Showdown of USB Benchmarking Tools

By · Friday, February 25th, 2011

Showdown of USB Benchmarking ToolsNot all USB drives are created equal just like all USB benchmarking programs are not created equal. Whether you just don’t have the time to spend figuring out which benchmark program is best or don’t feel confident enough to evaluate and judge the many different programs, do not worry. We here at Premium USB have decided to put 5 popular USB benchmarking tools through the ringer and see which one comes out on top.

We will be judging 5 programs from 5 criteria and giving them a value of 1-5. The programs are HD Tune, Flash Memory Toolkit, Crystal Disk Mark, HD Speed, and Check Flash. The criteria we will be judging them from are listed below.

Ease of Use: exactly how easy is the program to use? Does it make things confusing or is it so user friendly that you can fly through the testing procedures?

Test Diversity: Does the program have different tests or modes? Can we change the testing elements on the drive? Are there any other tests the program can perform?

Understandability: How easy is it to understand the results? Does it make you more confused or spell it out for you so a child could understand the results?

Graphics: How visually appealing is it? Does it display the testing in real time or does it just give you the results graphically after the testing is performed?

Overall Score: How well did the benchmarking tool perform overall?

Individual Benchmark Results

HD Tune

HD Tune Benchmarking Tool
Ease of Use: 5
Test Diversity: 2
Understandability: 4
Graphics: 3
Overall Score: 3.5

HD Tune proved to be a rather easy to use and easy to understand benchmarking tool. All of the results were viewable in a real time graph and the test results were displayed on the right nicely. Although the test diversity was low and the graphics were not necessarily thrilling, we gave this program an overall score of 3.5 as it gave you exactly what you needed to know, and not much else. Perfect for beginners and advanced users alike.

Flash Memory Toolkit

Flash Memory Toolkit Benchmarking Tool
Ease of Use: 1
Test Diversity: 5
Understandability: 4
Graphics: 4
Overall Score: 3.5

Flash Memory Toolkit was hands down the most diverse benchmarking tool we came across. It had multiple different tests you could run as well as even file recovery, eraser, backup features and more. It was fairly easy to understand what was going on in real time and the graphics were much better than expected. However, this program has a trial version and a paid version so most of the features were locked to us (including a Write test function). Due to being locked out of many functions, we had to award the Ease of use category a 1.

Also you will notice in our screenshots buttons were blacked out and it became a little troublesome to figure out what they did.

Crystal Disk Mark

Crystal Disk Mark Benchmarking Tool
Ease of Use: 4
Test Diversity: 5
Understandability: 4
Graphics: 3
Overall Score: 4

Crystal Disk Mark proved to be a pretty powerful tool. It was fairly easy to understand the types of tests the program could perform as well as it gave a numerical read out of the results. The numbers were large and easy to read. Crystal Disk Mark did lose some points in the graphical category because despite its clean interface, there was no graph of any kind or any other real time results other than watching the bold numbers jump up and down.

HD Speed

HD Speed Benchmarking Tool
Ease of Use: 3
Test Diversity: 2
Understandability: 3
Graphics: 2
Overall Score: 2.5

HD Speed was not as jaw dropping as some of the other programs in terms of graphics or test diversity, but still proved to be a reliable program. It has a real time graphical display updating the user of where the drives performance was at every second during the test; however, the program’s interface was small and a little straining on the eyes. HD Speed scored low on test diversity because although you could change the block size for your testing, you were not able to test the read/write test simultaneously in a readable fashion. This is because when testing the read/write as noted in our screen shot, it combines both values into a single number leaving us to have to test the read and write speeds separately to obtain a measurable result.

Check Flash

Check Flash Benchmarking Tool
Ease of Use: 2
Test Diversity: 3
Understandability: 3
Graphics: 1
Overall Score: 2.25

Check Flash was an interesting program that proved rather difficult to understand graphically. It had a Log and Legend tab, but unfortunately both were separate from the actual graph so understanding what was being displayed was a pain. Despite the fiasco that was the graph, the test results were legible and easy to understand. As for ease of Use, the program was not all that easy to figure out. It took some trial and error to realize what we were testing and how we were testing it for a measurable result.

As for Test Diversity, it scored fairly well as it offered some unique testing options not seen on other tests. We gave this particular benchmarking tool a 3 for Understandability because once you could figure out what everything meant; it was not hard to measure how the results came out. The Legend also helped play a role in our value as it displayed visually what each color on the graph was for.

Best of the Best

So which programs performed the best? Well that is a matter of personal opinion as well as personal expectations, but based on what we ranked each benchmark program we found the best program for Ease of Use to be HD Tune. It was fairly easy to understand, came with the bare essentials and clearly displayed test results.

For our Test Diversity Category, Flash Memory Toolkit was our top choice due to it not only being able to test multiple different benchmarking, but it could test file benchmarking as well as provides other multiple functions that are vital to insuring your flash drive runs smoothly.

For Understandability everyone was a winner in this category except Check Flash and HD Speed. These two programs were harder to figure out how to get up and running as well as had vague or no descriptions at all of what each test were to be performing.

Graphically Flash Memory Toolkit took the cake with its much more eye appealing graphical design, its smooth colors and it’s easy to read test results. Despite the buttons being bugged on our end graphically, you can tell even from our screen shot that this program is much easier on the eyes, has a much more professional look and feel, as well as personifies top notch quality.

Overall Performance/Conclusion

As for our personal recommendation, and overall performer, we would have to go with Crystal Disk Mark. This program as per the test results, gave many different testing options, was easy to understand/use, and proved to be the overall performer. Perhaps the best part about this program is that there weren’t any shortcomings like other programs and fell in the perfect range of Ease of Use, Test Diversity, Understandability, and Graphical appeal. Oh and did we mention it’ss FREE?

What we would personally like to see with Crystal Disk Mark is to see some sort of real time graphical analysis of the flash drives performance. The giant numbers are easy to read and easy to understand, but with some sort of graphical appeal this program would have no competitors for overall value.

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