Tom's Storage Charts 2009: A New Test Environment

Performance: h2benchw 3.12

h2benchw was written by Harald Bögeholz, senior editor of the German magazine c’t, and has been our primary hard drive benchmark program; you can find the latest version for download on the c’t website (currently version 3.12). It is a command line tool that outputs a text file with test results. We consider this design a huge advantage, as we typically create batch files to automatically benchmark several hard drives, or to run benchmark sequences on one of multiple drives, according to our needs.

Running h2benchw

The benchmark tool requires a blank hard drive without any physical partitions. You simply open a command window and execute the file to get an overview of the benchmark options. For a regular hard drive review, we have the tool run all of the benchmarks, and we also include write tests. This requires the tool to be executed with the parameters –a (all tests) and -! (to enable write testing) and we add the parameter –w plus a file name, so the program writes all results into a results file. The command has to conclude with the physical drive number, which are numbered starting with 0. So if the test drive is the third drive, we execute “h2benchw –a -! –w testfile.txt 2”.

Typical Result Set

The following information is copied from the result set of a benchmark run with Intel’s X25-M SSD, using the latest firmware. Keep in mind that h2benchw is a German tool, which is why the default is German. There is a parameter to switch the benchmark to English, though: simply add “–english”.

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Platte:     INTEL SSDSA2MH080G1GNKapazität:  CHS=(9729/255/63), 156296385 Sektoren = 76317 MByteInterface-Transferrate mit Blockgröße 128 Sektoren bei 0.0% der Kapazität:Sequenzielle Leserate Medium (ungebremst): 219584 KByte/sSequenzielle Leserate Read-Ahead (Verzögerung: 0.32 ms): 229598 KByte/sWiederholtes sequenzielles Lesen ("Coretest"): 136489 KByte/sSequenzielle Schreibrate Medium (ungebremst): 77693 KByte/sSequenzielle Schreibrate Cache (Verzögerung: 0.91 ms): 131122 KByte/sWiederholtes sequenzielles Schreiben: 73395 KByte/sDauertransferrate (Blockgröße: 128 Sektoren):Lesen:     Mittel 216289.5, Min 201556.7, Max 226526.4 [KByte/s]Schreiben: Mittel 36717.6, Min  5890.5, Max 81008.2 [KByte/s]Zugriffszeit Lesen:     Mittel 0.11, Min 0.10, Max 0.22 [ms]Zugriffszeit Schreiben: Mittel 0.07, Min 0.05, Max 0.49 [ms]Zugriffszeit Lesen (<504 MByte):     Mittel 0.11, Min 0.10, Max 0.32 [ms]Zugriffszeit Schreiben (<504 MByte): Mittel 0.07, Min 0.05, Max 0.49 [ms]Anwendungsprofil `Swappen': 42058.1 KByte/sAnwendungsprofil `Installieren': 197091.2 KByte/sAnwendungsprofil `Word': 49618.4 KByte/sAnwendungsprofil `Photoshop': 86639.3 KByte/sAnwendungsprofil `Kopieren': 169223.3 KByte/sAnwendungsprofil `F-Prot': 74861.8 KByte/sGesamtergebnis: Anwendungsindex = 85.5ATA-Platte: INTEL SSDSA2MH080G1GNSeriennr. : CVEM8304007A080DGNFirmware  : 045C8820Standard-Version: ATA/ATAPI-7Unterstützte UDMA-Modi: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6UDMA-Mode 6 aktiviert.Kapazität (28-Bit-Adressierung): 156301488 Sektoren (76319.1 MByte)Kapazität (48-Bit-Adressierung): 156301488 Sektoren (76319.1 MByte)Akustik-Management nicht unterstützt.
Disk:       INTEL SSDSA2MH080G1GNCapacity:   CHS=(9729/255/63), 156296385 sectors = 76317 MByteInterface transfer rate w/ block size 128 sectors at 0.0% of capacity:Sequential read rate medium (w/out delay): 223248 KByte/sSequential transfer rate w/ read-ahead (delay: 0.32 ms): 228937 KByte/sRepetitive sequential read ("core test"): 118060 KByte/sSequential write rate medium (w/out delay): 76222 KByte/sSequential transfer rate write cache (delay: 0.92 ms): 149651 KByte/sRepetitive sequential write: 97497 KByte/sSustained transfer rate (block size: 128 sectors):Reading:   average 223889.8, min 200768.8, max 226779.4 [KByte/s]Writing:   average 74905.6, min 53829.7, max 79484.7 [KByte/s]Random access read:  average 0.11, min 0.10, max 0.22 [ms]Random access write: average 0.07, min 0.05, max 0.62 [ms]Random access read (<504 MByte):  average 0.11, min 0.10, max 0.28 [ms]Random access write (<504 MByte): average 0.07, min 0.05, max 0.64 [ms]Application profile `swapping': 44137.0 KByte/sApplication profile `installing': 197964.3 KByte/sApplication profile `Word': 93019.9 KByte/sApplication profile `Photoshop': 90468.3 KByte/sApplication profile `copying': 207758.2 KByte/sApplication profile `F-Prot': 74834.7 KByte/sResult: application index = 99.9ATA disk: INTEL SSDSA2MH080G1GNSerial #: CVEM8304007A080DGNFirmware: 045C8820Version of specification: ATA-ATAPI-7Supported UDMA modes: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6UDMA mode 6 active.capacity (28-bit addressing): 156301488 sectors (76319.1 MByte)Capacity (48-bit addressing): 156301488 sectors (76319.1 MByte)acoustic management not supported.

Evaluating Results

We use the text file to create a data transfer diagram for read and write operations (not shown above), and also use most of the other numbers that the benchmark provides. h2benchw provides results for typical application scenarios, such as the swapping RAM data into a swap file, installing software to the drive, running applications, copying data from and to the same drive, and a simulation of the F-Prot anti virus tool. However, we decided to use PCMark Vantage’s HDD benchmark, as its test suite is more up to date. h2benchw also returns read and write access time (Zugriffszeit) and various technical parameters, which may be helpful.