GPU profiling

Table of Contents

GPU operations cannot be profiled using the CPU profiler as they are executed asynchronously. This means when you call a method that executes on the GPU (such as those on RenderAPI, as well as GPU resource read/write operations) it will return almost immediately, meaning the timing information reported by the CPU profiler will not be representative of the time it actually took to execute the operation.

Therefore GPU profiling is instead handled by ProfilerGPU, globally accessible from gProfilerGPU(). It allows you to track execution times of GPU operations, as well as other helpful information.


Similar to CPU profiling, you issue sampling calls using ProfilerGPU::beginSample() and ProfilerGPU::endSample(). Any GPU commands executed between these two calls will be measured.

RenderAPI& rapi = RenderAPI::instance();
// ... bind pipeline states, buffers, etc.
// Measure how long it takes the GPU to draw something
rapi.drawIndexed(0, numIndices, 0, numVertices);

Each GPU sample will measure the time to took the execute the command on the GPU, but will also measure various resource usage stats. For example it will measure number of draw calls, number of vertices/primitives drawn, render state switches, and similar.

All ProfilerGPU::beginSample() and ProfilerGPU::endSample() calls need to be placed in-between ProfilerGPU::beginFrame() and ProfilerGPU::endFrame(). As their name implies you should only call these methods once per frame. If working with the default renderer, they will be called for you by the renderer.


GPU profiler will generate a single report per ProfilerGPU::beginFrame() / ProfilerGPU::endFrame() pair. Since GPU is executing asynchronously the report might not be available as soon as you call ProfilerGPU::endFrame(). Instead you should call ProfilerGPU::getNumAvailableReports() to check if there is a report available. If there is one you can then call ProfilerGPU::getNextReport() to retrieve the report. Report information is contained in a GPUProfilerReport structure.

if(ProfilerGPU::instance().getNumAvailableReports() > 0)
GPUProfilerReport report = ProfilerGPU::instance().getNextReport();
gDebug().logDebug("It took " + report.frameSample.timeMs + "ms to execute " + report.frameSample.numDrawCalls + " draw calls.");

Retrieving the report removes it from the profiler. If more than one report is available then the oldest report is returned first. If you don't retrieve reports for multiple frames the system will start discarding oldest reports.