Windows XP - Service Life Extension Project - Part 3
March 17th, 2014
Hard Disk Drives versus Solid State Drives: Utilities, Benchmarks, Testing tools and Screen shots.
Before I put any newly purchased hard drive into service I perform about 9 hours of testing for a 1TB drive. The test utilities include the drive manufacture’s test software (Western Digital, Seagate, Hitachi, Etc.). If the drive passed the manufacture’s test then I check the S.M.A.R.T. values, next I run a performance and read test using HD Tune’s free version 2.55 and recheck the SMART values for any signs of degrading drive health conditions. Next I perform a “full” format of the drive and again check the SMART values. Finally I run Passmark’s BurnIn test software which on a 1TB drive performs over 2 trillion read / write operations and good drive should not have any errors displayed after the test has completed. One final check of the SMART values and then the drive is put into service. Sounds like drive test overkill, but before I trust any drive with my data it should not have a problem passing all these tests.
Note: Most of this is unnecessary for a Solid State Drive. Just the manufacture’s test software, SSD Life to check the SMART values and HD Tune’s read benchmark are performed.
Click on the picture to expand it. You will note that I've pointed to the S.M.A.R.T values (which should have a value of zero) that are the most critical. The power on hours (2437 hours) for this drive is normal for a PC that was used 8 hours a day for about a year or 4 hours a day every day for nearly 2 years.
This drive was just put into service after testing, installing Windows 7, all the Windows Updates and a few applications. Again notice the critical SMART values still have value of zero. Should any one of these show something more than zero then the drive could be showing signs of an early failure.
Indicates the rate of hardware read errors that occurred when reading data from a disk surface. Sometimes a defective data cable can cause this problem but on this drive changing the cable did not help. Drive is ready for the scrap heap.
This business leaves their Windows XP computer on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 7 years. One bad sector was found and mapped out of use, but once a bad sector is found more are soon to follow. The drive was replaced.
Drive surface scan test (HD Tune ‘Error Scan’):
This is what a good drive should look, solid green from beginning to end.
This is what a surface test shows on a drive that is failing and has bad sectors. The drive should be replaced immediately.
If this is a newly purchased drive then you should return it to the place you purchased it from.
I like to see how my old and new drives compare performance wise. HD Tune’s free version include a basic ‘Read’ test, it’s not what is considered an extensive benchmark but it’s good enough to see the basic difference between various hard drives and hard drive versus Solid State Drives. The paid version HD Tune Pro is more up to date and offers more options.