The High Precision Event Timer (HPET) is a hardware timer that has been developed by Intel and Microsoft. HPET has been used in PC chipsets for nearly a decade at the time of writing.
Different timers may be used depending on which operating system you have installed on your PC, and tweaking the timers may improve the overall performance of your PC as a result. This is mostly useful for gaming related activities and other real-time activities that benefit from additional resources.
The first thing that you need to find out is if HPET is supported by a computer system. You need to go into the BIOS or UEFI setup during boot to find out.
Since there are that many different versions out there it is hard to say where you will find the setting on your system. I found the setting under Advanced Mode > Advanced > PCH Configuration > High Precision Timer but you may find it in a different location. The PC should display information on how to enter the BIOS on start; common keys to press to enter the BIOS include ESC, F1, or DEL.
Enabling or disabling the timer in BIOS is only one part of the change that you have to make though. Windows may use different timers as said earlier even if the HPET timer is enabled in the BIOS.
You need to run the following commands on the command line in Windows to enable or disable the exclusive use of the HPET timer.
Note: We recommend that you create a backup of the operating system before you make these changes.
There are a couple of tests that you can run to see if the performance is better when the timer is enabled or disabled on your system. While you can check that by playing games or other applications as well, it is usually a good idea to run the following two programs as they provide hard data.
WinTimerTest is a lightweight portable program that displays timer related information to you. You should get a value of around 14.3 MHz if HPET is enabled, and less than that, usually 3.9 MHz if it is disabled. You can download it with a click on the following link: Windows Timer Tester
DPC Latency Checker is the second program that tests how the computer handles real-time data streams.
I suggest you run both programs before you make any change to your system, and then again after you have made changes. Not everyone is noticing improvements after enabling HPET in both the BIOS / UEFI and the Windows operating system. Some notice slow downs and others that micro-stutters go away after disabling the timer on their system. So, it is definitely a good idea to test all possible settings to see if one makes a difference for you if you noticed issues in first hand or improve the performance of the system.
Note that updating drivers and Windows itself may improve the use of the timers as well.Advertisement
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.