How Do I Use the FC Test?
Now let’s try to think of types of equipment that we can use the FC Test with.
Testing hard disk drives
Well, we have been long using the FC Test for testing the performance of hard disks. By the way, this is the only test in which speeds of different hard disk drives differ among themselves more than by a measurement error (we’ll talk about the measurement error shortly). In case you’ve forgotten, we use five file sets in our HDD reviews:
- Install (414 files, 575MB total size);
- ISO (3 files that are 1600MB together);
- MP3 (271 files with a total size of 990MB);
- Programs (8504 files weighing 1380MB);
- Windows (9006 files amounting to 1060MB).
We measure the speed of writing each file set on the disk, the speed of reading these files from the disk, the speed of copying the files within one logical volume (32GB size) and the speed of copying the same files to another 32GB logical volume.
We reboot the system after each speed measurement to avoid interference on the side of the OS, which caches the files in the RAM.
If we deal with a drive with below 64GB capacity, we just partition it into two logical volumes of the same size.
Testing RAID Controllers
We test RAID controllers in the same way as hard disk drives. In fact, we are testing the speed of the logical disks we create on a RAID array, made out of several HDDs.
Testing Flash Drives
Flash drives generally have smaller capacities than hard disk drives, so there’s no sense in measuring their speed in large patterns (ISO, Windows and Programs). Moreover, there’s no need to measure the speed of copying within a flash drive, as users don’t do that often.
Thus, we limit ourselves with tests of writing files to the drive and reading them from it. As for the file size, we use the following scheme. There are three file sets for flash drives below 128MB capacity:
- One 100MB file;
- 10 files, 10MB each;
- 100 files, 1MB each.
As you understand, the FC Test can be used on USB drives, CompactFlash cards and so on.
Testing CD-ROM and DVD-ROM Drives
Well, why can’t we use the FC Test for estimating the performance of optical drives with optical media? Of course, you don’t write much on a CD-ROM disc J, but you may try to do that with CD-RW discs (in the UDF format), if necessary. We won’t do that, though, as there are numerous benchmarks for measuring the speed of burning CD-R/RW etc.
Instead, we will read from the discs! You may know about the CD WinBench test – its point is in reading certain file sets from a disc. Each file set – as far as I remember they are files of various games – is stored in a separate folder and is read from the disc by the test.
The only drawback of this test is its age. It is old and uses old files (files used to be smaller, you know). But we have the FC Test now! It can easily supplement the CD Bench and, what’s important, you will have the option of changing file sets.