Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hard Disk/Drive Speed vs Visual Studio Performance

Hard Disk/Drive Speed and Visual Studio Performance

Scott Guru has some recommendations on the type of Machines/Laptops should be used doing development with Visual Studio.

Summary - Get a Duel Core or better CPU. I also always recommend getting at least 2GB or more of RAM.

Admin always has a question why, why you need a better machine. Here is the answer.

Why the Speed Matters

· The much more likely to block on is the Seek and I/O speed capacity [Required to read/write a lot of files] with which your computer accesses your hard drive.

· When you are doing development with Visual Studio you end up reading/writing a lot of files, and spend a large amount of time doing disk I/O activity.

· Large projects and solutions might have hundreds (or thousands) of source files (including images, css, pages, user controls, etc). Below are the facts that cause a lot of I/O.

o When you open a project Visual Studio needs to read and parse all source files in it so as to provide intellisense.

o When you are enlisted in source control and check out a file you are updating files and timestamps on disk.

o When you do a compilation of a solution, Visual Studio will check for updated assemblies from multiple disk path locations, write out multiple new assemblies to disk when the compilation is done.

o Along with the compilation, it also persist .pdb debugger symbol files on disk with them (all as separate file save operations).

o When you attach a debugger to a process (the default behavior when you press F5 to run an application), Visual Studio then needs to search and load the debugger symbols of all assemblies and DLLs for the application so as to setup breakpoints.

If you have a slow hard-drive, Visual Studio will end up being blocked as it waits for it to complete all of these read/write operations - which can really slow down your overall development experience.

Below are the few recommendations for Hard Drives.

Some laptop hard drive recommendations:

· The default hard drive speed for most PC laptops is typically 5400rpm - which is a pretty slow drive.

· If you are getting a new laptop and plan to use Visual Studio on it, I highly recommend making sure you get a 7200rpm drive instead. You will realize a significant performance benefit by doing this.

· If you’re Laptop has 5400rpm then, put an additional $55 (Lenovo), $93 (Dell) or $200 (Apple) to upgrade the hard drive to be a 7200rpm disk instead.

· Putting this small amount of extra money in the faster disk can really make a big performance difference and is an absolutely worthwhile investment.

Some desktop machine hard drive recommendations

Scott - Two hard drive performance considerations to consider with desktop configurations:

· Consider getting a 10,000rpm hard drive. These are lightening fast and can make a big difference over the default 7,200rpm drives that typically come with desktops.

· Consider buying a second physical hard drive and setup your operating system and OS virtual memory swap file to use one of the physical drives, and then store all your data (images, documents and Visual Studio projects) on the second physical drive. The benefit of an approach like this is that your read/write data operations won't be competing for disk I/O activity with the operating system updating the virtual memory file.

See the article.

Thanks & Regards,

Arun Manglick || Tech Lead

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