Quick Q: Is std::vector so much slower than plain arrays?

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Quick A: A vector isn’t slower than an array when they do the same things. But it lets you do much more…

Some time ago on SO:

Is std::vector so much slower than plain arrays?

Using the following:

g++ -O3 Time.cpp -I <MyBoost>
./a.out
UseArray completed in 2.196 seconds
UseVector completed in 4.412 seconds
UseVectorPushBack completed in 8.017 seconds
The whole thing completed in 14.626 seconds


So array is twice as quick as vector.

But after looking at the code in more detail this is expected; as you run across the vector twice and the array only once. Note: when you resize() the vector you are not only allocating the memory but also running through the vector and calling the constructor on each member.

Re-Arranging the code slightly so that the vector only initializes each object once:

std::vector<Pixel>  pixels(dimensions * dimensions, Pixel(255,0,0));

Now doing the same timing again:

g++ -O3 Time.cpp -I <MyBoost>
./a.out
UseVector completed in 2.216 seconds


The vector now performance only slightly worse than the array. IMO this difference is insignificant and could be caused by a whole bunch of things not associated with the test.

I would also take into account that you are not correctly initializing/Destroying the Pixel object in the UseArrray() method as neither constructor/destructor is not called (this may not be an issue for this simple class but anything slightly more complex (ie with pointers or members with pointers) will cause problems.

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