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What a difference a compiler makes

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Mike Bossy


I've been developing using Visual Studio .NET 2003 Standard since the 2003 version came out. The way I figured it everything I needed in a development platform was in the Standard version so I just went with that. Ends up the C++ compiler in the standard version doesn't do any optimizations so your debug code runs exactly the same speed as your release code. Ok for development but not so good for a final released product.

A couple months ago I finally got a copy of the Pro version for the end game of my current project. I haven't gotten around to installing it until tonight because I didn't think the perf gains would be any crazy. That's where I was wrong. The perf gains are more noticeable than I thought would happen. All in all I got around a 50% perf improvement on my development machine. This may not be normal and maybe I just write sloppy code that the compiler can optmize. Either way I just solved some of my perf issues by installing a new compiler. :)
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The professional version of the compiler is available from Microsoft via a separate download here for free. Once you have downloaded and installed it you can copy the compiler exe and other required files over the files installed by the Standard version of VC2003 to get the optimising compiler to be used by the IDE. The only downside to this is that you have to specify the compiler optimisation flags yourself (in the Project->Properties dialog) as the Standard version disables controls to do this via the Project Properties dialog.

There is a page out there somewhere that documents exactly which files you should copy but I seem to have lost the bookmark...

I realise this is a bit too late for you! (And maybe you needed other features not present in the Standard edition).

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I finally got around to installing the VS.Net2003 Standard compiler upgrade about a week ago. I've seen some improvement, certainly not 50%. For those curious, the upgrade can be found here:


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It's much more hit-and-miss, but the "Profile Guided Optimizations" in VC8 have done wonders for my larger projects. One section almost quadrupled in speed [oh]


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