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I have a brand new machine (I7-2600k) with 8GB RAM. However, I find the computer very sluggish in general.

I believe the issue to be with the hard drive – is there any software I can download that will tell me how close to the maximum read/write speed I am for my hard drive?

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WHY do you believe the issue to be with the hard drive? –  Shinrai Feb 6 '12 at 16:36
    
Did you build the machine yourself or did you buy it pre-built with software already installed? What programs are installed and running on it? –  music2myear Feb 6 '12 at 16:37
    
Hard drive make model as well as other hardware specs will be a big help here. –  Dave M Feb 6 '12 at 17:33
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4 Answers

Resource Monitor is a very helpful tool already built into the OS and can display HD read/write info. Run it by typing 'Resource Monitor' from the start menu search (you will need admin rights)

Screenshot

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Bart's stuff test should be able to tell you.

How big/What type of hard drive do you have?

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You can try Crystal Benchmark, to test your hard drive's speed.

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you might give spinrite a try

I thought newer drives didn't need SpinRite?

Not at all. We sell many copies of SpinRite every single day to the many people who are having serious trouble with their modern drives. SpinRite is every bit as necessary today as it ever was — maybe even more so since people store so much valuable personal "media" data on today's massive drives.

The problem is economics: Drive manufacturers only make hard drives that are "reliable enough" to work "most of the time". It's just like with Microsoft and Windows. Windows is good enough that we put up with the annoyances when it breaks. SpinRite is here to be your tool to pull today's modern drives back from the brink when they are beginning to misbehave.

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if you do your reserch correctly spinrite is a long used and trusted piece of software. it works on the bit level so it doen't "need" to be updated often. plus it is currently BEING updated. see twit.tv/sn never judge a product by the last time a FAQ has been updated. which if you ACTUALY LOOK was updated exactly 47.76 days ago skitch.com/mjrider/g9db4/http-www.grc.com-sr-faq.htm –  mjrider Feb 6 '12 at 17:19
    
can I get my answer un-downvoted if the comment is removed? –  mjrider Feb 6 '12 at 20:04
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