Value Categories (L-Values and R-Values)

Move Semantics and Performance Optimization

How can move semantics improve the performance of my C++ code?

Illustration representing computer hardware

Move semantics is a powerful feature in C++ that can significantly improve the performance of your code by avoiding unnecessary copies of objects. It allows you to efficiently transfer resources from one object to another, especially when dealing with temporary objects or objects that are no longer needed.

Here are a few ways move semantics can optimize your code:

  1. Avoiding expensive copies: When you have objects that manage resources (such as dynamically allocated memory), copying those objects can be costly. Move semantics allows you to move the resources from one object to another instead of performing a deep copy. This can greatly reduce the overhead of copying large objects.
  2. Efficient use of temporary objects: Temporary objects are often created during function calls or as intermediary results. With move semantics, you can efficiently transfer the resources from these temporary objects to other objects without the need for copying. This is particularly useful when working with containers or large data structures.
  3. Improved performance of container operations: Containers like std::vector and std::string have been optimized to take advantage of move semantics. When you insert or assign elements to these containers, the elements can be moved instead of copied if they are r-values. This can lead to significant performance improvements, especially when dealing with large objects or frequent container operations.

Here's an example that demonstrates the performance benefit of move semantics:

#include <iostream>
#include <chrono>
#include <vector>

class MyClass {
  MyClass(int size) : data(new int[size]) {}
  ~MyClass() { delete[] data; }

  // Move constructor
  MyClass(MyClass&& other) : data( { = nullptr;

    int* data;

int main() {
  using namespace std::chrono;
  std::vector<MyClass> vec;

  auto start = high_resolution_clock::now();

  for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; ++i) {

  auto end = high_resolution_clock::now();
  auto duration = duration_cast<milliseconds>(
    end - start);

  std::cout << "Time taken: "
    << duration.count() << " milliseconds\n";
Time taken: 3679 milliseconds

In this example, we have a MyClass that manages dynamically allocated memory. We measure the time taken to push a large number of MyClass objects into a vector. Thanks to move semantics, the objects are moved into the vector instead of being copied, resulting in faster performance.

By leveraging move semantics appropriately, you can write more efficient C++ code that minimizes unnecessary copies and optimizes resource management.

Answers to questions are automatically generated and may not have been reviewed.

A computer programmer
Part of the course:

Professional C++

Comprehensive course covering advanced concepts, and how to use them on large-scale projects.

Free, unlimited access

This course includes:

  • 124 Lessons
  • 550+ Code Samples
  • 96% Positive Reviews
  • Regularly Updated
  • Help and FAQ
Free, Unlimited Access

Professional C++

Comprehensive course covering advanced concepts, and how to use them on large-scale projects.

Screenshot from Warhammer: Total War
Screenshot from Tomb Raider
Screenshot from Jedi: Fallen Order
Contact|Privacy Policy|Terms of Use
Copyright © 2024 - All Rights Reserved