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= 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 of transfers.
    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 managers.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 11/16/1999
Keywords: KB78434