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Regular version of the site

Article

Millisecond timing on PCs and Macs

Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers. 2001. Vol. 33. No. 2. P. 174-178.
MacInnes W., Taylor T.

A real-time, object-oriented solution for displaying stimuli on Windows 95/98, MacOS and Linuxplatforms is presented. The program, written in C++, utilizes a special-purpose window class (GLWindow), OpenGL, and 32-bit graphics acceleration; it avoids display timing uncertainty by substituting the new window class for the default window code for each system. We report the outcome of tests for real-time capability across PC and Mac platforms running a variety of operating systems. The test program, which can be used as a shell for programming real-time experiments and testing specific processors, is available at http://www.cs.dal.ca/~macinnwj. We propose to provide researchers with a sense of the usefulness of our program, highlight the ability of many multitasking environments to achieve real time, as well as caution users about systems that may not achieve real time, even under optimal conditions.