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What makes it so fast

Posted on 2011-09-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Before you read my very lengthy "bring you up to speed" verbiage below, here is the gist of what I am asking:

Is it the SSD on my i7 machine or is it the processor that is making this box so fast and how can I tell which it is?  The other question is farther down, where I am asking how to give my other users another bump in speed.

I have a server with a xeon 3230 on a DQ965GF board with 8GB ram and SBS 2008 and we use SQL and Exchange on that server. It is also the file server.  I had been thinking this server was my problem regarding speed, but now I don't think so. The LAN has 4 desktops accessing that server and our primary business app is a custom written thing that uses IE8 to access database on server.  

Fiurst question: Why is my i7 so much faster at downloading the problem pages?  It is an i7 2600k with SSD as it's main HD with Win7pro 64 bit and 8 GB ram.  I was using an AMD Phenom 9600 with a regular HD and XP Pro 32 bit and 2.37 GB ram and thought it was fast, but the i7 is loading pages in 1-2 seconds that the AMD was taking 12-14 seconds to load.  I had thought the drag was caused my server, but now I don't think so.

Next question is for my other users, what can I do to upgrade their speed to load the pages?  I recently built their computers using quad core processors and new mobos retrofited to existing cases.  One of them is running Win7Pro 32 bit and the other is Win7Pro 64 bit. Neither is an i7.  This one, for example, AMD Athlon II x4 630 processor, 8 GB OS 64 bit has a regular HD.  IF I upgrade to an SSD, will it be almost as fast as my i7?  

The main thing we do all day is access our database via IE8 on local LAN and some pages were taking up to 40 seconds to load.  Worst was a dual core machine runnig XP Pro 32 bit taking 40 seconds to load the page. Upgrading that box to a quad core and Win7Pro 64 bit has improved that same 40 seconds to load page to now be about 6 seconds to load on the new AMD.  On my i7 that same40 second page now takes about 3 seconds.  So, if I upgrade the others to SSD, will that do it, or is it more due to 64 bit and/or dual channel ram?

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Question by:rodynetwork
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arnold earned 167 total points
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The performance of the system depends on what the system does.  In most cases the process is more often idle waiting for inputs from memory, network, I/O disk.

How big is the database, check the configuration/prioritization properties computer\advanced system settings\advanced\performance settings.

Did you configure sql 2008 to boost sql server priorities.

Use the tunning agent to see whether there are modification to the structure of the database that can be done that would improve the performance.
1) add an index, stat collection point, etc.

If the output pages are complex to a point that all the page and related information has to be downloaded prior to IE being able to render it, that is one option. i.e. you have dynamic layout using percentages versus fixed pixels. using tables as a means to format the page.
IE can not render until all the images/objects are downloaded so it knows what the spacing is.

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by:John Hurst
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>>>> So, if I upgrade the others to SSD, will that do it, or is it more due to 64 bit and/or dual channel ram?

It is more due to 64-bit processing. A 64-bit machine with a 64-bit operating system with a very fast disk and 4Gb or more of memory will run rings around a 32-bit machine as you have seen.

I see the same thing myself. I have used a 64-bit machine with a 7200-rpm hard drive, and will never return to 32-bit. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:Dave Baldwin
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SSDs are the most important part because the hard drives are usually the slowest item in the other systems.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive#Comparison_of_SSD_with_hard_disk_drives
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by:rodynetwork
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I am wondering if this would be a cheap speed trick, to take some of my older computers and put a SSD in to speed them up.  I realize 64 bit is adding to the speed, but wonder what would happen to the single and dual core processor boxes it I reinstalled their XP OS's on a SSD.
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by:John Hurst
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A fast disk with a slow 32-bit processor will halp marginally. XP is 32-bit, aging, and slow. A fast disk with a 64-bit OS and CPU makes more difference. All components (64-bit, CPU, OS, Memory and fast disk) go together. The 64-bit machine and OS as a base is a starting point. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:rodynetwork
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I just built this i7 yesterday. It is running circles around an AMD I build last week:

AMD box is Athlon II x4 630 processor, 8 GB OS 64 bit has a regular HD
Intel box is  i7 2600k is 8GB OS 64 bit with SSD HD.

The thing I don't know is whether the intel chip is that much faster than the AMD, or, is it the fact that the intel box is running on an SSD.  The page that was taking 40 seconds to load, I ran that again on both these boxes. Both are 64 bit OS using 8 GB RAM, though the intel has 1600mhz ram and the AMD has 1333 mhz ram, the difference in page load time is AMD 5 seconds, i7 2 to 3 seconds. Closer to 2 seconds.  I don't really know anything about all this tech stuff, but it seems like it is the SSD making the big difference.  That is why I keep wondering if I throw an $80.00 SSD in an old machine, wonder if it will cut it's response time down similarly?  
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by:John Hurst
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For $80, try one and see. It seems to me, though you are getting fast response from an SSD in a very fast 64-bit machine. Then you are asking if that one single component will speed up a slow machine similar to a fast machine, and on that point (having tried it with fast drives myself) I have my doubts. Try one and see.
... Thinkpads_User
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by:arnold
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Is the $80 worth the possible improvement in speed?
Really?
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by:rodynetwork
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@arnold, you are way over my head. Good post at the top, I just know nothing, so the point is somewhat lost on me. I am, however, setting up a second server to practice on and hope I can pick your brain at some point.  I want to learn about SQL by tinkering.
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by:John Hurst
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Thank you and I was pleased to assist. .... Thinkpads_User
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by:arnold
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The page may have been loaded from cache.

In the scheme of things when you are viewing a web page the connection and the transfer of the data is what and where the delay is from.  There is nothing your system can do until the information is retrieved.

It is unclear to me what it is you are comparing or what performance you are trying to improve.
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by:rodynetwork
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One of the pages our business app loads was taking 40 seconds for an XP Pro Dual Core 32 bit machine to load.  I thought the lag was caused by the server/connection response time.  I was surprised to find this same page now loads in 3 seconds with zero changes to the server.  The difference is I built a new workstation with i7 2600k and an SSD with 64 bit os and that workstation loads the 40 second page in 3 seconds. Same connection, same server, no other changes.  This is why I got on the track of speeding up my workstations, whereas my previous track had been to improve server response time, this workstation now has me puzzled as to why the dramatic difference in load times.
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by:arnold
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The page load is a multi-stage process
1) connect and get the data from the server
2) process the data and render it in the browser.
Once the data is retrieved, cpu/memory is the main component.
What are the detailed stats on the 32 bit machine: Network connection 100MB/1000MB?
CPU/Memory?
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by:Dave Baldwin
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As mentioned above, make sure you are doing a reload from the server (Ctrl-F5).  Otherwise, you are just checking cache reload time on that computer.  You can use Firebug's Net function in Firefox to check loading times.
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Oops, never mind, you're not loading over the internet.
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