Whether we do it as a hobby or just out of plain curiosity (or more than likely both), benchmarking has become almost an art. People always try to find the best ways to benchmark a piece of software or hardware in order to increase the ease of replicating those results and to be more accurate. Although benchmarking has been criticized for only representing synthetic performance instead of real-world performance (especially for hardware), it is still a good indicator of how powerful or fast something is.
As an example, if the results from two different CPUs are pretty close to each other, you can say that real-world performance will be about the same. However, if the results are far apart, you’ll know that one is definitely better.
Why We Need A Better Solution
In benchmarking, a good measure to keep is the start up time of an application. This can be very useful for comparing the start up speed between two different products, or comparing the start up speed of the same software on two different computers to measure the performance of the hardware in each computer. A lot of people tend to still use timings done by hand, which can be catastrophic in terms of accuracy when most results will be mere seconds from each other. So we need a benchmarking tool that will be much more accurate than our hands could ever dream of being.
AppTimer solves that exact problem. It can detect the exact moment when a command has been executed to start a program and when it has finally loaded. It has a couple of ways of doing this, along with some other useful options for benchmarkers.
AppTimer doesn’t need to be installed. Instead, you just download it and extract the .exe file from the zip folder, and there is the program. You can move it to whichever media you please and run it off any computer. As a benchmarking tool, it’s a great feature to have.
About The Window
The AppTimer window isn’t exactly friendly to beginners in the benchmarking world, but I’ll walk you through all the possible fields as there aren’t very many of them. The application field allows you to select which program you would like to time. You can browse through your folders by clicking the “…” to the right so that you won’t have to manually type in the entire path.
The Cmd Line lets you add in a command line that you want to time if you so choose, although this isn’t necessary.
The Log File will contain the timing information in a readable format. You’ll need to choose where you would like to have the log file saved.
The Window Name needs to be entered so that the program, when launched, can be detected as it is opened so that it can close it automatically. Looking at the title, you can see something like either just the name or something in addition to the name. For example, if your title says “Document 1 – Microsoft Word”, it will suffice to put in Microsoft Word as the window title.
The Executions box dictates how many times in a row AppTimer will try to launch the specified application or command. The Delay box tells AppTimer how long it should wait before it executes again. The Debug checkbox is for, well, debugging, and isn’t really needed unless you know what to do with the information it’ll spit out.
The Window Detection Method area offers a couple of different ways to detect if a window has been opened. If you don’t know which ones to choose, I recommend choosing “Input Idle”, “Window Detection“, and “Visible“, which together means that the window should be visible and ready for input to count as “open”.
The Window Close Method area offers multiple ways of closing a program once it’s open. If you’re not sure what to choose, I recommend “WM_CLOSE” and “Alt+F4“.
Running The Benchmark
If everything is entered in correctly, you can hit “Run App“, and AppTimer will do everything for you.
Then it should save a log file to your specified location, which contains the amount of time it took to start the application.
AppTimer is a surprisingly great benchmarking tool to get accurate results in a fashion that “just works”. With it, you can be sure that there is a much smaller margin of error and that much better comparisons can be made with other software or hardware configurations. It’s the perfect entry-level benchmarking tool. If you’re interested, you can also check out some other cool benchmarking tools.
What’s your favorite method of benchmarking? Why do you prefer it the most? Let us know in the comments!
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