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Latency numbers every programmer should know

Latency numbers every programmer should know

L1 cache reference ......................... 0.5 ns
Branch mispredict ............................ 5 ns
L2 cache reference ........................... 7 ns
Mutex lock/unlock ........................... 25 ns
Main memory reference ...................... 100 ns             
Compress 1K bytes with Zippy ............. 3,000 ns  =   3 µs
Send 2K bytes over 1 Gbps network ....... 20,000 ns  =  20 µs
SSD random read ........................ 150,000 ns  = 150 µs
Read 1 MB sequentially from memory ..... 250,000 ns  = 250 µs
Round trip within same datacenter ...... 500,000 ns  = 0.5 ms
Read 1 MB sequentially from SSD* ..... 1,000,000 ns  =   1 ms
Disk seek ........................... 10,000,000 ns  =  10 ms
Read 1 MB sequentially from disk .... 20,000,000 ns  =  20 ms
Send packet CA->Netherlands->CA .... 150,000,000 ns  = 150 ms

Assuming ~1GB/sec SSD

Visual representation of latencies

Visual chart provided by ayshen

Data by Jeff Dean

Originally by Peter Norvig

Lets multiply all these durations by a billion:



L1 cache reference                  0.5 s         One heart beat (0.5 s)
Branch mispredict                   5 s           Yawn
L2 cache reference                  7 s           Long yawn
Mutex lock/unlock                   25 s          Making a coffee


Main memory reference               100 s         Brushing your teeth
Compress 1K bytes with Zippy        50 min        One episode of a TV show (including ad breaks)


Send 2K bytes over 1 Gbps network   5.5 hr        From lunch to end of work day


SSD random read                     1.7 days      A normal weekend
Read 1 MB sequentially from memory  2.9 days      A long weekend
Round trip within same datacenter   5.8 days      A medium vacation
Read 1 MB sequentially from SSD    11.6 days      Waiting for almost 2 weeks for a delivery


Disk seek                           16.5 weeks    A semester in university
Read 1 MB sequentially from disk    7.8 months    Almost producing a new human being
The above 2 together                1 year


Send packet CA->Netherlands->CA     4.8 years     Average time it takes to complete a bachelor's degree

25s is making one coffee. 7.8 months is a tad faster than producing a new human being. One disk-seek (16 weeks) and then reading 1MiB (7.8 months) is one year.


thx, will incorporate those!


16.5 weeks ~= four months ~= full semester at university ~= summer break ?


branch mis-predict: a yawn.

Such an accurate portrayal. "yawwwn aw damn it fell through to the else again."


4.8 years is very roughly two round trips to Mars. Or a one-way trip to Europa.


neat, thanks!


4.8 years is about how long a bachelor's degree takes on average (4.7 years in 2008 according to this page).


Should add date of creation to text itself (as of ...)


If enough people start reading this, the last one will have to wait several years


Here's a tool to visualize these numbers over time:


Great interactive chart! Suggest to add CPU cycles for a simple single instructions such as ADD, MOV, MULT (e.g. "multiplying two 16bit integers".


I'd like to see a duration for function-call overhead. Late 80s when I was in school, it was several micro-seconds, enough that people had concerns about having unnecessary function calls. I'm sure that doesn't apply any more, but I don't have real numbers.


@legrady it depends on a lot of factors. Is it a virtual function call?




If reading 1MB from an SSD costs 1ms, what would the cost be to read 10MB sequentially from an SSD?


This is a great collection. I just dont get where or how i am able to make coffee in just 25s.


Agree @b1nary . if someone knows how to do that, please share the source code 😄


That would be a shocker if devops status page turned into humanized numbers one day (sometime in april).
We should all start working harder to improve our numbers ! and enjoy more Round trip within same datacenter 😃


Do not forget:

3ms: Time till a wrongly configured sendmail timeouts and fails to deliver a mail. Roughly corresponds to mail servers in a 500km (3 millilightseconds) radius

6h: Time to send a mail across those 500km via RFC 1149




@stultus @b1nary we have a coffee machine that makes coffee. Ta-Dah! 😄


good, it's cool!


cool! great summary

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