Comparison of BUFFERS=, STACKS=, and SMARTDRV.SYS (78434)
The information in this article applies to:
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
This article was previously published under Q78434
This article summarizes the similarities and differences between
BUFFERS=, STACKS=, and SMARTDRV.SYS.
STACKS vs. BUFFERS and SMARTDRV
STACKS= has nothing in common with BUFFERS and SMARTDRV other than it
is a CONFIG.SYS command and it reserves memory like BUFFERS.
STACKS= is used so that MS-DOS does not use the application stack
space for handling hardware interrupts. Instead, MS-DOS reserves
memory at boot time for stack space for hardware interrupt processing
(unless you specify STACKS=0,0).
Similarities Between BUFFERS and SMARTDRV
Both are used for DISK caching purposes.
Differences Between BUFFERS and SMARTDRV
• BUFFERS is built into DOS and is not a device driver. SMARTDRV.SYS
is an external device driver.
• BUFFERS caches only partial sector reads/writes and does not cache
an integral number of sector transfers. SMARTDRV caches all types
• BUFFERS reserves memory either in low memory or in the HMA.
SMARTDRV can use extended memory or expanded memory. This also
means that an XMS or EMS driver has to be loaded before SMARTDRV.
• BUFFERS is efficient only for caching a small number of sectors
(for example, 30 to 50). SMARTDRV is efficient even caching huge
number of sectors (for example, 2048 to 8192).
• BUFFERS' caching strategy is built into MS-DOS. SMARTDRV looks at
INT 13h activity to cache disk data.
• BUFFERS works on all hard disks and floppy disks. SMARTDRV works
only on hard disks, and does not work with some third party disk
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