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In this tip, we will see how to test read-write speed of a hard drive. To be able to test read/write speed of a hard drive under Ubuntu, we need first to install two command line utilities, which are pv and hdparm.

So, launch the terminal and issue this command:

 sudo apt-get install pv hdparm

To test read speed of your hard drive (usually /dev/sda), issue this command:

sudo cat /dev/sda | pv -r > /dev/null

I got an average read speed of 90.2MB/s for my hard drive. Read speed is not stable and it changes frequently.

To test write speed of a hard drive, use this command:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/test.data bs=1k count=128k

I got write speed of 90.8 MB/s:

131072+0 records in
131072+0 records out
134217728 bytes (134 MB) copied, 1.4778 s, 90.8 MB/s

Note: Tested under Ubuntu 10.04/10.10/11.04.

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