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The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming

Greetings to all! 

After working with ASP and then ASP.NET, and now with version 2.0, I've programmed on desktops, laptops, and servers.  With the amount of memory and CPU usage that VS 2005 takes to program a large website, I've been looking at upgrading my existing laptop to a newer model.  However, I'm still not convinced that this will solve the problems that Visual Studio seems to have with my hardware.

I am running a fairly powerful Dell Inspiron 9100 (3.0GHz, 2G Mem, 120Gb 7200 HD) to do my programming.  I have Windows Server 2003 Standard installed on it so I can build and run my development apps using the same environment as the customer (I recommend doing this for everyone, it is nice being able to debug locally instead of trying to do remote debugging onto your test server).  VS still seems to run very slow with this configuration.  I don't think it has anything to do with the hardware, but at this point, I'm willing to try anything.

I've called Microsoft on three occasions to get the KB fixes from them (after reading this post from the Microsoft Web Dev Team) and none of the fixes have helped at all.  I've have not gotten as many VB Runtime crashes when I try to debug (or switch pages, or click on the File menu, it was completely random when the VB Compiler crashed).  I am still very unhappy with the performance of Visual Studio and wish they would have fixed a lot of the problems that were reported before they went live back in November.  Then again, I guess you get the good with the bad with the new controls and options with 2.0.  Hopefully Brendan will have some good news to report to us, but I digress... 

I was searching for some blog posts to see if anyone had posted any hardware that they are using to program with ASP.NET and I haven't found much.  

I don't know if programming on a laptop is better than on a desktop, but I do like being able to take my code home with me to work disconnected.  If anyone else is using the Inspirons, you know that they are beasts!  They can weigh almost 15 lbs. and it becomes a real hassle when you're travelling because you need to take the laptop, along with the power supply (which is just as gargantuan).  I want to look for a laptop that would be used for optimum programming with Visual Studio.  With the new Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs, they take care of a lot of the weight problems because it is smaller than the other chips and don't need as much power (which takes care of the power supply brick issue).  Dell has some newer laptops (XPS series) that I'm interested in, however, I have heard good things about the ASUS laptops for programming (WJ3 to be exact - Coding Horror). 

Another option would be to build a desktop for programming and development, then Remote Desktop into it.  I think this would be the easiest option since the desktop can be fitted with more memory.  I don't like the idea of my code sitting on another machine while I'm trying to work on it.  It's not "personal" enough.  I need the security blanket of knowing that my code is with me (even though VSS is storing it on the server too). Yes, I use VSS because it was the fastest to set up.  I may move to Subversion sometime in the future, but again, I digress...

It will just come to your personal preference.  If you're looking for a monster programming machine, you'll just have to get the latest and greatest available. 

I ask you, what do you have for your setup? 

Posted 09-21-2006 11:31 AM by Stephen Wright
Filed under:



Brendan Tompkins wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 1:35 PM

Hi Steve,

I don't think VS.NET's slowness is a hardware issue, or at least for me it hasn't been.  I'm running a dual XEON 3.19 GhZ 2G RAM, RAID (0) drive ...  don't know how much more hurumph I could give it.

I think the slowness runs much deeper into the guts of VS and the new compilation model.. I''ve spoken with MS recently and they've said that SP1 will fix many of these issues.    

I'm getting ready to post about some things you can do to speed things up in the meantime, I'm just trying to make sure I have my pointers straight first and get a free minute to put together a post.

Derik Whittaker wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 1:37 PM

Well,  maybe i can help on 2 fronts

1) ASUS laptops are nice for development, i have one that is about 2 years old and runs like a champ.

2) I am a .net windows developer and at my last company  we were fed up with on our desktops (3ghz, 2 gig ram, ect) so we were able to upgrade to a true workstation (dual 3ghz 2 gig memory, 10k rpm drive, SATA)... Let me tell you it helped a lot, but as you know.  It only helps for so long, as time went by it started to apear slow to us again.  But there are 2 things to keep in mind.  1) our app was getting larger 2) we became used to the time it took, and wanted it to go faster.

Stephen Wright wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 3:24 PM

Thanks for your insight guys.  I guess I'm not happy with the "2 - 3 minute hiccup" that happens in VS with my application.  It just stops to do it's thing randomly and I'm not sure what caused it.  I never had this kind of issue with 2003.

I'd just like to have a development tool that isn't still in user beta.

