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An Overview of Performance Improvements in .NET 4.5

| Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This article discusses the prerelease version of the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5. All related information is subject to change.

On the Microsoft .NET Framework team, we’ve always understood that improving performance is at least as valuable to developers as adding new runtime features and library APIs. The .NET Framework 4.5 includes significant investments in performance, benefiting all application scenarios. In addition, because .NET 4.5 is an update to .NET 4, even your .NET 4 applications can enjoy many of the performance improvements to existing .NET 4 features.

When it comes to enabling developers to deliver satisfying application experiences, startup time (see, memory usage (see, throughput and responsiveness really matter. We set goals on improving these metrics for the different application scenarios, and then we design changes to meet or exceed them. In this article, I’ll provide a high-level overview of some of the key performance improvements we made in the .NET Framework 4.5.

In this release, we focused on: exploiting multiple processor cores to improve performance, reducing latency in the garbage collector and improving the code quality of native images. Following are some of the key performance improvement features.

Multicore Just-in-Time (JIT) We continually monitor low-level hardware advancements and work with chip vendors to achieve the best hardware-assisted performance. In particular, we’ve had multicore chips in our performance labs since they were available and have made appropriate changes to exploit that particular hardware change; however, those changes benefited very few customers at first.

At this point, nearly every PC has at least two cores, such that new features that require more than one core are immediately broadly useful. Early in the development of .NET 4.5, we set out to determine if it was reasonable to use multiple processor cores to share the task of JIT compilation—specifically as part of application startup—to speed up the overall experience. As part of that investigation, we discovered that enough managed apps have a minimum threshold number of JIT-compiled methods to make the investment worthwhile.

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