• 2020
  • 10/23/2020
  • Public Content

Instruction Cache Misses

This recipe explores profiling a front-end-bound application using the General Exploration analysis of the Intel® VTune™ Amplifier and using a PGO option to reduce ICache misses.
Content expert
: Dmitry Ryabtsev
General Exploration analysis was renamed to Microarchitecture Exploration analysis staring with Intel VTune Amplifier 2019.


This section lists the hardware and software tools used for the performance analysis scenario.
  • Application
    : a test sample based on
    database. The application is used as a demo and not available for download.
  • Tools
    • Intel VTune Amplifier 2018: General Exploration analysis
      • For
        downloads and product support, visit
      • All the Cookbook recipes are scalable and can be applied to Intel VTune Amplifier 2018 and higher. Slight version-specific configuration changes are possible.
      • Intel® VTune™ Amplifier has been renamed to Intel® VTune™ Profiler starting with its version for Intel® oneAPI Base Toolkit (Beta). You can still use a standalone version of the VTune Profiler, or its versions integrated into Intel Parallel Studio XE or Intel System Studio.
    • Intel® C++ Compiler
  • Operating system
    : Microsoft* Windows* 7
  • CPU
    : Intel® microarchitecture code named Skylake

Run General Exploration Analysis

To have a high-level understanding of potential performance bottlenecks for the sample, start with the General Exploration analysis provided by the VTune Amplifier:
  1. Click the
    New Project
    button on the toolbar and specify a name for the new project, for example:
  2. In the
    Analysis Target
    window, select the
    local host
    target system type for the host-based analysis.
  3. Select the
    Launch Application
    target type and specify an application for analysis on the right.
  4. Click the
    Choose Analysis
    button on the right, select
    Microarchitecture Analysis > General Exploration
    and click
    VTune Amplifier launches the application, collects data, finalizes the data collection result resolving symbol information, which is required for successful source analysis.

Identify Hardware Hotspots

General Exploration analysis helps you see dominant performance bottlenecks in your code. Start your analysis with the Summary view that displays application-level statistics per hardware metrics. Focus on the flagged performance issues:
The sample application is front-end bound (29.3% of Pipeline Slots) with the instruction cache misses as a dominant bottleneck (7.1% of Clockticks).
Switch to the
tab to locate the issue in the code. Click the
Customize Grouping
button next to the
toolbar and create a new custom grouping
Module/Source File
The new grouping applied to the collected results shows that
file is the main hotspot taking the most of CPU cycles to execute:
Navigating to the ICache Misses metric also discovers the highest value for the

Re-compile Your Code with PGO

Use Intel® C++ Compiler to apply the Profile Guided Optimization (PGO) to the
  1. Recompile your code with the
  2. Run the benchmark.
  3. Re-compile the code with the
For more details, see the Profile-Guided Optimizations Overview.

Verify Optimization

Re-run the General Exploration analysis on the optimized code. The new result shows 30.3 seconds of Elapsed time, which is an almost 4% improvement to the original 31.5 seconds:
The number of clockticks stalled due to ICache Misses for the
library has reduced to 6.4% from 9.3%:

Product and Performance Information


Intel's compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice.

Notice revision #20110804