Software Quality

January 2, 2015

Developers Dream Machine

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 12:35 am

I finally fulfilled a long-time dream. I got a computer that’s fast for a software developer. It loads Visual Studio 15 Preview and my sample web application, all in 15 seconds. And builds it in 5 seconds.  If most of your day consists of loading visual studio, loading solutions, and building them, you want those things to happen fast.

I am finally content with the performance of my development machine … for now 🙂

Here is how I did it.

1. Bought PowerSpec 501 from Micro Center PC. Upgraded to a total of 32 GB of DDR-4 RAM at 2666, i7-5820K processor with 6 cores, 256 GB SSD SATA 3 hard drive. and a 1 TB conventional fixed platter drive.

2. Installed Windows 8.1 on it

3. Installed SuperCache and RamDisk from http://www.superspeed.com/

4. Allocated 12 GB to a RAMDISK, backed up by the fixed-platter drive. When I shut down, the contents of the RAMDISK are saved to the backing store.

5. Allocated 8 GB to Cache the SSD drive (as if it is not fast enough).

6. Placed the following on the RAMDisk

  • Visual Studio Preview 15
  • Visual Studio Workspace for my projects

That’s it. Visual Studio itself loads from a RAM disk. It operates on code in a workspace on the RAM dsik.  It builds on the RAM disk.

Below are some performance measures taken using Passmark’s PerformanceTest 8.0.  Note that using SuperCache actually slows down the sequential write speed of the SSD drive, but it dramatically increases the random access. On a volume where write access is expected, one can enable deferred write in the SuperCache which would increase write performance of the cache. This is not allowed on the system volume.

If I need a larger RAM disk, I will probably steal from the SuperCache as the SSD is already fast.

I’m curious if others have tried optimizations to increase development speed.

Manuf Drive Type Interface Series Caching Configuration Capacity (GB) Random 4KB R/W (MB/s) Sequential Read (MB/s) Sequential Write (MB/s)
SuperSpeed RAM Disk in memory  RAM Disk Plus 12        1,031           1,990             1,080
Samsung SSD SATA 3  850 EVO  SuperCache 8 GB, no deferred write 256            717           1,374                 277
Samsung SSD SATA 3  850 EVO 256              87              327                 479
Seagate Platter SATA 2  ST31500341AS 1500                7              103                   72
Toshiba Platter SATA 3  DT01ACA200 1000                6              189                 179
Toshiba Platter USB 465                4                25                   23
Micro PC Thumb USB 32                2                26                     9

2 Comments »

  1. I just slapped in a 1TB EVO and called it good. It’s amazing the difference between my rig at home and my PC at my day job. I wish more companies would understand the difference a good set of tools makes. I’d even be happy if our industry adopted more of a BYOC approach.

    Comment by Uriah Blatherwick — January 3, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

    • I agree with you. Since few execs have been software developers, I doubt they understand. At least I can operate at high speed at home when learning and studying.

      Comment by David Allen — January 4, 2015 @ 11:38 am


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