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UPDATE CED WITH (TABLOCKX) SET CED.EndDate = ISNULL (CED.CalculatedEndDate, CONVERT(date, '99991231', 112)) FROM (SELECT E.EndDate, CalculatedEndDate = DATEADD(DAY, -1, LEAD(E.StartDate) OVER (PARTITION BY E.SomeID ORDER BY E.StartDate)) FROM dbo.Example AS E) AS CED OPTION (MAXDOP 1, QUERYTRACEON 7470); The new post-execution plan is. 1 These style values return nondeterministic results. Includes all (yy) (without century) styles and a subset of (yyyy) (with century) styles. 2 The default values (0 or 100, 9 or 109, 13 or 113, 20 or 120, 23, and 21 or 25 or 121) always return the century (yyyy). 3 Input when you convert to datetime; output when you convert to character data. 4 Designed for XML use.

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This post is a follow-up to my prior post inspecting the performance of PARSE vs CAST & CONVERT, where we see that PARSE is an order of magnitude slower than CONVERT. In this post, we’ll check if there is a similar difference between using CAST or CONVERT. But just to be clear, CONVERT offers a lot more functionality than CAST; this post will not help you decide which of these functions to use for a specific use-case – I leave that to the reader to decide for themselves.

Country Kermis, by David Teniers, the Younger. Fun performance, but not much cast vs convert in this image.

Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable Example

The code below is borrowed from the post on PARSE vs CAST & CONVERT, except here we’re inserting 1,000,000 rows into the dbo.ParseTest table since CAST and CONVERT are so much faster than PARSE:

INSERTINTOdbo.ParseTestOutput1 (d)

Notice I’m not specifying a specific type of output for the CONVERT function; this is simply to get as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible. The Messages tab in SSMS shows the following results for our little test:


As you can see from the output above, CAST is very slightly quicker. If you re-run this test code many times, you’ll see results that vary slightly. Below, I show the CPU and Elapsed times for 10 runs of the test code above. I’ve broken out the times by function to make it easier to compare the two:



Average CPU time for CAST is 6026.5 milliseconds. Average CPU time for CONVERT is 6050.1 milliseconds. That’s less than 1% difference between the two.


It’s safe to assume the performance differences between CAST and CONVERT are negligible, for the case presented above, where we’re converting a character-based date value into a datetime value. In future, I’ll check out using CAST and CONVERT when converting datetime values into various forms of character-based date and time values.

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Check out the rest of our posts on performance.


This SQL Server tutorial explains how to use the CONVERT function in SQL Server (Transact-SQL) with syntax and examples.


In SQL Server (Transact-SQL), the CONVERT function converts an expression from one datatype to another datatype. If the conversion fails, the function will return an error. Otherwise, it will return the converted value.

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TIP: Use the TRY_CONVERT function to return a NULL (instead of an error) if the conversion fails.



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The syntax for the CONVERT function in SQL Server (Transact-SQL) is:

Parameters or Arguments

The datatype that you wish to convert expression to. It can be one of the following: bigint, int, smallint, tinyint, bit, decimal, numeric, money, smallmoney, float, real, datetime, smalldatetime, char, varchar, text, nchar, nvarchar, ntext, binary, varbinary, or image.
Optional. The length of the resulting data type for char, varchar, nchar, nvarchar, binary and varbinary.
The value to convert to another datatype.
Optional. The format used to convert between datatypes, such as a date format or string format. It can be one of the following values:

Converting datetime to character

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Value (without century)Value (with century)Explanation
0100mon dd yyyy hh:miAM/PM (Default)
1101mm/dd/yyyy (US standard)
2102yy.mm.dd (ANSI standard)
3103dd/mm/yy (British/French standard)
4104dd.mm.yy (German standard)
5105dd-mm-yy (Italian standard)
6106dd mon yy
7107Mon dd, yy
9109mon dd yyyy hh:mi:ss:mmmAM/PM
10110mm-dd-yy (USA standard)
11111yy/mm/dd (Japan standard)
12112yymmdd (ISO standard)
13113dd mon yyyy hh:mi:ss:mmm (Europe standard - 24 hour clock)
14114hh:mi:ss:mmm (24 hour clock)
20120yyyy-mm-dd hh:mi:ss (ODBC canonical - 24 hour clock)
21121yyyy-mm-dd hh:mi:ss:mmm (ODBC canonical - 24 hour clock)
126yyyy-mm-ddThh:mi:ss:mmm (ISO8601 standard)
127yyyy-mm-ddThh:mi:ss:mmmZ (ISO8601 standard)
130dd mon yyyy hh:mi:ss:mmmAM/PM (Hijri standard)
131dd/mm/yy hh:mi:ss:mmmAM/PM (Hijri standard)

Converting float to real

0Maximum 6 digits (Default)
18 digits
216 digits

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Converting money to character

0No comma delimiters, 2 digits to the right of decimal (ie: 1234.56)
1Comma delimiters, 2 digits to the right of decimal (ie: 1,234.56)
2No comma delimiters, 4 digits to the right of decimal (ie: 1234.5678)

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  • When casting from a float or numeric to an integer, the CONVERT function will truncate the result. For other conversions, the CONVERT function will round the result.
  • See also the TRY_CONVERT, CAST, and TRY_CAST functions.

Applies To

The CONVERT function can be used in the following versions of SQL Server (Transact-SQL):

  • SQL Server 2017, SQL Server 2016, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2005


Let's look at some SQL Server CONVERT function examples and explore how to use the CONVERT function in SQL Server (Transact-SQL).


For example: