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Synchronized vs. Lock Performance

There are a number of articles on whether synchronized or Locks are faster.

There are a number of articles on whether synchronized or Locks are faster. There appear to be opinions in favour of either option. In this article I attempt to show how you can achieve different views depending on how you benchmark the two approaches.

I have included AtomicInteger to see how a volatile field compares.

What are some of the differences

The synchronized keyword has naturally built in language support. This can mean the JIT can optimise synchronised blocks in ways it cannot with Locks. e.g. it can combine synchronized blocks.

The test

As the JIT can optimise synchronized in ways a Lock cannot, I wanted to have a test which might demonstrate this and one which might "fool" the JIT.

In this test, 25 million locks were performed between each of the threads. Java 6 update 26 was used.

Threads1x synch1x Lock1x AtomicInteger2x synch2x Lock2x AtomicInteger
1 :0.9370.7860.4001.5321.4840.569
2 :2.7664.5970.6765.3986.3551.278
4 :3.9041.2670.6946.3302.6571.354
8 :3.8840.9531.0115.4182.0732.761
16 :3.2070.8691.1714.8171.6562.800
32 :3.2130.8531.2404.9151.6802.843
64 :3.3220.9211.2695.0491.6392.843

Note: It appears that Lock performs best with high numbers of threads. However this may because the performance approaches the single threaded performance. It may do this by avoiding contention and letting just one thread run for long periods of time.

The Code



In general, unless you have measured you system and you know you have a performance issue, you should do what you believe is simplest and clearest and it is likely to performance well.

These results indicate that synchronized is best for a small number of threads accessing a lock (<4) and Lock may be best for a high number of threads accessing the same locks.


From http://vanillajava.blogspot.com/2011/07/synchronized-vs-lock-performance.html

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