Benchmarking your hard drive

ATTO - “The industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage connectivity products” has great products and an excellent benchmarking utility that measures your hard drive’s I/O read/write ability.

Here’s a quick look at a laptop with Windows 7 vs. Server 2008 R2

Dell’s latest 5520 inspiron laptop
6 Gb Memory
500 Gb (Seagate)

Benchmarking

Results

Results2

Server 2008 R2 Custom
8 Gb RAM
2 TB Seagate Hard drive

BenchmarkingServer

Results

ResultsServer

Also see our #1 post on Hard Drive Benchmarking (other utilites)

Measure your hard drive speed using Winsat

When tweaking your computer, you can use typical utilities found in one of our most active posts or you can use Winsat.   Winsat will not give you fancy graphs but it will give a Windows rating and a time to complete specific tests.  This can be a way of measuring your drives between tweaks.

At a command prompt run the following tweak as an administrator:

winsat disk -drive c                 (you can substitute c with the drive letter of your choice)

Measure Your Hard Drive or Network Transfer Speed

DiskBench was designed to measure your hard drive speed but can be used to measure your network transfer speed realistically.  With DiskBench, you can use this freeware utility to measure your hard drive speed in my opinion more in accurately because of the way it is designed.

Features

Copy File
Copy Directory
Create File
Read File
Create File Bench

Enter a UNC path to a shared folder and measure your network transfer speed.

Improve your laptop hard drive speed

This tip has been around for a while but your risk data loss in a power failure if your computer isn’t on a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) is increased.   Because laptops have a battery, this can be an ideal setting.

  1. Right Click on Computer and select Manage
  2. Click on Device Manager
  3. Expand Disk Drives
  4. Right click on the hard drive and select Properties for that hard drive (you can also double click the drive
  5. On the Policies tab:
    Check Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device
  6. Hit OK and close the Device Manager

 

 

Improve Hard Drive Performance in Windows 7

You may be able to improve your hard drive’s performance in Windows 7 by using this registry tweak.   Like any registry tweak, you should have all of your files backed up and make a restore point before trying this out.

Computer hard drives are connected to the controller on the motherboard of the computer.  A lot of computers today may have the hard drive configured to use the older IDE interface protocol to communicate with the SATA drive.

If your new hard drive supports NCQ (Native Command Queuing)you may see a performance increase with the drive by following the tweaks below.

An easy solution to switch between IDE and AHCI is to change the following registry key.

Before doing this see if your BIOS has AHCI capabilities

  1. Open Registry Editor and move down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci.
  2. Right click on the Start DWORD and click on Modify.
  3. Set the value to 0 and click OK.
  4. Reboot your computer and enable the AHCI setting the BIOS.

If you are using a RAID adapter on your computer you may try the following:

  1. Open up Registry Editor and naviage to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStorV or the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\iaStor.
  2. Repeat all of the steps above.

Testing your hard drive speed (blog)

Test Your Hard Drive Speed With Windows 7′s Device Manager

Don’t forget, the fastest hard drive without IPv6 ….check your network  info here

Partition your HDD to improve performance.  Web Server Example.

Do you have a SSD Drive?  Here’s the optimization tips.

Test Your Hard Drive Speed With Windows 7′s Device Manager – You can test your hard drive speed by going to the Device Manager, Expanding the Hard Drive Controllers, select the Port and Click on the Test button.  Make it Faster with (Free – See our Review) DiskMax and Defrag with Auslogics.

How about Roadkil.net’s Disk Speed?   A nice little program if your hard drive test isn’t listed under the device manager.

Also check your computer’s hard drive with CheckDiskGUI.

Parkdale


Measure your hard drive speed using Winsat

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When tweaking your computer, you can use typical utilities found in one of our most active posts or you can use Winsat.   Winsat will not give you fancy graphs but it will give a Windows rating and a time to complete specific tests.  This can be a way of measuring your drives between tweaks.

At a command prompt run the following tweak as an administrator:

winsat disk -drive c                 (you can substitute c with the drive letter of your choice)

ATTO – “The industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage connectivity products” has great products and an excellent benchmarking utility that measures your hard drive’s I/O read/write ability.

Here’s a quick look at a laptop with Windows 7 vs. Server 2008 R2

Dell’s latest 5520 inspiron laptop
6 Gb Memory
500 Gb (Seagate)

Benchmarking

Results

Results2

Server 2008 R2 Custom
8 Gb RAM
2 TB Seagate Hard drive

BenchmarkingServer

Results

ResultsServer

 

What about caching programs to speed you up even more?

I’m always cautious when I hear about caching programs.  Mickey sent me Bill Mullin’s link over to TechRepublic where Romex’s FancyCache is reviewed.

