So.... in the old days when I was trying to speed up a function, I'd change the border colour, mark in pencil where it was on the side of the monitor make changes and try and see if it was any faster - not very accurate I'm sure you'll agree. I had to make sure my head was in the same place (which usually meant marking the TOP and bottom of the bar), and with other functions marked in the same way, the monitor got a bit messy.
Now with emultors its even harder, they startup in a window and you cant draw on a TFT like you could a CRT, and I really dont want to draw on the side of it. I also used to use post-it's but again, its not very accurate. So what I do now is grab a screenshot of the first slow version and paste it into paintshop pro (or paint.net), then speed it up, then grab it again. Now I paste that as a new layer and apply a little transparancy to it so I can see the original through it - hay presto! I can see instantly how much faster (or slower) it actually is!
The image on the right shows timings for the new sort over the old one. The white+blue at the bottom is the new sort+copy, while the dark gray at the very bottom is the extra time the OLD sort+copy used to take. And if you copy the gray bit out, you'll notice its 9 raster lines (remember its double sized so 2 pixels = 1 raster) faster. Quite a saving, and VERY easy to see. I actually have an image with several old versions layered on so I can go back and forward through them easily which is pretty neat.