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I'm working in a development team where we all use laptops so we can work in multiple locations. These laptops are proving notoriously slow for development work, but at a glance they all look to have the specification for a much faster experience:

  • CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo T7500
  • Memory - 2GB of RAM

We all experience the biggest delays when the hard-drives are being accessed, particularly when swap-files are being thrashed. After doing a little bit of profile, a colleague discovered that our HDDs are seeing Read/Write speeds of about 10MB/sec. This seems abnormally low and we believe it the cause of the problem.

Sensibly (though somewhat annoyingly) our business wont blow money on faster drives just to see if it fixes the problem; we need to illustrate this is definitely the problem and that buying some solid-state drives will make it go away.

I need some way of showing how 90% of the system resources aren't being used over the course of a day, and that whenever there is utilization, it's all in HDD reads or writes. Are there any tools I could use to provide this information?

Does it seem likely the problem is going to be fixed by a faster drive? Should I be looking for alternatives?

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Which os are you running? Windows xp? Vista? 7? Mac OS? Linux? –  pehrs Mar 15 '10 at 11:35
    
Currently on WinXP. –  Tragedian Mar 15 '10 at 15:20
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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yeah, try using perfmon. Here is a good website on what counters to use. http://adminfoo.net/2007/04/windows-perfmon-top-ten-counters.html

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Check performance coutners for disci io (possibly have to activate them first). Seconds/Request (read, write) is a great counter - should be around 0.010. You possibly see quite a lot of it.

Demonstrate RAM and CPU are low at the same time.

2gb ram? Seriously? My development workstations had that in 2000, moving to 4gb in 2004... 2gb is definitely VERY short to start with for serious development work. These days new computers get 8gb for developers in my place.

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To say the machines aren't exactly ideal is understating the huge amount of time I'm wasting just waiting for basic operations to complete. Let me fix the HDD issues first and then I'll complain about not enough RAM! –  Tragedian Mar 15 '10 at 15:26
    
The problem is that thee RAM may push the issue to the top - not enough RAM = swapping = more disc load on discs not fast to start ;) –  TomTom Mar 15 '10 at 15:46
    
have you thought about using ssd's? –  The Unix Janitor Mar 23 '10 at 10:56
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