C# – Performance difference for control structures ‘for’ and ‘foreach’ in C#


Which code snippet will give better performance? The below code segments were written in C#.


for(int tempCount=0;tempCount<list.count;tempcount++)
        // Some code.
foreach(object row in list)
        //Some coding

Best Solution

Well, it partly depends on the exact type of list. It will also depend on the exact CLR you're using.

Whether it's in any way significant or not will depend on whether you're doing any real work in the loop. In almost all cases, the difference to performance won't be significant, but the difference to readability favours the foreach loop.

I'd personally use LINQ to avoid the "if" too:

foreach (var item in list.Where(condition))

EDIT: For those of you who are claiming that iterating over a List<T> with foreach produces the same code as the for loop, here's evidence that it doesn't:

static void IterateOverList(List<object> list)
    foreach (object o in list)

Produces IL of:

.method private hidebysig static void  IterateOverList(class [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.List`1<object> list) cil managed
  // Code size       49 (0x31)
  .maxstack  1
  .locals init (object V_0,
           valuetype [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.List`1/Enumerator<object> V_1)
  IL_0000:  ldarg.0
  IL_0001:  callvirt   instance valuetype [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.List`1/Enumerator<!0> class [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.List`1<object>::GetEnumerator()
  IL_0006:  stloc.1
    IL_0007:  br.s       IL_0017
    IL_0009:  ldloca.s   V_1
    IL_000b:  call       instance !0 valuetype [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.List`1/Enumerator<object>::get_Current()
    IL_0010:  stloc.0
    IL_0011:  ldloc.0
    IL_0012:  call       void [mscorlib]System.Console::WriteLine(object)
    IL_0017:  ldloca.s   V_1
    IL_0019:  call       instance bool valuetype [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.List`1/Enumerator<object>::MoveNext()
    IL_001e:  brtrue.s   IL_0009
    IL_0020:  leave.s    IL_0030
  }  // end .try
    IL_0022:  ldloca.s   V_1
    IL_0024:  constrained. valuetype [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.List`1/Enumerator<object>
    IL_002a:  callvirt   instance void [mscorlib]System.IDisposable::Dispose()
    IL_002f:  endfinally
  }  // end handler
  IL_0030:  ret
} // end of method Test::IterateOverList

The compiler treats arrays differently, converting a foreach loop basically to a for loop, but not List<T>. Here's the equivalent code for an array:

static void IterateOverArray(object[] array)
    foreach (object o in array)

// Compiles into...

.method private hidebysig static void  IterateOverArray(object[] 'array') cil managed
  // Code size       27 (0x1b)
  .maxstack  2
  .locals init (object V_0,
           object[] V_1,
           int32 V_2)
  IL_0000:  ldarg.0
  IL_0001:  stloc.1
  IL_0002:  ldc.i4.0
  IL_0003:  stloc.2
  IL_0004:  br.s       IL_0014
  IL_0006:  ldloc.1
  IL_0007:  ldloc.2
  IL_0008:  ldelem.ref
  IL_0009:  stloc.0
  IL_000a:  ldloc.0
  IL_000b:  call       void [mscorlib]System.Console::WriteLine(object)
  IL_0010:  ldloc.2
  IL_0011:  ldc.i4.1
  IL_0012:  add
  IL_0013:  stloc.2
  IL_0014:  ldloc.2
  IL_0015:  ldloc.1
  IL_0016:  ldlen
  IL_0017:  conv.i4
  IL_0018:  blt.s      IL_0006
  IL_001a:  ret
} // end of method Test::IterateOverArray

Interestingly, I can't find this documented in the C# 3 spec anywhere...