Chris Bellini wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 4:51 PM
I've used VS.NET on three Dell laptops: Inspiron 5150, Precision M70 and Inspiron 6400. The Inspiron 5150 had a P4 3.0GHz CPU with HT. It was brutal. VS.NET 2003 would lock up all the time and the computer was very sluggish overall while VS.NET was running. The Precision M70 had a P-M 2.0GHz CPU with 2MB of L2 cache. It ran VS.NET 3003 like the wind. My home laptop, the Inspiron 6400, has a 1.6GHz Core Duo CPU and it treats VS.NET 2003 & 2005 very well. I don't notice a difference between it and the Precision M70. Chipset, CPU (cache specifically) and RAM are probably not the only factor in determining VS.NET's performance, but it helps ;)
Ben B wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 5:39 PM
I have both a main desktop and laptop that are synced. Each run Windows XP but use VMware for Win2k3 Server use. My laptop is a small Toshiba Portege Core Duo with 2 GB and I comfortably run everthing without issue. I wonder what background processes you have running that might interfere. I also wonder if you need to have Server running rather than VM when needed.
mbertulli wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 6:52 PM
Just a few things to add here guys. At my company, we are also working in VS 2005 with team foundation server on the back end. We too are experiencing some performance issues on the current laptops we have deployed (Latitude D810 2gb RAM 2ghz PM). What I have been trying to figure out the last few days, is when Microsoft is going to release SP1 for vs 2005. This will apparantly fix a lot of issues (so says our MS partner support folks) but I can't seem to find any sort of indication as to when this will be released.
timbar3 wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 7:05 PM
I've been running SQL Server 2005, VS 2005 and IIS on a 1.4 Ghz Fujitsu Lifebook with 768Mb of memory, since VS 2005 came out, and the performance is perfectly acceptable. I'm not sure I really see a big performance difference between that and my much faster desktop with more memory. One thing that really does make a difference though is turning off the SCC integration, especially if you are using VSS. VSS itself seems to be terribly slow when you get to building anything of any size. If you want to take code home though, just create your own branch in Subversion to commit to every night and update it when you get home to your other desktop :-) Not sure there's a good or easy way to do that with VSS (Yes, I know its possible to create something like a branch, it's just not nice).
virgilash wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 7:21 PM
My question is if anybody of you knows when SP1 will be released ? I mean oficially speaking it should be September 2006, but there are only 9 days left and even the SP1 beta 1 is not released ?!?!?
Christopher Bennage wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-21-2006 9:00 PM

I'm glad you posted this.  I just started searching for a new dev laptop last week.  I did some searching on this exact question, but I did not turn up anything helpful.  

Oddly, enough I've been using an Inspiron 9100 for about two years Here's a performance tip: clean the heatsinks.  Assuming that you've had it for a while. I was having major performance issue (mostly with Star Wars Battlefront 2) and some forums post lead me to cleaning out the heatsinks.  The difference was remarkable.

Bob Yexley wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-22-2006 11:06 AM

Earlier this year I purchased a Dell E-1705 (Inspiron 9400) with a 17" monitor as a desktop replacement. Technically, its a laptop, but its a beast of a laptop. I would't want to have to do a lot of travel with it unless I absolutely had to. It IS however, a nice, mobile replacement for my desktop though. I'm not stuck to my desk in my home office when I want to work on something. I can comfortably sit on the couch and watch a football game while I work, etc.

As for performance, I've not had any problems with it at all. Now, I do believe that you're always going to have at least *some* performance problems when you start working with a large solution, especially if it's got a LOT of projects within it. That will slow VS down on just about any machine you use it on. There's just a ton of stuff that VS has to keep track of within a solution like that. Now, I'm definitely not sure that a 2-3 minute lag time is acceptable, even on a large solution. That's a pretty beefy wait time, and I'd say there's definitely some things that could be looked at and improved. I'm very much looking forward to Brendan's upcoming posts on speeding up VS 2005, and SP1 for VS 2005 as well. Hopefully those will help you out.

Praveen wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 09-22-2006 12:58 PM
what else do you have installed one your laptop? I have VS 2003, VS 2005, SQL SERVER 2000 and 2005, .net framework 1.1/2.0/3.0 and a lot of other stuff on my Dell 8600 1.8ghz/768MB ram/ 60GB HDD laptop and it works fine. I do not encounter lots of delays on it. Well i haven't loaded a vvv large project on it though. The only delay i enconter is at project load time and thats not in a huge delay. I would suggest you to check your harddrive. To many files slow the system, better defrag it and remove unimportant files.
Zenab wrote re: The Hardware of ASP.NET Programming
on 11-08-2007 1:19 PM


i have Dell Inspiron 6400 and memory 512 MB. VS 2005 executes a simple page after 5 to 6 minutes delays.Some time it works well but when i load multiple projects , VS  becomes very slow.

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