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System profiling overview

With Android GPU Inspector (AGI), you can perform system profiling that includes a wide range of tracing options and GPU performance measurements for your Android app. In comparison to the Android Studio profiling tools, AGI combines many of those capabilities into one tool, and then provides more in-depth GPU coverage and analysis. The available system profiling data includes the following:

  • App trace data including ATrace markers
  • CPU and process scheduling data
  • GPU performance info such as counter, activity, and lifecycle data
  • Trace data for Vulkan API calls
  • Memory usage statistics
  • Battery usage statistics

System Profiler is the AGI component that manages the UI and instrumentation for system profiling over multiple app frames. It is built on top of the Perfetto tracing system. For information about the AGI component for profiling individual app frames, see the Frame profiler overview.

Get started

The AGI quickstart describes how to set up AGI, capture a system profile, and then open the resulting trace file. The next section describes the configuration options in more detail.

Profiling options

This sections describes the main options that are available when you profile an app.

Application settings

The Application settings identify the Android app to run and trace during system profiling. Selecting an Android app to trace during system profiling is optional but recommended because without it, the resulting trace file won't include ATrace markers and GPU activity for an application.

Trace options

The Trace Options specify the profiling data to collect. The Configure button displays the available data sources.

To minimize the performance impact on your Android device when you profile the system, we recommend that you select fewer data sources if you set the trace Duration to over a minute. However, for traces under a minute, you can select all data sources with minimal impact.

CPU options

The CPU option enables the collection of CPU and process scheduling data through ftrace. This allows you to see what process and thread is running on each CPU core. You can also enable these options:

  • Frequency and idle states: Collects CPU core frequency and idle state change events, which allows you to inspect how the CPU is scaled up or down based on load.
  • Scheduling chains / latency: Collects additional thread state data about thread scheduling delays and preemption.
  • Thread slices: Collects ATrace markers in the process views.

GPU options

The GPU options enable profiling of your app's GPU usage, such as the collection of GPU frequency and memory usage data. To collect this data, you must specify an application to trace in the Application settings. The options include the following:

  • Counters: Collects GPU counter samples. This data is used to determine how busy the GPU is and locate bottlenecks, so we recommend that you configure these settings.

    The counters are hardware-specific. For example, the minimum frequency for sample collection (Poll Rate) may differ based on the counter type. For information about supported counters, see GPU performance counters.

  • Frame Lifecycle: Traces SufaceFlinger events, which help determine how frame buffers move through your application, the compositor, and window manager. These events allow you to locate missed app frames and identify sources of latency in your rendering pipeline.

  • Renderstage slices Collects data that helps determine how your application is using the GPU.

Vulkan options

The Vulkan options enable tracing of Vulkan API calls, which can then be enabled by function type. You can use this data to determine the CPU overhead of Vulkan API calls. The trace records the duration of each function call, which is displayed within your app's thread slices when you analyze the data in the Vulkan event track.

Other options

The additional system profiling options include:

  • Memory: Collect essential memory usage statistics, both globally and for each process.

  • Battery: Collects battery statistics. This can give you a rough estimate of the power usage of your application.

  • Force Tracing into a File on the Device: Trace data is typically streamed over USB while the trace is being captured, which has the least amount of overhead and allows for long traces. However, if you encounter problems or dropped profiling data due to USB latency, you can select this option to save the trace file on the device, which AGI then downloads after tracing concludes. This requires sufficient space on your device's internal storage to store the trace file.

Advanced mode

The Switch to advanced mode link launches advanced configuration mode, which allows you to manually edit the Pefetto trace configuration that stores your profiling options.

View and analyze the results

When you open a trace file that contains system profiling data, AGI displays the data in the System Profiler UI for analysis. For information about viewing the data, see View a system profile.

These topics describe how to analyze system profiling data with AGI: