Windows NT 4.0's Service Pack 4 Could Hurt Disk Performance

IT Week Lab test results indicate that Windows NT Service Pack 4 (SP4) has a detrimental effect on the performance of the disk I/O subsystem.

Test results show that the effect is most noticeable on server configurations, for example, on a Compaq ProLiant 6000 server fitted with four 200MHz Pentium Pro CPUs, 512MB RAM and a six disk RAID 0 array. In this case IT Week’s ServerBench client/server benchmark recorded a drop in disk performance of up to 60 per cent.

Using the same test on a ProLiant 6000 fitted with two 200MHz Pentium Pro CPUs and 256MB RAM show the peak impact to be around 50 per cent, with an aggregated impact at around 20 per cent. Additional testing has shown a marginal impact on performance of NT Workstation configurations, where the drop in disk performance caused by SP4 ranged from some three percent based on the Business Disk WinMark 98, to eight percent based on the High End Disk WinMark. Microsoft is currently unable to offer an explanation for the results.



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