Measure Hard Disk Data Transfer Speed

Measure Hard Disk Data Transfer Speed

Login as the root and enter the following command:

$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/hda

Sample outputs:
 Timing cached reads:   7864 MB in  2.00 seconds = 3935.41 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  204 MB in  3.00 seconds =  67.98 MB/sec

For meaningful results, this operation should be repeated 2-3 times. This displays the speed of reading directly from the Linux buffer cache without disk access. This measurement is essentially an indication of the throughput of the processor, cache, and memory of the system under test. 

Here is a for loop example, to run test 3 time in a row:

for i in 1 2 3; do hdparm -tT /dev/hda; done

  • -t :perform device read timings
  • -T : perform cache read timings
  • /dev/sda : Hard disk device file
To find out SATA hard disk speed, enter:

sudo hdparm -I /dev/sda | grep -i speed

    * Gen1 signaling speed (1.5Gb/s)
    * Gen2 signaling speed (3.0Gb/s)
Above output indicate that my hard disk can use both 1.5Gb/s or 3.0Gb/s speed. Please note that your BIOS / Motherboard must have support for SATA-II.

dd Command

You can use the dd command as follows to get speed info too:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/output.img bs=8k count=256k
rm /tmp/output.img

Sample outputs:
262144+0 records in
262144+0 records out
2147483648 bytes (2.1 GB) copied, 23.6472 seconds, 90.8 MB/s 
found at 


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