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8/96 Reviews SW: Hurricane 2.0

Listing of August 1996 Reviews

Eye of Hurricane Focuses On RAM

By Lenny Bailes and John Yacono

Windows memory managers are like old traveling medicine shows-some products work, some don't and no two take exactly the same path. Some eliminate out-of-memory errors, while others concentrate on increasing performance. Hurricane does both.

Hurricane includes seven performance enhancement utilities, some used for Windows 3.1x, some for Win95 and some for both. All can be enabled or disabled individually and adjusted from a control panel. RAM Expander compresses application code in physical RAM. WinPack reclaims RAM from dormant applications that are open, but minimized to the taskbar. The Mode-Switch Accelerator speeds the transition between Windows applications and increases the number of system breakpoints. A Global DOS Manager avoids out-of-memory messages by reserving additional memory within the first megabyte. The XMS Accelerator speeds up access to XMS and DPMI memory for DOS drivers and programs. The Print Cache module creates a virtual cache for print output from selected printers. RAM Drive provides a smart RAM disk that shrinks and expands in response to application memory demands.

Since Microsoft has improved the source-heap handling in Windows 95, the Hurricane modules for this OS focus on heightening performance. Under Windows 3.1x, Hurricane effectively banishes out-of-memory errors. The included print cache, disk cache and video cache prevent Hurricane from slowing performance. These features may substantially improve Windows 3.x disk access and video throughput on older, slower hardware.

Unlike competing schemes, Hurricane's memory compression produces a noticeable speed improvement on Win95 systems with 4MB to 8MB of installed RAM. We timed a series of operations: We loaded multiple Microsoft Access databases and Excel spreadsheets, then logged on to the Microsoft Network Online Service. Our 8MB Hurricane system completed these operations approximately 20 percent to 25 percent faster than an 8MB vanilla configuration. Speed improved only 2 to 5 percent on Hurricane-enhanced systems with 16MB of installed RAM.

Info File
Hurricane 2.0
Pros: Effective for 8MB Win95 PCs
Cons: Not very effective with 16MB+
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x
Disk Space: 4MB
Helix Software
800-451-0551, 718-392-3100
WinMag Box Score: 3.0
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