What’s the difference between Intel Thread Checker and Intel Parallel Inspector?

It can be puzzling when a company releases two products that target the same problem, but there are some key differences between Intel Thread Checker and Intel Parallel Inspector.

I’ve found an interesting table that highlights the differences between these two key debugging and testing tools. Which one you should use will depend on your circumstances, but here’s a quick summary of the key differences:

  • Intel Parallel Inspector can only be used with Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 running on Windows, but Intel Thread Checker is a standalone tool, which can be used on either Windows or Linux.
  • Both tools can be used to detect possible data races and deadlocks in parallel code. Intel Parallel Inspector goes a step further and also enables you to detect possible memory problems.
  • Intel Parallel Inspector has been developed based on Intel Thread Checker and is now a part of the Intel Parallel Studio. It’s taken Intel Thread Checker to the next level by improving speed of use, cutting the computing overhead during application analysis and ensuring scalable tests without requiring that the application is serialised first.
  • Intel Thread Checker has a licence model that allows installation on multiple PCs, although only one licence may be in use at any given time. Intel Parallel Inspector is only available in a single user licence. The Intel Thread Checker licence includes premier support and a year of free product upgrades. Premier support is available for Intel Parallel Inspector as an upgrade, with forum-based support being included.

Although it is the older application, there is still a role for Intel Thread Checker. In particular, if you want to test outside of Visual Studio or on Linux, it’s the only choice. Depending on how your organisation operates, the floating licences and formal support structure might also make it the better choice for your business.

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