In its Beta release, FancyCache offers a simplex program that uses unused memory to boost the speed of your hard drive.  But does it work?  Yes.  My Dell Inspirion is already fast, but with FancyCache, programs do open quicker and the computer is even more responsive.  With the ability to tweak how I wanted to cache, I used 2gb of the 6gb of RAM on board in the settings.

The default settings alone were convincing enough to show how my computer sped up after a few minutes of use.   Although my computer is a 64bit laptop, the caching methods used and the read/write cache algorithms did boost performance.

FancyCache is certainly beneficial for 32 bit users who are locked in at 3gb of RAM.   FancyCache can take advantage of memory above this limit to speed up your computer.   And whether you do or don’t elect to install FancyCache, at least tweak your settings in a 32 bit computer to tweak your memory.  (See our Link)

The only problem I had was once I downloaded the software, it said it was expired.   A quick check on their website and keys can be obtained here.   The latest key is valid until July 2013.

Will I buy this product?  I’m not sure yet, time and use of Fancycache will tell.

Fancy

What about SSD Drives?   Are they faster?

Yes, ATTO on an OCZ Vertex 3

Notice this Benchmark compared to the Seagate 6 Gb/s (above) that was at 70 MB/s this is a 75% increase in speed.

SSD

How to measure your hard drive speed.

Phrases you may hear in IT

Check out AMD vs Intel Quad Core Standoff 64 bit Windows 7, 8 gb of RAM 500 gb Seagate Hard Drives

Overclock your Nvidia video card   … Link

Upgrading Your Hard Drives Firmware

Find updates for drivers to improve your hard drive speed!

Want to Benchmark your hard drive with Ubuntu?

Improve your laptop hard drive speed

Improve Hard Drive Performance in Windows 7

What’s a fast computer on a slow network?  Learn the basics of subnetting without using binary!

Take a look at how we optimize our computers…

See our review of Windows 8 and see how you can run 90% of your programs, virtualize other operating systems, use your network and more.

Check your hard drive with CheckDiskGUI  (Credit to Bill Mullins for finding this)

Now go and Tweak your wireless settings!

Collect detailed information about your drives and files.

What If I Have a SSD Drive?

Have you recently purchased and cloned your old HDD with a new SSD?  Here’s some tips. (Updated!)

  • Make sure your SATA controller is set to AHCI mode.
    Set AHCI mode in the BIOS if this is not enabled and make changes to the registry (first)
    AHCI is needed for native TRIM support in Windows 7.  This allows TRIM to do its job

Device Manager

  • Click on the Start
  • Control Panel
  • Device manager
  • IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers
  • Do you see the AHCI controller?

How do you enable AHCI?

Before doing the process below,  see if your BIOS has AHCI capabilities (Windows 7)

  1. Open Registry Editor and move down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci.
  2. Right click on the Start DWORD and click on Modify.
  3. Set the value to 0 and click OK.
  4. Reboot your computer and enable the AHCI setting the BIOS.  Another restart will be required to finish the driver installation.

 

The next step is to enable TRIM. Type the following command in a command prompt to enable TRIM:

fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

Next, turn off Defragmentation.  These drives should not be defragged.

Next, turn off indexing.  This causes unnecessary writes.

Next, Click on Start  -Right-Click Computer – Manage – Services and Applications – Services -Right-Click Windows Search – Properties  Find the Startup type – Select Disabled – Click OK.

(The above disables the “search indexer”)

Windows Search

Next

Click on Start – Computer – Right click on your SSD – Properties – Uncheck Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties – Click OK.

Drive Index

Next

  1. Right Click on Computer and select Manage
  2. Click on Device Manager
  3. Expand Disk Drives
  4. Right click on the hard drive and select Properties for that hard drive (you can also double click the drive
  5. On the Policies tab:
    Check Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device
  6. Hit OK and close the Device Manager

Next, if you have 6 GB of RAM or more, disable the page file if it is the only drive.  If you have a second drive, point the Paging file at the other non-SSD drive

Finally disable Superfetch and Prefetch on the drive (Official Microsoft Article)

Click on Start Menu – Right-Click Computer – Properties – Advanced System Settings – Advanced Tab – Performance Settings – Advanced Tab – Click Change under Virtual Memory – Uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives – Click on No paging file – Click Set – OK – Restart your computer. (Always check your pc to see if the 6 GB or more is OK. This will be based on programs that are running)

Check for the latest firmware!

SUMMARY

Load Windows Server or Windows 7 on the SSD drive.  Optimize the SSD and complete these actions.

