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The performance of graph algorithms is often measured in terms of the number of traversed edges per second (TEPS). However, this performance metric is inadequate for a graph operation such as exact triangle counting. In triangle counting, execution times on graphs with a similar number of edges can be distinctly different as demonstrated by results from the past Graph Challenge entries. We discuss the need for an objective performance metric for graph operations and the desired characteristics of such a metric such that it more accurately captures the interactions between the amount of work performed and the capabilities of the hardware on which the code is executed. Using exact triangle counting as an example, we derive a metric that captures how certain techniques employed in many implementations improve performance. We demonstrate that our proposed metric can be used to evaluate and compare multiple approaches for triangle counting, using a SIMD approach as a case study against a scalar baseline.Keywords: CPUs, High performance, Triangle counting, Graph-algorithms, Performance metric