Video storage and playback, as it is today, is very different from what it was five years ago. A lot of content is being shared and distributed digitally, and in increasingly better quality. Along with it, we have various video formats, some of them compressed, some uncompressed, some lossy, some lossless. To get optimal video playback performance, the very basic requirement is that your storage media should be able to keep up with the demands of the video player, to allow for smooth decompression and decoding, and stutter-free playback.
The practical problem here is that while hard drives always boost performances upto the theoretical maximum, they rarely perform that well in real world conditions. This is where testing comes in: to know if your disk is capable to playing a particular video format, you need to test it with actual data on the disk. This is something that is impractical.
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test is a freeware utility by Blackmagic Design Inc, which helps you simulate playback or recording of various video formats to your disk, so that you can test the performance of the disk and judge whether or not it is suitable for your purpose.
The actual testing process is pretty much straightforward:
- Click on the cog wheel to bring up the Settings menu.
- Click on ‘Select Target Drive’ to choose which drive you want to test.
- Choose a stress limit. 5 GB is the recommended value so that any temporary fluctuations get averaged out over the complete test.
- Click on the huge ‘Start’ button in the middle.
Once you start the test, the tool starts testing writes and reads to the disk alternately and gives you output values in the bottom section. After the test is complete, the tick marks in the ‘Will it work?’ section indicate which formats your drive will be able to support in an optimal manner, and the ‘How Fast?’ section values indicate the FPS at which each video format is expected to play.
For someone looking to test out their new SSD or 7200 rpm disk, or any other disk for that matter, Blackmagic Disk Speed Test is just the tool for the job. Its well designed, and pretty easy to use. It comes bundled with a usage manual, which you can read for more details on the working and testing process of the tool.