  • Open a command prompt and “Run as administrator”. Next, type in the command “Fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify”
    This will take care of TRIM
  • Don’t defrag the drive (SSD)
  • Turn off indexing
  • Disable Superfetch and Prefetch on the drive (Official Microsoft Article)
  • Move the pagefile to one of the mechanical drives
  • Install programs to other drives on Windows Server
  • Small databases such as Quickbooks or Access databases can be used on the SSD 
    (If you have thousands of logins to your shared database daily, consider moving the databases to one of the storage drives)
  • Ensure your computer has AHCI enabled in the BIOS AND in the Registry (Make sure you enable in the registry first AFTER verifying your BIOS supports AHCI)

While you’re at it, optimize your CPU

http://ttcshelbyville.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/what-is-core-parking-and-should-you-adjust-it/

Partition your hard drive for optimization

Gamers and IT professionals along with home users that are power users can significantly improve HDD performance by shrinking the partitions on their HDDs.

By using the Disk Management utility in Windows you can shrink large HDDs as needed to increase performance.

How does this work?

For optimal system performance on an IIS server, you should install Windows and IIS on one drive and data on another drive.  When you install Windows, you can partition the entire drive with the full amount and use disk management to shrink the drive later OR you can give yourself enough space +30% for temp files (etc.).  By shrinking the drive, this optimizes the drive by not only placing files where they should go but allows the drive to become efficient by having only a certain amount to index and read.

The same should be done for the data drive.  You can extend the partition as data grows and space is needed.

Hopefully my math is right on the percentages…

Windows IIS Partition (Before and After)

Western Digital Black Edition WDC2002FAEX 2TB

HD Tune 5.0 (read test)      FULL 2 TB partition        Shrank to 1 TB     Increase or Decrease
Average transfer rate

80.1 MBps

119.9 MBps

34.2%

Minimum transfer rate

42.2 MBps

50.0 MBps

16.00%

Maximum transfer rate

123.4 MBps

143.1 MBps

14.8%

Burst rate

184.6 MBps

197.3 MBps

6.50%

Access time*

13.2 ms

10.1 ms

24.00%

Data Drive (Before and After)

HD Tune 5.0 (read test)      FULL 2 TB partition        Shrank to 1 TB     Increase or Decrease
Average transfer rate

94.1 MBps

113.9 MBps

17.4%

Minimum transfer rate

48.7 MBps

69.3 MBps

29.8%

Maximum transfer rate

131.4 MBps

143.3 MBps

8.3%

Burst rate

189.8 MBps

190.7 MBps

.50%

Access time*

11.2 ms

9.6 ms

14.3%

IIS using HD Tune 2.55

IIS

Data Drive using HD Tune 2.55

Data

Test your HDD Software (Freeware)

Notes:

Partitioning SSD drives will show a gain, but because of the economics behind SSDs at this time, it may not be economically feasible.  SSD drives can be optimized in other ways.

Linux and Apple drives can be optimized by partitioning.

Golden Rule – Do not use the unallocated amount.  Save it for growth or files that are not accessed often.

How to Shrink or Extend a partition

Slow Network – Windows Vista or Windows 7

Estimated time to transfer files 6hrs …. yep 6hrs and I think it might just take that long…

OK, this can’t be right.  I installed Vista at home on a 2GHZ 768mb RAM computer and it is great!  Now at work, I have a dual core 4GHZ 2Gb RAM PC and copying files and networking is horribly slow.

Here’s a couple of solutions…to help you.  Try one thing at a time and reboot after netsh

-
Vista’s and 7′s  issues with slow browsing and network operations can be the new TCP Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level – You must run the cmd command as the administrator.

To turn off AutoTuning -  Go to a command prompt (run cmd)
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=off or use
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

-
Remote Differential Compression (RDC) allows applications to synchronize data between two computers.   Turn it off….Start >> Control Panel >> Programs and Features
Click on ” Turn windows features on or off” on the left side of the panel
Takes a sec to load all the features
Uncheck “Remote Differential Compression”

-
Make sure you’ve got the latest drivers for ALL your hardware components.

-
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929868

-
Adjust your network card under the Device Manager-

Right click on your network card and go to properties
Select the Advanced tab
Select the Link Speed/Duplex Mode property.
Try Auto Negotiation.
Try 100Mbps/Full Duplex or 100Mbps/Half duplex
It is safe to try these alternative settings to see which setting works best for your PC’s Network card.

-

On last thing for performance
Go into Device Manager, open the properties windows for your HDD, select policies, check the box that says “enable advanced performance”.

Cross your fingers…

Free Up Memory on Vista

In Windows Vista or 7-

 1- press start
2- type services.msc in the search bar
3- if UAC prompts, press ok
4- scroll down to letter “D” so that you can find “Desktop Window Manager Session Manager”
5- right click on the service and click on “stop”
6- then right click again on the service and choose “properties”
7- on the “general” tab, select startup type as “Disabled”
8- press OK and exit…
9- you will realize the changes just after you do this process
10- just to inform, doing this process causes lack of visuality such as the transparency disappears etc…

How to Clear Memory when your computer is running for a while – See Post on How To Here