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Windows Vista's SuperFetch and ReadyBoost Analyzed

Test Setup

System Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (Conroe 65 nm, 2.93 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache)
MotherboardEVGA nForce 680i SLI 775 MainboardChipset : Nvidia nForce 680i SLI, BIOS : P24
Common Hardware
RAM I2x 256 MB DDR2-800 (CL 4.0-4-4-12)A-Data M2OEL6F3G31609A1D0Z
RAM II2x 512 MB DDR2-800 (CL 4.0-4-4-12)Corsair CM2X512-8500 XMS8505v1.1
RAM III2x 1024 MB DDR2-800 (CL 4.0-4-4-12)Corsair CM2X1024-6400C3 XMS6403v1.1
Graphics CardHIS Radeon X1900XTX IceQ3GPU : ATI X1900XTX (650 MHz)RAM : 512 MB GDDR3 (1550 MHz)
System Hard Drive1x 150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA/150Western Digital WD1500ADFD
Data Hard Drive1x 150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA/150Western Digital WD1500ADFD
USB-StickKingston Migo DataTraveller II Plus 1 GB
DVD-ROMTeac DV-W50D
Applications
Microsoft Outlook 2007Version 12.0.4518.1014
Open Office WriterVersion 2.1
Software
Vista ATI GraphicCatalyst Suite 8.31.100.3.2.1
DirectX VistaVersion : 10.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
OSWindows Vista Enterprise, Build 6000.16386.061101-2205

Test Workflow

First of all we installed Windows Vista Enterprise from scratch and added all required drivers. As we finished the installation we set a system restore point, because we recreated this clean system state (with no impact of SuperFetch learning from our testing activity) for every complete set of benchmarks. We used Microsoft Outlook with a 1.5 GB PST file, the Internet Explorer 7 with a locally stored website and the OpenOffice Writer with a huge press release document as our applications to test SuperFetch and ReadyBoost. Here is our testing sequence :

  • Boot Windows Vista
  • Wait 2 minutes

First Run

  • Start Internet Explorer
  • Wait 5 min (15 minutes if ReadyBoost USB 2.0 Flash device is attached for the first time)
  • Start Microsoft Outlook
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Start OpenOffice Writer
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Close OpenOffice Writer
  • Close Microsoft Outlook
  • Close Internet Explorer
  • Wait 2 minutes

Second Run

  • Start Internet Explorer
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Start Microsoft Outlook
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Start OpenOffice Writer
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Close OpenOffice Writer
  • Close Microsoft Outlook
  • Close Internet Explorer
  • Wait 2 minutes

Third Run

  • Start Internet Explorer
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Start Microsoft Outlook
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Start OpenOffice Writer
  • Wait 2 minutes
  • Close OpenOffice Writer
  • Close MicrosoftOutlook
  • Close Internet Explorer
  • Reboot and start 2nd or 3rd cycle

We measured the startup time for Microsoft Office 2007 and the OpenOffice Writer 2.1

  • Trashing the harddrive every time you close a big app... to load in a bunch of "guesses", that get thrown out and over written by the next big app you load, is a waste of resources and puts 2 times the wear and tear on your harddrive.

    Think about it. You have a house. You move in some furniture. You don't like the furniture, so you take it out. While you are deciding what next to put in, a little magic fairy guesses what furniture you might like, buys it on your credit card, and pays movers to move it in.

    You're still at the store, you finally decide what furniture you want... you buy it, pay movers to deliver it, and find your house full of crap furniture you didn't want that the fairy guessed you wanted. Maybe he got it right, but more than likely he got it wrong. You have to throw out this furniture, which takes a little time, and then move in your furniture.

    It would of been cheaper and faster if the magic fairy had done nothing and left your house empty until you decided what next you wanted to do.

    This happens over and over, every time you close one app, and open another.

    If you are grandma and have lots of ram you're not using, because all you do is run wordpad and one IE window, superfetch works great. Wooo, look, paint just opened right up. But if you are a power user who pushes their ram to the limit all the time and has fifty million windows open... or a laptop user on batteries... superfetch sucks ass and should be disabled.

    Power users, do the right thing, shoot the fairy and take back your credit card.
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