Performance BKMs: There’s more than one hammer

I don’t know if any of you have noticed but Intel® has a tendency to emphasize its own homegrown tools. This isn’t bad as Intel has some of the best. Still, if someone has a favorite hammer, there’s a tendency to use that hammer for just about everything.

What I want to do here is to talk about some of those other tools in your proverbial toolbox; very powerful tools, like VTune™, tend to be complex, both in use and analysis. Yes, I know that VTune is a lot more user friendly than before, but it still has a steep learning curve. In this series, I want to talk about those other tools, the ones you might want to use first before you bring out the big VTune-like guns.

Here are some of the basic tools I’m looking at. This list will no doubt expand as we go along. Please feel free to suggest more.

  • Using a stop watch (e.g. /usr/bin/time)
  • Programmatic timers (e.g. gettimeofday())
  • System wide overview (e.g. /usr/bin/top)
  • Basic profilers (e.g. gprof)
  • Simple to use profilers (e.g. loopprofiler)
  • And so on

Yes, I do realize that we work in a multi-processor, multi-threaded environment and will look at these tools in that regard.

I will not be talking about commercially available tools. Those are being sold and as such, have some very effective tutorials. VTune is a case in point.

NEXT: I like ‘free’. Where do I find them?

VTune is a trademark of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.