Hard drive benchmark tool for the Mac: AJA System Test measures hard drive speed

Here I tested my internal hard drive (SSD) in the MacBoo Pro Retina 2012 - a rather lame pickle compared to the new MacBook Pro.

For my blog, I test devices of all kinds - headphones, cameras, laptop bags, chargers, USB sticks, memory cards - or even hard drives. In order to make an objective statement about an SSD or HDD, the hard drive speed is an important criterion. The durability is mostly neglected because of the lack of time and persistence for a long-term test and from a purely visual point of view, most hard drives are neither particularly pretty nor particularly cruel, so that I save myself having to give an assessment of the optics. ;-)

AJA System Test - for MAC and PC

So far I have always measured the speed of hard disks with the freeware "Blackmagic Disk Speed ​​Test", but unfortunately this did not determine an average value for me and has never created a graphical course of the data rate. So I was very happy when I found out about the free tool "AJA system test"stumbled on that works on both PC under Windows and Macs under macOS or OS X.

Made for testing hard drive performance: AJA System Test.

Made for testing hard drive performance: AJA System Test - also tests USB sticks, memory cards and other external media that can be connected to the Mac (graphic: AJA).

The AJA System Test, on the other hand, is not only intended for benchmarking hard drives, but also offers the option of fully testing an AJA system. If I've skimmed that correctly, AJA offers hardware and software for video editing and the tool is kind of a goodie for customers to check the performance of their AJA system. For me, however, this "system test" is rather uninteresting, since I only want to determine the speed of the hard drive.

Measure hard drive speed

In order to measure the speed of HDD or SSD hard disks, we only need a sub-area in the AJA software, which we can reach above via the "System Disk Test" button. Then we select the hard drive that we want to test in the menu on the left under "Target Disk" and then press the start button. I previously set the "Test File Size" to 16 GB in the menu on the left, so that the test runs as long as possible and thus remains relatively unaffected by minor malfunctions.

Aja System Test: This is how you start hard drive benchmarking.

AJA System Test: This is how you start the hard drive benchmarking: Select the system disk, select the hard drive for the test and start the test.

After the start, the blue "Write" ring will slowly fill up until the 16 GB of data has been written. Then the read test starts automatically, with which the reading speed is determined.

Here I tested my internal hard drive (SSD) in the MacBoo Pro Retina 2012 - a rather lame pickle compared to the new MacBook Pro.

Here I tested my internal hard drive (SSD) in the MacBoo Pro Retina 2012 - compared to the new MacBook Pro 2016 a pretty lame cucumber.

Once the test is over, you can use the button at the bottom to see the progress of the test over time. Here you can see, for example, that the data rate drops if you are still working with the Mac during the test and reading or writing data on the hard drive. I did this on purpose and copied a large folder with several GB of data while the test was running. The result clearly shows how the read / write speed drops again and again.

Due to hard drive activity during the test, the writing and reading speed repeatedly collapsed.

Due to hard drive activity during the test, the writing and reading speed repeatedly collapsed.

Conclusion: good free tool for hard drive benchmarking

I am aware that you cannot perform technically sound benchmarking with this tool and a Mac with numerous background processes. The data rates that are determined for a hard drive are certainly always dependent on the particular Mac to which it is connected. Nevertheless, I think the tool is good for getting a rough impression of the read / write speed of a hard drive.

I find the results meaningful because they have a certain practical relevance. How does it help me if I know that a hard drive can "theoretically" write up to 200 MB / sec if it only manages 40 MB / sec in my Mac environment? Then I prefer to test under "everyday conditions" and have a value that may deviate by a few MB / sec here and there, but is more practical.

So in summary: I will always use AJA System Test in the future whenever I test a hard drive or another medium for speed. It's free and has a graphical graph of speed - more than you can expect for no money. ;)

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