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Run disk and RAM performance tests using Winsat

One of the great things about desktop computers is that they are usually easy to upgrade. It is not always the case, but usually it is fairly straightforward to replace the disk drive or add more memory. The big question is how much better is the PC with the new hardware? Is the new disk faster, does the extra memory boost the performance? It's not always easy to tell, but using Winsat to measure the performance you can see the results in the figures. It's a bit of a geek tool, but it's useful.

Winsat is the Windows System Assessment Tool and it is not on the Start menu or in the Control Panel. Winsat.exe is a utility that can be found in the C:\Windows\System32 folder and it can be used to measure the performance of different components in the PC and to measure how fast they are.

Click Start, All Programs, Accessories and then right click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator. The Command Prompt window opens and it is ready for you to start entering commands. You should run these performance tests before and after an upgrade and then compare the results to see the effect of the new hardware.

Measure disk performance
The command to use is winsat disk plus some extra parameters that specify the type of test to run. For example, -read to see how fast information can be read from the disk, -write to see how fast it can be written, -seq to measure sequential disk access and -ran for random access. There's -drive to specify the drive to use. Here are two examples:

winsat disk -seq -read -drive c
winsat disk -ran -write -drive c

There is one extra parameter you can add, -v, which stands for verbose and a lot more information is output during the test. The result on my PC was 106.74Mb/s, how fast is yours?

Measure memory performance
The command to measure the memory bandwidth or speed is winsat mem. There are some extra parameters to modify the test, but they are quite technical and they aren't really needed. Just type:

winsat mem

to run the test and add -v if you want to see more information. It is a simple test, but it gives you an idea of the performance boost after installing a RAM upgrade. The amount of RAM doesn't affect the score though and you'll only see improved speed if you use faster RAM.