We believe Sparsepp provides an unparalleled combination of performance and memory usage, and will outperform your compiler's unordered_map on both counts. Only Google's dense_hash_map is consistently faster, at the cost of much greater memory usage (especially when the final size of the map is not known in advance, and insertions cause a resizing). This hash map. like Google's dense_hash_map, uses open addressing (meaning that the hash table entries are conceptually stored in a big array, and collisions are not resolved using a linked list, but by probing). A big drawback of open addressing is that when the array needs to be resized larger, the high mark for memory usage is typically 3 times the current map size (as we allocate a new array twice as big as the current one, and copy from the old array to the new one). Sparsepp's implementation resolves this memory usage issue, and the memory usage high mark shows only a small bump when resizing.