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Posted 17 Jan 2006
Licenced CPOL

A High-Precision Stopwatch for C#

, 17 Jan 2006
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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


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.


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:

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();


for(int i=0; i<10; i++)
   Console.Write("Split time: ");
   Console.WriteLine(" microseconds.");


Console.Write("Total process time: ");

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.


  • 17.Jan.2006 - Initial release.


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


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior) Lockheed Martin
United States United States
Walter Storm is currently doing quantitative research and data science. 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.[^]

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
iericzhou18-Apr-12 20:01
memberiericzhou18-Apr-12 20:01 
Questionthis is rather lengthy code Pin
parvez1216-Mar-12 6:04
memberparvez1216-Mar-12 6:04 
GeneralJust Thanks Pin
Expategghead8-Dec-09 1:30
memberExpategghead8-Dec-09 1:30 
Generalsamples Pin
kiquenet.com27-Oct-09 22:26
professionalkiquenet.com27-Oct-09 22:26 
any updates ??

any good sample for TestMethod (unit testing) ??

Thanks in advanced


Questionthread-safe? Pin
vadivelkumar1-Apr-07 23:22
membervadivelkumar1-Apr-07 23:22 
AnswerRe: thread-safe? Pin
Nitron2-Apr-07 2:33
memberNitron2-Apr-07 2:33 
General.NET 2.0 Pin
Rei Miyasaka24-Jan-06 9:04
memberRei Miyasaka24-Jan-06 9:04 
GeneralSimilar code Pin
Drew Noakes23-Jan-06 23:42
memberDrew Noakes23-Jan-06 23:42 
GeneralRe: Similar code Pin
Nitron24-Jan-06 2:30
memberNitron24-Jan-06 2:30 
General.NET Timing Pin
Marc Clifton17-Jan-06 7:23
protectorMarc Clifton17-Jan-06 7:23 
GeneralRe: .NET Timing Pin
Nitron17-Jan-06 7:45
memberNitron17-Jan-06 7:45 

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