How to interpret HDTune results? - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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How to interpret HDTune results?

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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So I snagged HDTune 2.55 and ran it to see what I could find out about my drives. smile.gif

I used the default settings in my benchmarking - which is that the testing is biased more to "Accurate" than "Fast" and the block size is 64 KB.

What I'm now wondering is how to interpret these results... all drives are 7200 RPM unless otherwise specified.

Samsung 750 GB (boot/OS drive)

460

Hitachi 1 TB:

460

Seagate Barracuda 1 TB:

460

And finally, my Seagate Barracuda 2 TB: (5900 RPM)

460

So what are these things telling me?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 10:09 PM
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For one, your Boot Drive is probably the slowest drive in the system...

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 10:14 PM
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Here is a good temp, always always always make sure any program that will poll the HDD for a temp reading is OFF. each time the programs polls the HDD for the temp your benchmark will go all haywire. and what phill said.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 11:17 PM
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Well, your SATA controller apparently maxes out right around 120MB/sec, so don't bother getting anything faster. Why? All hard drives have that blue arc downward. Platters are circular - when a platter spins at a fixed speed the read/write head can cover more surface area on the edge, and thus reads or writes more information.

fbdaf713_HDTune_Benchmark_Hitachi_HDS721010CLA332.png

When a drive goes straight like that, it means your SATA controller is bottlenecking it. The drive is capable of higher speeds, but other parts of your computer are not.

Also, notice the yellow dots only go half-way into this benchmark?

LL

That's because HDTune v255 uses 32bit signed ints for its tests. That's approximately 2 billion; 2 billion 512b sectors equal 1TB. HDTune v255 is only testing the first half of the drive, so this Seagate drive's access times are actually far higher than it claims. (Probably a little under 19ms)


HDTune Pro actually reveals a lot more information than HDTune v255. It has a RandomAccess test that can reveal how a drive performs when reading or writing files/blocks of certain sizes. Here's an example:

hdtuneproahcirandomacce.png

These are all random reads. They involve seeking to a location on the drive (such as a file) and then reading a certain amount of data. The graph shows that when reading in 4KB chunks, my drive only manages 0.239MB/sec... ouch. But when reading slightly larger files, it's much better performing. Most games have fairly large models and textures (at least 1MB large), so that number is probably most relevant to game loadtimes.

The reason the 64KB and 4KB read scores are so low is because every read or write requires a seek before the data can be accessed. Those seeks take on average 10-25ms. 7200RPM drives are usually in the 10-18ms range, and 5400RPM drives are usually in the 15-25ms range. If a seek takes 25 ms, and there are 1000ms in a second, you can only do 40 of those per second. wink.gif

Now take a look at this graph:

hdtuneproahcibenchmarkvi.png

The sequential speeds there actually tell me a surprising amount. on the edge my drive is very near 135-150MB/sec. If you divide by 1000, you're left with 135 to 150KB/ms. This is important for understanding a drive's performance.

Lets say my drive needs to seek to a file to read it? That will take somewhere around 14-20ms on average. Reading a 4KB file would take exactly that long. Now, if the file is 250KB, because we know the KB/ms speed, we can estimate it will take 2ms extra to read all that data. If it's reading 1MB, it will take 8ms extra. (22-28ms) If it's 2MB, 16ms extra (30-36ms) In the time my drive can read two 4KB files, it can read 2MB of data sequentially. That is why hard drives love larger reads/writes, and especially love video work or screen recording.

One final thing - when only part of a drive is in use, the head can stick around closer to where it is needed. This results in lower seek times to actual data than the benchmarks claim. To help with visualizing this, you can tell HDTune Pro to "short-stroke" a drive. (only use the first part of it, up to whatever capacity)

Here's an example:

hdtuneproahcirandomacce.png

I have 500GB of games on my Steam drive, so this benchmark is actually more relevant to how my drive will perform than the farther above RandomAccess test. thumb.gif

Well, that's most of what you/I can glean from these graphs. If you have any other questions, I'll try to answer them as best I can.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 11:26 PM
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Epic post is epic. I think I have a reason to buy the full version of HD tune now. Thanks for the amazing post Kramy. + rep.


EDIT: you should make a thread to be stickied about this. Would be AMAZING.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 11:31 PM
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Hehe - thanks. biggrin.gif

Well, I'd be happy to do a writeup if someone wants one. I can go even more detailed if necessary, but the above post is probably short enough that people will actually read it. thumb.gif
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

Hehe - thanks. biggrin.gif
Well, I'd be happy to do a writeup if someone wants one. I can go even more detailed if necessary, but the above post is probably short enough that people will actually read it. thumb.gif

I bet if you did take the time to post something like that people would flip. I know a thing or two about HDD's and Benchmark programs but you just gave me something I have to keep reading to soak in. lulz.

Yes, I spell things wrong just to drive you nuts.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Very informative! I wonder why the SATA controller is limited to 120 MB/sec; my MSI board has six ports that the P55 chipset controls, and two more that are SATA 3.0 controlled by some other brand. I haven't been using the 3.0 ports, so I don't know how their performance handles.

Then again, this is a rather basic board I got to replace a troublesome Gigabyte P55 board, so it's not going to be MSI's latest and greatest. smile.gif
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

Hehe - thanks. biggrin.gif
Well, I'd be happy to do a writeup if someone wants one. I can go even more detailed if necessary, but the above post is probably short enough that people will actually read it. thumb.gif

I would LOVE a full write-up on drives.

Im fairly knowledgeable about them by OCN standards, but its one of those things(like power supplies), that im always learning more about because of how fascinated I am with the component.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilWrir View Post

I would LOVE a full write-up on drives.
Im fairly knowledgeable about them by OCN standards, but its one of those things(like power supplies), that im always learning more about because of how fascinated I am with the component.

Well put. I think the community has hinted Kramy. lulz!

Yes, I spell things wrong just to drive you nuts.

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