I was having an argument with a coworker about the fastest method to branch in a code: lots of if/Else or a switch/case. I figured that the switch case would be faster, because the compiler would be less constrained than with the if/else, and could therefore use a better algorithm to select the right execution path.

To check this, I made a new entry in my microprojects repo, the aptly named switchVsIfElse. A 11 entries switch case is compared with the same algorithm, using If/Else. The calling code iterate a certain number of times (input of the program) by feeding numbers to the branching code. Most numbers are from the “default” case, or last if. This gives a worst case scenario for the if/Else.

After running the benchmark on a i5 4570, the switch is 4 times faster than the ifElse. After a bit of googling, I found out that the switch can be implemented by the compiler as a binary search or as a branch table, which are obviously much faster than the ifElse !

Look at the code on Github, and see for yourself !

Future plan