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Increasing the timer resolution

Raymond Chen’s blog post on Timers reminded me about the timeBeginPeriod and timeEndPeriod APIs. It turns out Larry Osterman also blogged about them here.

While coding some applications, for example, a market data generator, you might want to increase the timer resolution so that you can genereate higher volume of data.  This is where these APIs come into play.

internal static extern uint timeBeginPeriod(uint period);

internal static extern uint timeEndPeriod(uint period);

int resolution = _randomSleep.Next(0, 5);
try {
   // change minimum timer resolution
   timeBeginPeriod((uint) resolution);
finally {
   // reset the timer
   timeEndPeriod((uint) resolution);

There are 2 points to keep in mind (as mentioned in Larry’s blog post and in the documentation):

  1. This is a global setting. So it could affect other applications.
  2. It can reduce system performance.
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