CrystalDiskMark is a very popular storage benchmark. Linux users can use KDiskmark instead for similar functionality. CDM lets you tailor its I/O benchmarks to some degree and is ideal when comparing between drives under the same conditions. It can be useful for testing with one variable changed, such as having an SSD on PCH/chipset lanes versus CPU lanes to determine the latency hit.

AS SSD is an older SSD benchmark with less relevance for modern drives. It can still be useful when used in tandem with other benchmarks to locate issues.

ATTO Disk Benchmark is another popular storage benchmark with decent configurability. It’s quite useful at showing performance at various I/O block sizes.

HD Tune is another older SSD benchmark that has largely fallen out of use. If set up correctly it can still provide some useful information in some cases.

3DMark and PCMark offer storage benchmarks for gaming and office use. These are mainstream products that only give a general feel about performance.

Simply transferring files can be an effective way to do a “real world” test for your drive, assuming a good mixture of files and a sufficiently large enough transfer. Programs like DiskBench could help here or Microsoft’s DiskSPD, the latter the basis for CDM.

There are also full tests suites such as Phoronix’s Benchmark and ezFIO.

A more classic approach would involve using Iometer, although there are programs that offer more flexibility and Linux use like fio and elbencho.

Gaming benchmarks up to this point basically checked load times which is not super helpful as most games see little to no advantage regardless of SSD, with bottlenecks being found else. DirectStorage and games developed with it in mind will see more benefit, and benchmarks to show this will be required in the future.


CrystalDiskInfo is a popular application used to check SMART values and other characteristics of your drive. Monitoring and maintaining the health of your SSD can be important.

Hard Disk Sentinel is a more robust disk health monitoring program that has powerful options and more information. It’s useful for the power user. The link at the top of my page has promotional deals for HDS and additionally gives me income as an HDS affiliate.

Smartmontools is an excellent SMART suite for multiple platforms that lets you get direct access to information about your drives.

NVMe-CLI is a command line tool for management of NVMe SSDs in Linux. It provides more advanced information and tools. Certain SSDs will have plugin support.

Many SSDs will come with a downloadable “SSD Toolbox” of their own. Such software can provide information, diagnostics, features such as encryption or secure erase, SMART information, cloning/imaging, and more.


VLO’s utilities are a suite of tools enabling you to identify the hardware on your SSD and, in some cases, repair older drives. Some provide information on HMB and other features, as well. It may be possible to find MPTools (mass production tools for OEMs to alter drives) in other locations, such as USBDev.

USB Device Tree Viewer can be useful when working with external SSDs and enclosures.

Parted Magic and similar recovery environments can be useful in working with unbootable systems or if you want to perform a sanitize/secure erase. It’s possible to make you own live Linux CD, including Debian (non-free for compatibility), to use your own tools, such as hdparm and NVMe-CLI as linked above.

These tools and others can also be helpful for imaging and cloning. Dedicated software for this includes Clonezilla, Macrium Reflect, and many more. For help with partitions, tools like MiniTool’s Partition Wizard are tools may be easier to use than Disk Management.

Tiering and Caching

Many users like the idea of using SSDs in more complex configurations, for example tiering or caching with HDDs or in a RAID. For tiering and RAIDs, it might be easiest to use Storage Spaces, which is built into Windows. PowerShell may be required for more complex setups. RAID can also be done in Disk Management, or pre-boot with the storage controller or in UEFI.

Some programs allow for RAM caching on SSDs and in general this should not be used. Examples include Samsung’s Rapid Mode and Crucial’s Momentum Cache. For finer, useful control over caching, refer to PrimoCache.

For pool use and management, something like DrivePool makes more sense, before getting to the more advanced options of Unraid and TrueNAS.


NVMe-specific drivers are still popular for some SSDS, like Samsung’s and Solidigm’s. The latter can provide special features to the drive such as host-managed caching (HMC). Sometimes the default Windows NVMe driver will be overridden, for example to be managed by Intel RST. In general, no driver is required for NVMe drives to work perfectly on a modern OS, and DirectStorage as it stands currently relies on the stock driver. However, Solidigm’s NVMe driver is compatible with DirectStorage, and it works with the Intel 665p, Intel 670p, Solidigm P44 Pro, and Solidigm P41 Plus, plus future Solidigm drives.

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