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A High-Precision Stopwatch for C#

, 17 Jan 2006 CPOL
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This article presents a stopwatch class with microsecond-precision for C# that offers split-time and a System.TimeSpan interface.

Sample Image - CS_Stopwatch.jpg

Introduction

This article presents the Performance.Stopwatch class. This class provides a stopwatch-like behavior using kernel32.dll's QueryPerformanceCounter. It offers split time and elapsed time with microsecond precision, and also provides a formatted System.TimeSpan for longer operations. This class is essentially a no-frills stopwatch for measuring the performance of your code.

Background

So I've decided to venture into the world of C#, and needed to see for myself how my application's performance measures up against my C++ code. In order to compare proverbial "apples-to-apples", I needed a high-resolution "stopwatch" to time my code. After some poking around, I saw some alternative ways to do this, however I decided to write my own in order to address the shortcomings of others.

Using the code

The class offers the following public methods:

Method Description
void Start() Starts the stopwatch.
void Stop() Stops the stopwatch.
void Reset() Resets the stopwatch.
TimeSpan GetElapsedTimeSpan() Returns the elapsed time in the form of a System.TimeSpan.
TimeSpan GetSplitTimeSpan() Returns the split time in the form of a System.TimeSpan.
double GetElapsedTimeInMicroseconds() Returns the elapsed time in microseconds.
double GetSplitTimeInMicroseconds() Returns the split time in microseconds.

An example of how to use this class is given below:

Performance.Stopwatch sw = new Performance.Stopwatch();

sw.Start();

for(int i=0; i<10; i++)
{
   System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(100);
   Console.Write("Split time: ");
   Console.Write(sw.GetSplitTimeInMicroseconds().ToString());
   Console.WriteLine(" microseconds.");
}

sw.Stop();

Console.Write("Total process time: ");
Console.Write(sw.GetElapsedTimeSpan().ToString());
Console.WriteLine(".");

This code produces the following output:

Split time: 101403.390654399 microseconds.
Split time: 202629.105095759 microseconds.
Split time: 302948.000374349 microseconds.
Split time: 403266.616287824 microseconds.
Split time: 503606.184584912 microseconds.
Split time: 603955.251295905 microseconds.
Split time: 704231.124346809 microseconds.
Split time: 804552.254546318 microseconds.
Split time: 904863.327601692 microseconds.
Split time: 1005186.13399189 microseconds.
Total process time: 00:00:01.0050000.

Points of Interest

The primary benefit of this class over others is that it provides the user with a System.TimeSpan interface. This makes it easy to display formatted status information or to calculate how long an operation will take to complete. The class also has a built-in calibration such that a sequential call to Start() and Stop() should result in an elapsed time of 0 +/- 0.500 microseconds.

History

  • 17.Jan.2006 - Initial release.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Nitron
Software Developer (Senior) Lockheed Martin
United States United States
Walter Storm is currently a principal software engineer doing quantitative research for a private hedge fund. Originally from Tunkhannock, PA., he has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University[^], and an M.S. in Systems Engineering from SMU[^]. He has been professionally developing software in some form or another since January of 2001.
 
View Walter Storm's profile on LinkedIn.[^]

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberiericzhou18-Apr-12 21:01 
Questionthis is rather lengthy code Pinmemberparvez1216-Mar-12 7:04 
GeneralJust Thanks PinmemberExpategghead8-Dec-09 2:30 
Generalsamples Pinmemberalhambra-eidos27-Oct-09 23:26 
Questionthread-safe? Pinmembervadivelkumar2-Apr-07 0:22 
AnswerRe: thread-safe? PinmemberNitron2-Apr-07 3:33 
General.NET 2.0 Pinmemberreinux24-Jan-06 10:04 
GeneralSimilar code PinmemberDrew Noakes24-Jan-06 0:42 
GeneralRe: Similar code PinmemberNitron24-Jan-06 3:30 
I use the split time to measure things like progress while reading large data files, then i call Stop() to get the total processing time. It's like measuring how long it takes to run a "lap" and I use that info to estimate how much longer the task will take to complete. The Stop() ensures I measure the actual time the process stops. I also put it in there as some users of similar classes mentioned it would be useful to them. I also think the option of getting the time as a TimeSpan is quite useful as it's easy to format for display.
 
As a side note, this is really my first attempt at using C#, so I figured I'd post it to diversify my articles Wink | ;)
 
~Nitron.
ññòòïðïðB A
start

General.NET Timing PinprotectorMarc Clifton17-Jan-06 8:23 
GeneralRe: .NET Timing PinmemberNitron17-Jan-06 8:45 

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