It is well-known that Debug build in Visual C++ is very slow compared to Release build, with the typical ratio about 10-20 times. Various reasons behind it are often stated, and some people even believe that it is inevitable because it is caused by lack of compiler optimizations.
If some issue happens only on a large dataset or in a real-time application, and it cannot be extracted into a smaller test case, then developer is forced to debug Release build. Which is rather painful experience, because debugger has problems showing control flow, values of local variables, sometimes even currently executed function, since all these concepts are messed up by optimizations. Ironically, the more optimizer-friendly your code is, the worse would be your experience of debugging Release build =)
Luckily, Visual C++ provides a lot of settings for tuning speed-vs-comfort ratio. It is entirely possible to create a "Fast Debug" configuration which works only a few times slower than Release yet is pretty easy to debug due to lack of optimizations.read more