How Fast Is That External Drive? Find Out With Disk Speed Test [OS X Tips]

Disk Speed Test

I’ve just picked up one of those fancy USB 3 drives to use with my Macbook Air as a sort of secondary backup when I travel, as it was so inexpensive for a 120 Gb drive. I wanted to know how much faster it might be, even on my non-USB 3 Air, than the run of the mill USB drive that you can pick up for a few bucks at the local electronics store, or get as a giveaway at a tech conference, for example. I also wanted to see how fast the new SSD drive that I installed in my Macbook Air was, just for kicks.

I wasn’t sure how to measure the relative speed of these drives, though, until I found out about Disk Speed Test from the fine folks over at OS X Daily. I was able to check the speed of my fast USB drive, my internal SSD drive, and an external USB-powered drive, and compare them all, which is pretty peachy.

Here’s how it works.

Download Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test for free from the Mac App Store, and let it install on your Mac. Once you’ve pulled it down via the magic of the internet, launch the app.

Now, click on the gear icon there in the middle, and select Select Target Drive from the pop-up menu there. Navigate to the disk you want to test, and hit OK. Next, hit the Speed Test Start button right there in the middle. Disk Speed Test will test the drive speed for you, both read and write speeds, and report them to you in the speedometer-style areas at the top as well as the various columns at the bottom, which are ostensibly telling you how well your disk drive will work with various formats and sizes of video.

Do the same thing with all the drives you want to test, and you’ll then know, relatively, which ones will work faster.

My USB 3 thumb drive performed pretty well over a much smaller USB 2 drive, and (of course) the internal SSD was mega super fast. This is good info to have, in my opinion.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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