Windows Timer Resolution: Megawatts Wasted

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The default timer resolution on Windows is 15.6 ms – a timer interrupt 64 times a second. When programs increase the timer frequency they increase power consumption and harm battery life. They also waste more compute power than I would ever have expected – they make your computer run slower! Because of these problems Microsoft has been telling developers to not increase the timer frequency for years.

So how come almost every time I notice that my timer frequency has been raised it’s been done by a Microsoft program (or Chrome), that is not doing anything to justify requesting a high-frequency timer?

Update March 2015: Chrome now avoids raising the timer frequency unnecessarily.

Update June 2015: UIforETW, my handy tool for recording ETW traces for performance analysis, now records the current timer frequency to the traces.

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