How to Test the Read and Write Speed of an External Drive or USB Flash Drive

If you want to determine the performance of an external drive, such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive, you can easily test its read and write speed using third-party applications. This guide will walk you through two options: Disk Speed Test and Xbench. These tools allow you to compare the speed of your external drives and assess their suitability for tasks like Time Machine backups, running applications, or playing games.

Testing Read and Write Speed with Disk Speed Test

Disk Speed Test is a straightforward application that can be used to compare the performance of SSDs, standard hard drives, and external drives. Follow these steps to test your external drive:

  • Connect your external drive (USB, Thunderbolt, Firewire, etc.) to your Mac.
  • Download and launch the free Disk Speed Test app from the Mac App Store.
  • Click the gear icon in the middle of the app and select “Select Destination Drive.” Choose the external drive you want to test.
  • Click “Start” to initiate the speed test and let it run for a few minutes.

The results of the test will be displayed in the “How fast” section on the right side of the app, showing both the write and read speeds. You can also adjust the file size for testing by selecting the appropriate option from the “Stress” menu.

Testing Read and Write Speed with Xbench

Xbench is another option for testing the read and write speeds of your external drive. It is a free application that provides a simple and user-friendly interface. Here’s how to use it:

  • Connect the external drive to your Mac and ensure it is formatted for OS X.
  • Download Xbench for free from the developer’s website.
  • Open the downloaded DMG file and launch (copy it to your /Applications/ folder if necessary).
  • In the Xbench app, deselect all options except for the disk test.
  • From the Volume menu, select your external drive and click “Start” to begin the benchmark tests.

Once the tests are completed, you’ll see the results in the “Disk Tests” section, which includes consecutive read and write tests as well as random read and write tests using different file block sizes.

Remember that the performance of external drives may be slower compared to internal drives. Various factors, such as the type of drive (flash, SSD, traditional spinner) and the type of connection (USB, Thunderbolt, etc.), can affect the read and write speeds of external drives. However, for most tasks, the speed of an external drive can still be considered acceptable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the purpose of testing the read and write speed of an external drive?

Testing the read and write speed of an external drive allows you to assess its performance and determine if it meets your specific needs, such as running applications or backups efficiently.

2. Are there any specific requirements for performing these tests?

These tests can be performed on Apple devices running macOS or iOS. Simply connect your external drive to your Mac and follow the instructions provided for each testing method.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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