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Dan 3 avatar image
Dan 3 asked

Replacing laptop running SQL

I am running a database with medical claims data on a laptop using a single-user version of SQL (Express 2005). There are actually 6 databases with 3,000,000 records in each database. I do a lot of work remotely on audits and this appears to be best solution for variety of reasons. All data is encrypted using PGP. Performance is OK but I need to replace the laptop.

What are some considerations in the laptop – 64-bit OS – how much memory and how much will processor speed impact performance? The data is stored on solid-state drive. I guess I am really asking at what point will I begin to waste money on more memory - faster processor.

Is there any easy way to port the sql application from one laptop to another?

migrationprocessor
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MladenPrajdic avatar image
MladenPrajdic answered

porting the app means backing up your db and restoring it on the new laptop and changing the connection string for your front end application.

memory will improve performace because more of the datapages end execution plans can fit in it so sql server won't have to go to disk to fetch them all the time. CPU speed wil show when decrypting your data. as this is CPU intense operation IO and memory don't really help much. as for solid state drives i have no experience with those.

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K. Brian Kelley avatar image
K. Brian Kelley answered

The question really comes down to which of those is the real bottleneck. I would do performance analysis on your current laptop by capturing performance counter logs and analyzing them after a reasonable body of work. That will tell you what you need to beef up in your new laptop.

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graz avatar image
graz answered

I recently purchased a new laptop with 4GB and installed 64-bit Windows 7 on it. It also has an SSD.

Everything works fine and performance is just amazing. Assuming your database is somewhere in the 5GB - 10GB range I'd guess that 4GB would be OK unless you're running larger scans. Then you might think about increasing it.

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Steve Jones - Editor avatar image
Steve Jones - Editor answered

I've run SQL 2008 express on a netbook and it runs OK, so SQL can run with low resources, but it's hard to know where to scale things to. To a large extent it depends on your tolerance for delays, or the user's.

I'd go 64-bit, especially Windows 7 since it seems much more efficient with the hardware. I love it on my desktop, and I'll move the Netbook to Win 7 as soon as a driver is out for my external video adapter.

There are some good laptops coming out that will take 8GB, and even if you don't need it now, I assume your data size will grow and that might necessitate the desire for more RAM. An SSD definitely is quicker. I don't know what your current laptop is now, but if your plan is to keep running SQL and perhaps having larger data sizes, I'd look at an 8GB capable laptop, Win 7, with 4GB in it and a 64 bit OS. I'm not sure it makes sense to go smaller. If you need it, you can upgrade to 8GB later.

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