For anyone who needs to keep a close eye on the performance of their HDD there are many specialized tools to fit the bill. If the device has S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) capabilities, you may just found the software you needed.
SMART Monitor is a freeware utility capable to watch over the performance attributes and notifies you when any of them changes. The installation is pretty straightforward and in a matter of seconds you can have the software up and running.
The interface is more functional than appealing, but this helps minimize the stress on your system. The first tab that is displayed in the main window contains some basic information about your drive, but also volume details and more advanced content.
The most interesting area is the 'SMART info' where you check out a lot of attributes and their values. SMART Monitor is capable to show you the current as well as the worst rates recorded. This tab also includes a column for the threshold assigned to each attribute.
You can effortlessly configure the time interval the application will use to poll the selected drive for information by dragging a slider in the 'Options' section. In the same place you can activate the logging for SMART alerts and also the warning balloon tips that will pop up when the SMART values drop.
This software has a decent set of features and is not difficult in terms of usage, so it is well worth a try, especially if you take into consideration the fact that it should be able to simultaneously supervise up to 4 drives.