User Guide


Memory Access Analysis for Cache Misses and High Bandwidth Issues

Use the
Intel® VTune™
's Memory Access analysis to identify memory-related issues, like NUMA problems and bandwidth-limited accesses, and attribute performance events to memory objects (data structures), which is provided due to instrumentation of memory allocations/de-allocations and getting static/global variables from symbol information.
Intel® VTune™ Profiler is a new renamed version of the Intel® VTune™ Amplifier.

How It Works

Memory Access analysis type uses hardware event-based sampling to collect data for the following metrics:
  • Loads
    metrics that show the total number of loads and stores
  • LLC Miss Count
    metric that shows the total number of last-level cache misses
    • Local DRAM Access Count
      metric that shows the total number of LLC misses serviced by the local memory
    • Remote DRAM Access Count
      metric that shows the number of accesses to the remote socket memory
    • Remote Cache Access Count
      metric that shows the number of accesses to the remote socket cache
  • Memory Bound
    metric that shows a fraction of cycles spent waiting due to demand load or store instructions
    • L1 Bound
      metric that shows how often the machine was stalled without missing the L1 data cache
    • L2 Bound
      metric that shows how often the machine was stalled on L2 cache
    • L3 Bound
      metric that shows how often the CPU was stalled on L3 cache, or contended with a sibling core
    • L3 Latency
      metric that shows a fraction of cycles with demand load accesses that hit the L3 cache under unloaded scenarios (possibly L3 latency limited)
    • NUMA: % of Remote Accesses
      metric shows percentage of memory requests to remote DRAM. The lower its value is, the better.
    • DRAM Bound
      metric that shows how often the CPU was stalled on the main memory (DRAM). This metric enables you to identify
      DRAM Bandwidth Bound
      UPI Utilization Bound
      issues, as well as
      Memory Latency
      issues with the following metrics:
      • Remote / Local DRAM Ratio
        metric that is defined by the ratio of remote DRAM loads to local DRAM loads
      • Local DRAM
        metric that shows how often the CPU was stalled on loads from the local memory
      • Remote DRAM
        metric that shows how often the CPU was stalled on loads from the remote memory
      • Remote Cache
        metric that shows how often the CPU was stalled on loads from the remote cache in other sockets
  • Average Latency
    metric that shows an average load latency in cycles
  • The list of metrics may vary depending on your microarchitecture.
  • The UPI Utilization metric replaced QPI Utilization starting with systems based on Intel microarchitecture code name Skylake.
Many of the collected events used in the Memory Access analysis are precise. This simplifies understanding the data access pattern. Off-core traffic is divided into the local DRAM and remote DRAM accesses. Typically, you should focus on minimizing remote DRAM accesses that usually have a high cost.

Configure and Run Analysis

To configure options for the Memory Access analysis:
: Create a project.
  1. Click the (standalone GUI)/ (Visual Studio IDE)
    Configure Analysis
    button on the
    Intel® VTune™
    Configure Analysis
    window opens.
  2. From
    pane, click the Browse button and select
    Memory Access
  3. Configure the following options:
    CPU sampling interval, ms
    Specify an interval (in milliseconds) between CPU samples.
    Possible values -
    The default value is
    1 ms
    Analyze dynamic memory objects
    check box (Linux only)
    Enable the instrumentation of dynamic memory allocation/de-allocation and map hardware events to such memory objects. This option may cause additional runtime overhead due to the instrumentation of all system memory allocation/de-allocation API.
    The option is disabled by default.
    Minimal dynamic memory object size to track, in bytes
    spin box (Linux only)
    Specify a minimal size of dynamic memory allocations to analyze. This option helps reduce runtime overhead of the instrumentation.
    The default value is
    Evaluate max DRAM bandwidth
    check box
    Evaluate maximum achievable local DRAM bandwidth before the collection starts. This data is used to scale bandwidth metrics on the timeline and calculate thresholds.
    The option is enabled by default.
    Analyze OpenMP regions
    check box
    Instrument and analyze OpenMP regions to detect inefficiencies such as imbalance, lock contention, or overhead on performing scheduling, reduction and atomic operations.
    The option is disabled by default.
    Expand/collapse a section listing the default non-editable settings used for this analysis type. If you want to modify or enable additional settings for the analysis, you need to create a custom configuration by copying an existing predefined configuration.
    creates an editable copy of this analysis type configuration.
  4. Click the Start button to run the analysis.
  • Memory objects analysis can be configured for Linux* targets only and only for processors based on Intel microarchitecture code name Sandy Bridge or later.

View Data

For analysis, explore the Memory Usage viewpoint that includes the following windows:
  • Summary
    window displays statistics on the overall application execution, including the application-level bandwidth utilization histogram.
  • Bottom-up
    window displays performance data per metric for each hotspot object. If you enable the
    Analyze memory objects
    option for data collection, the
    window also displays memory allocation call stacks in the grid and Call Stack pane. Use the
    Memory Object
    grouping level, preceded with the
    level, to view memory objects as the source location of an allocation call.
  • Platform
    window provides details on tasks specified in your code with the Task API, Ftrace*/Systrace* event tasks, OpenCL™ API tasks, and so on. If corresponding platform metrics are collected, the Platform window displays over-time data as GPU usage on a software queue, CPU time usage, OpenCL™ kernels data, and GPU performance per the Overview group of GPU hardware metrics, Memory Bandwidth, and CPU Frequency.

Support Limitations

Memory Access analysis is supported on the following platforms:
  • 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • Intel® Xeon® processor families, or later
  • 3rd Generation Intel Atom® processor family, or later
If you need to analyze older processors, you can create a custom analysis and choose events related to memory accesses. However, you will be limited to memory-related events available on those processors. For information about memory access events per processor, see the
tuning guides
For dynamic memory object analysis on Linux, the
instruments the following Memory Allocation APIs:
  • standard system memory allocation API:
    , and others
  • memkind
  • jemalloc
  • pmdk

Product and Performance Information


Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more at