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Are computers still getting faster?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by T34, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    I ask because I am stuck with having to use VB.Net and its intellisense (or whatever it is called) slows down the IDE so much that programming is a laborious process.
    I use Windows 6 (Vista) Sp2, 2GB RAM, Dual core 2.1 GHz processor.
    I haven't upgraded anything for 3 or 4 years.
    By how much could I speed the thing up with today's technology?
     
  2. nathanielbrown

    nathanielbrown New commenter

    Depends if you want to overclock or not :)

    Without overclocking probably:
    3.5 GHz quad core with 8 G ram and a SSD.

    If you overclock you should be able to 4.5GHz

    Does that answer your question?
     
  3. You don't say which 2.1GHz processor, and the architecture is at least as important as the clock speed. Is it a Core, a Core2, an AMD chip...? 2GB RAM is not that much today, and Vista is significantly poorer for performance than Win 7 IME. Another thing that may help is a clean install, as after 3 or 4 years you'll have mounds of stuff in the registry and other places that will slow things down.


    So yes, you probably could get significant improvement - either by swapping out the RAM / clean install of Vista (cheap) or by upgrading the whole system. By how much? I have no idea.


    In general, Moore's law still applies - the raw processing power of a computer system more or less doubles every 2 years (not least because chip manufacturers use this as a benchmark). Of course the complexity of the software also increases massively over that period and there are still bottlenecks, which is why we don't all have supercomputers yet. But, yes, a newer computer (depending on spec) should be more powerful.
     
  4. We've had this before. On C# it is perfectly usable. I think it might be more to do with VB.Net.
    You have a commercial project don't you ?
    I guess then there are a lot of source files to it. Are these all linked together so that VB.Net checks far more than it actually has to ? Logically it should only need to syntax check the current file and check that the calls/methods/whatever you use are compatible with your code - so it could/should cache the signatures in each file and only update them when it changes. In theory :)
    If it does this by scanning a big code base every time you want to do a syntax check/intellisense this might explain it.
    You can also (I think) turn the syntax checking off :)
    In speed terms, I would say on your spec that upgrading with an extra 2G of RAM might be better than replacing your core. Compilers have always been a bit RAM heavy :)
    You could try plugging a USB key in - I don't know if it would help but it's worth a go.
     
  5. Re: "Are computers still getting faster?"
    I think although the computers are getting faster, the resources you need for antivirus, anti-malware, hacking, etc are increasing quickly as well and slow the computers down.
    A dual-core processor (or more) is esential these days. - One to handle the protection software and continuous updates and the other to do the work you bought the computer for in the first place!
     
  6. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Yes, that's the problem. It checks everything every time you blink.
    VB.net is advertised as suitable for "casual" programmers. I think it tries to be so helpful and assumes that you are so thick that it becomes unusably slow for a big project.
    There's no way to turn off the helpfulness.
    But there's no way to change to c# - far too much code to rewrite. The vb.net "upgrade" wizard saves most of that.
    Don't understand.

     
  7. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Don't really want to overclock. It sounds rather risky? Computer failure would be a catastrophe.
    I guess I'll have a look at prices for the quad core and mother board stuff and see if I can string a new box together.
    Might be better to buy a ready made?

     
  8. I think there is (I don't know which one you are using). I was surprised at this because it's been an option on everything else that uses a VB variant.
    Apparently rather than something comprehensible it is called "Show live Semantic Errors". These folks seem to have the same problem you do.
    http://ira.me.uk/2008/09/01/switch-offon-visual-studio-2008-background-compilation/

    Which shows how much MS know, because semantics is the meaning of a program not its syntax which is actually being checked.
    One would think MS are trying to actively discourage people from using VB for anything more than a few hundred lines ...... which knowing them, they probably are.
    I don't personally care for VB but as it's really just syntactic sugar over C# there's no reason why it couldn't be used professionally.
    Vista has a thing called ReadyBoost. Basically if you plug a fast USB key into a port it will use it as a Cache rather than caching to HD if you are a bit low on memory.
    Opinion has always been divided as to whether it actually works or not but it might be worth a go.
     
  9. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    I'm thinking of waiting for Windows 8 and then buying a top-of-the-range model.
    However, will VB5 IDE run on Windows 8?
     
  10. I doubt it. Well, it might work, but the only support that is given is for the runtime DLL for VB6.
    Would you be better of dumping the VS IDE altogether and using an editor and the command line compiler ?

     
  11. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Phew! There's thinking outside the box.
    A bit drastic, perhaps.
    Sounds like a lot of work.
    I've only in the last month started to use the command line for VB5 - to
    automate .exe production for different users. I can't automate the
    whole process because of a few stopping points (VB P&D wizard and
    Power archiver). Still saves a lot of time, though, and cuts out errors.
    I actually like the background error checking of the supplied VB.net IDE - if only it could speed up.
    I wonder if somehow the background checking could be limited in scope - say to the current Form, perhaps? If not I guess a faster computer is the eventual way forward.


     
  12. I didn't know you were on VB5 :) Somewhat antiquated which doesn't help. If you like the syntax checking quite a few editors will do syntax highlighting (e.g. gedit on linux will not that this is suitable for you) and this picks up quite a lot of the silly syntax errors.
    Can't see the archiving being a problem - there are free copies of zip, gzip, 7z, rar archivers :) The Deployment depends on what the deployment actually does :)
    I can't see why each file cannot have a corresponding cache file that keeps the autocomplete stuff (you only need to actually check the file you are working on, you just need signatures for the other files) other than MS aren't doing it. Not much you can do about that :(
    I'd see if you can borrow some RAM or try Readyboost before the expense.

     
  13. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Quite the reverse. Being antiquated means the IDE is very fast.
    I've got VB6 but never found a need for it over VB5 so It's not installed for fear of mucking things up.
    I'm looking up the RAM possibilities now and will no doubt tootle along to Maplins tomorrow to get a few more Gb.
     
  14. Before you spend money I would run you worst example you can set up (of the IDE crawling) with the System Tools on ; monitor the HD/cache and the CPU usage, just to see if if is a RAM problem, a CPU problem (or possibly both).
    As your m/c is 3 or 4 years old if you buy RAM for it it's possible you might not be able to retrofit it onto older machines.
    It's astonishing the IDEs and so on. I remember developing for Windows 3.11 on a 386SX/20 with 4Mb of RAM and a 40Mb Hard drive, using Word for documentation and it didn't seem to be dreadfully slow.
    The only problem with VB5 is you'll get no support for it. Doesn't matter per se but if you do buy a superdoopa new machine it may not work and you might have to install Virtualbox and an earlier Windows to make it work,which rather negates the point of buying it in the first place :(
     

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