Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

A High-Precision Stopwatch for C#

, 17 Jan 2006
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
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)

About the Author

Nitron
Software Developer (Senior) Barbnet Investment Co.
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 20:01 
Very practical code!
Questionthis is rather lengthy code Pinmemberparvez1216-Mar-12 6:04 
GeneralJust Thanks PinmemberExpategghead8-Dec-09 1:30 
Generalsamples Pinmemberalhambra-eidos27-Oct-09 22:26 
Questionthread-safe? Pinmembervadivelkumar1-Apr-07 23:22 
AnswerRe: thread-safe? PinmemberNitron2-Apr-07 2:33 
General.NET 2.0 Pinmemberreinux24-Jan-06 9:04 
GeneralSimilar code PinmemberDrew Noakes23-Jan-06 23:42 
GeneralRe: Similar code PinmemberNitron24-Jan-06 2:30 
General.NET Timing PinprotectorMarc Clifton17-Jan-06 7:23 
GeneralRe: .NET Timing PinmemberNitron17-Jan-06 7:45 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Mobile
Web03 | 2.8.140721.1 | Last Updated 17 Jan 2006
Article Copyright 2006 by Nitron
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2014
Terms of Service
Layout: fixed | fluid