Following on from colleague Ed Hewitt's re-discovery of SMART disk technology embedded in the Palimpsest disk utility, I've been playing with it too.
This came with Lubuntu by default, but you can get the palimsest .deb package from the repositories. The Palimpsest main window will give you an overview of your attached storage...
At partition level, you get options to mount, unmount, basic file-system check, format and disk labeling, all from a simplified point-and-click map of your device. What it doesn't do is move, copy or resize partitions on the disk. Go with Gparted or VisParted for this.
At the device level you get Format, Benchmark and SMART.
Benchmark runs some performance tests and gives you a graph of the results. You get the options for Benchmark – read-only, or read-write. However, it's a performance test not a relative benchmark against a standard set of devices. To rate your device against others you'll have to take the figures and compare them yourself against the competition.
The SMART option does a comprehensive read-through of all the SMART data on the disk with a traffic-light health check on key measures. More information than you realised it collected and stored. RC