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  Accurate Timing For Profiling
  Submitted by



When trying to get accurate frame rate or other timing info in order to profile your code, the normal clock routines leave you hanging. Both _ftime() and clock() have a resolution of several milliseconds, so they aren't appropriate for timing very short routines or getting accurate timings of frame rate (if you use them, your frame rate will bounce around a lot). Here's a routine that gives you an exact cycle count for your process, and some tools to interpret the output. Thanks to Aaron O. for telling me about rdtsc.

#typedef ULONGLONG uint64;

uint64 getCycleCount() {

uint32 timehi, timelo;

// Use the assembly instruction rdtsc, which gets the current // cycle count (since the process started) and puts it in edx:eax. __asm { rdtsc mov timehi, edx; mov timelo, eax; }

return ((uint64)timehi << 32) + (uint64)timelo; }


To time a routine, call it twice and subtract the two counts:

uint64 time0 = getCycleCount();
// call your routine
myRoutine();

uint64 cycleCount = getCycleCount - time0;


I usually like to see both the cycle count and the time in milliseconds. Create a variable called processorSpeed and set it to the number of cycles per second your machine gets (mine is 300MHz, so processorSpeed = 300000000). Here is some code to format the output nicely:

uint64 processorSpeedMilliseconds = processorSpeed / 1000;
// milliseconds, Megacycles
int ms, Mc; 

// ms = (x cycles)(processorSpeed cycles/second) * (1000 ms/second) // Mc = (x cycles) / (1e6) ms = cycleCount / processorSpeedMilliseconds; Mc = cycleCount / 1000000; printf("Time: %d Megacycles/%d milliseconds", Mc, ms);


Finally, your frame rate is 1000 / ms. Happy profiling!

Morgan http://graphics3d.com/matrix
Morgan Systems


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