reading.
- run-area-test — Test sequential write/ read speed across a volume.
- run-sequential — Test sequential write and read speed for any size data transfer.
- run-sequential-suite — Test sequential write and read speed for any size data transfer.
- test-reliability — Test reliability and data integrity by writing/verifying an entire volume, or a portion.
- read-files — Read files at the highest possible speed, reporting on performance, and verifying that files can be read (e.g., a DVD or DC that might be bad).
- create-files — Create files of a specified size.
- show-info — Show technical information about a volume.
Both a GUI and a command-line interface are supplied. Most users will find the GUI suits their needs. For full control over test parameters, DiskTester can be run in Terminal as a command line interface. Please see the DiskTester User Manual for details.
Who uses DiskTester? PERMALINK
DiskTester is used for internal testing by several manufacturers of RAID and SATA hardware cards to test their products as well as several performance-review sites.
Utilized by performance-review site barefeats.com
DiskTester is frequently used by the popular Macintosh performance test site barefeats.com, which began using DiskTester when it was first released. To date, a number of performance reviews at barefeats.com have used DiskTester.
“[DiskTester] has turned out to be an invaluable tool for simulating capture
and playback of DV footage”
—April 15, 2005 "Speed Tests".
Here is a small sampling of performance reviews at barefeats.com which have used DiskTester (partial list, there are many more reviews using DiskTester):
- Sonnet’s PCI Express SATA Host Adapter with Port Multiplication
- Fibre Channel Video RAID from Medea
- Sonnet Tempo-X eSATA 8 Port External PCI-X Host Adapter
- HighPoint RocketRAID PCI-X host adapter
- TransIntl's SwiftData 200 Puts 5 Drives INSIDE A G5 Power Mac
- What Set of Four SATA Drives Creates The Fastest RAID 0 (striped) Set?
- G5 Jam ROCKS!
- Four Drive RAID on the G5: Ultra 320 SCSI vs. Serial ATA vs. Fire Wire 800
- Sonnet Lobs A Bombshell Called 'Tempo-X 4+4' Into The SATA Arena
Utilized by AMUG
The Macintosh users group AMUG also uses DiskTester for testing. Here are a few of the reviews that use DiskTester (partial list, there are many, many more reviews using DiskTester as of November 2008)
- Quiet 5 Bay eSATA Port Multiplier Enclosure
- Five Drive eSATA Port Multiplier Upgrade
- Port Multiplier PCIe SATA II Host Adapter
- Hardware 128-bit DES Hard Drive Encryption
- Dual Bay eSATA Enclosure & Disk
- Adding a Drive Bay to the Power Mac G5 Quad
- Macintosh Drive Wars
- FirmTek SeriTek/2eEN4
- Build Your Own Four Bay Enclosure
- WiebeTech eSATA Four-bay Enclosure
- The Ultimate SATA Mac mini
- Four Bay SATA Enclosure
Are there any risks? PERMALINK
DiskTester cannot directly harm your files or data. But backup first, since a flaky system can crash, which can lead to problems.
- By design, DiskTester operates at the file-system level as a normal user program to provide real-world results.
- DiskTester does not run with special permissions.
- DiskTester does not install or use any kernel extensions or driver.
- DiskTester does not write over existing files, or ever open files as writable (except for its own test files).
DiskTester operates strictly within temporary test file(s) that it creates and/or opens existing files read-only (e.g., for the read-files command). This fact is a key design aspect, to eliminate any chance of error.
However, DiskTester does offer intensive testing, and a flaky system can freeze or crash during a test— that’s one testing goal— provoking such latent problems so they don’t bite you later. In most cases, system flakiness is manifested as test errors reported during testing by DiskTester
For the most thorough test of entire drives, you’ll want to test using empty, freshly-erased volumes. And of course it’s sensible to keep current backups at all times, DiskTester or not.
If a test cannot run reliably or successfully, this indicates a hardware or driver problem. Detecting such problems is one major design goal of DiskTester. DiskTester is robust and exercises drives rigorously, giving you advance warning of latent problems.
Drive problems can be caused by bad memory, bad hard drives, or PCI cards and cables to which drives are attached. DiskTester cannot diagnose such problems, it can only detect failures. In most cases, errors are reported, but with some bad drives the system could freeze or hang. DiskTester cannot prevent such hardware failures, nor can it control them.