Sun Studio 12: Performance Analyzer

Hardware Counter Overflow Profiling

Hardware counter overflow profiling data includes a counter ID and the overflow value. The value can be larger than the value at which the counter is set to overflow, because the processor executes some instructions between the overflow and the recording of the event. The value is especially likely to be larger for cycle and instruction counters, which are incremented much more frequently than counters such as floating-point operations or cache misses. The delay in recording the event also means that the program counter address recorded with call stack does not correspond exactly to the overflow event. See Attribution of Hardware Counter Overflows for more information. See also the discussion of Traps. Traps and trap handlers can cause significant differences between reported User CPU time and time reported by the cycle counter.

The amount of data collected depends on the overflow value. Choosing a value that is too small can have the following consequences.

Choosing a value that is too large can result in too few overflows for good statistics. The counts that are accrued after the last overflow are attributed to the collector function collector_final_counters. If you see a substantial fraction of the counts in this function, the overflow value is too large.