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I have been tasked with evaluating a new PC for our dev team that is spec'd only slightly better than our current models.

Could anyone recommend appropriate benchmarking software that would be useful to emulate typical development tasks?

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Do you have access to a physical box with the proposed spec? The easiest thing to do would be to set up two machines side by side and perform the dev tasks that are common in your company. –  Anna Lear Nov 19 '10 at 3:23
    
Yes, I have access to the new box. In the absence of any actual benchmarking software that would emulate dev tasks, I guess I'll just need to time some actual dev tasks. –  Scott Ferguson Nov 20 '10 at 0:02

2 Answers 2

I'd use a benchmark consisting of builds, integration and performance tests, and other development activities most frequently run on machine's of developers working in your organization.

Build time is important in day-to-day software development activities and if it's too long, build may become a bottleneck. Suppose the build runs 15 minutes and occupies all of some machine's resources. With a better machine, it takes only 5 minutes. The better machine thus creates some value added and I want the benchmark to measure this value.

The same reasoning can be applied to integration/performance tests. If they run too slowly, developers tend to run them less frequently, lengthening feedback loops. Again, value can be added by running them faster. A benchmark consisting of a sample of such tests would measure the value.

If your faster machine uses SSD while the slower machine uses HDD, such benchmarks should let you measure how much faster your faster machine is at your usual tasks. Simply saying "SSD is faster than HDD" doesn't answer the question.

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Make sure your new boxes come with SSD drive - developers use their hard drives most (compilation, file search, file copy) and it's the slowest part in the computer.

Get a good SSD and you can cut compilation time in half easily.

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Not actually an answer to the question. Also: joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/03/27.html –  Jon Hopkins Nov 19 '10 at 8:33

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