I can't imagine that it's such a resource hog that you need 8GB.
You're imagining the wrong problem. VS 2008 can take 1-2 GB on it's own though, typically on those projects with thousands of files. But the problem isn't really VS 2008, it's everything combined.
Most developers aren't just using the IDE, they also have the DB window open (i.e.: SQL Server), they'll be operating the app locally (i.e.: IIS working locally, web browser), they'll have Virtual Machines for testing and sometimes even for developing (i.e.: VPC, VMWare), they'll have task-tracker software open, some form of chat client, a copy of Outlook, some search client (like Google Desktop)
I'm on a laptop (Core 2 Duo and 2GB) and I would be pushing for more if I still programmed all that much.
Most software people make too much money to not be running some form of leading-edge configuration.
I'm working on a one-year old ASP.NET project (C#) with a few hundred files in the project. We're also running generated data objects on a 200 hundred table DB, so you can imagine the amount of code we're have. Oh yeah, and we're running AJAX toolkit (more stuff to load into memory). Once it compiles everything and sets it all to debug, I'm easily at 800 MB.
Being in C++ might have something to do with it. But any of those projects that is a "core business" project tends to accumulate size very quickly. By the time we hit the 2-year mark, I'm sure I'll be asking for more RAM (but it seems a small price to pay for VS productivity).
The good thing with 8 gigs I've noticed, is that you can easily run 2-3 instances of VS2008, and 2-3 VMWare sessions at the same time, without any thrashing. On the other hand, the quad core CPU might have something to do with it.
Oooh you people make me green with envy! I have to run VS2008 on a loptap with 1Gb RAM, 1.6GHz single core, 20Gb h/disk. It seems to me that the larger the company, the smaller the development workstation. Admittedly, I've got access to virtual machines to do the actual testing on but they're at the other end of a double-bounce broadband connection (i.e. My office<-BB->Hub Site<-BB->VM site) and shared with a hundred other people so there's a bit of contention. If there's one thing this has taught me it's to write tight code with minimal decoration and let someone else grumble about what it looks like.
Well, VS 2008 is not bad - I run it on similar laptop with 3/4 of your memory, and with couple of DB servers running. It's only when I develop in Java NetBeans at the same time that NetBeans freezes from time to time.
You're right there. I find VS2008 to be infinitely preferable to VS2005 and it certainly does the job without complaint. Yes, I also run SQL Server, ADAM, Outlook and one or two other things in the background but there are some days that I... just... wish... it... was... a... bit... F-A-S-T-E-R!!!
Visual Studio is known to be a resource hog..
My machine set up is quad-core 45nm q95450
Ram 8Gb DDR2 800
Tell you what, I never have to close any project window to save system's resource ever~!
Nah.. I've got one too.. Running Vista x64 Ultimate with 8GB. While a little gunshy at first to install x64, I've been surprised to find that I haven't had any compatibility issues. Everything I use works great (VS 2008, VS 2005, Blend, Design, Illustrator, Photoshop, Virtual PC 2007, MS Office, etc). The hardware acceleration in Virtual PCs is astoundingly fast (I'm playing StartCraft on a XP Home Virtual PC right now). Have had this setup for almost 6 months now. Will never go back.
Yeah, I can relate to that, fortunately we don't have to as we create closed web applications for large government institutions, we only need to support the latest Firefox and IE fully. We use virtual machines too but only right before release to ensure our application works technically on older browsers but we don't have to fully support them.
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