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Old 07-05-11, 07:19 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 8
Unhappy Major performance issues on MacBook/GT330M

Hi, I'm experiencing major issues with the NVIDIA driver, up to a point where the computer becomes completely unresponsive. Up to the upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 I resolved this problem by using the 195.X driver. This old driver doesn't work on newer Xorg anymore, so I'm forced to use the newer drivers.

My experience:
  • After a fresh boot, the graphics are usable, though not necessarily very fast. Compositing with KWin, both with OpenGL and XRender work ok.
  • If I have a Konsole window on e.g. desktop 2 and I switch to desktop 1 and then back to desktop 2, it can take several seconds where the graphics just hang (i.e. nothing moves anymore, not even the mouse pointer), then desktop 2 shows.
  • The larger the Konsole window, the more frequent this problem appears and the longer the hangs.
  • Turning compositing off helps, but doesn't fully resolve the problem. Switching compositing off and back on again also often helps.
  • Konsole performance can be very slow. It is best to use "-graphicssystem render", though that can sometimes lead to slow Framebuffer updates.
  • Many applications are slow when scrolled. E.g. Firefox or LibreOffice can crawl to a halt sometimes.
  • When an application like Kontact draws slowly, the switch to the raster graphicssystem does not help because then the Framebuffer updates can slow down so much that one can practically see the lines getting written (i.e. a falling curtain effect).
  • After the system was suspended to RAM and woken up again, simple SDL games like OpenTTD or Wesnoth become completely unplayable. OpenTTD graphics stutter so much that it is impossible to point the mouse cursor without a lot of effort. In Wesnoth the mouse cursor can be switched to a hardware cursor, so the remaining issue are the very slow redraws (even with all animations disabled, because the GPU can't handle it).
  • Sometimes the Xorg process goes to 100% CPU. I can then execute a script that calls nvidia-settings -a PixmapCache=0; nvidia-settings -a PixmapCache=1 and Xorg calms down again.

A few details I learned about my system:
  • MTRR setup doesn't work/happen. I assume this is due to the MacBook using EFI (well, an Apple variant of it) with a BIOS emulation. I manually set the two areas marked as prefetchable in lspci to write-combining in /proc/mtrr. This seems to help a bit against some of the really slow framebuffer updates.
  • nouveau performance is perfect. Even after several sleep/wakeup cycles. Sadly, it has stability issues and breaks down if I attach a large external monitor. Also it's missing good OpenGL support, though actually being able to work on the computer is so much more important than 3D effects/games.

Note that the TripleBuffer, UseEvents, and OnDemandVBlankInterrupts don't seem to make a difference with any of the above issues. I'm just experimenting with the available options in case something helps.

The IgnoreEDIDChecksum is in there because I experienced several projectors now where the driver only allowed me to use a 640x480 resolution, which is ridiculous.
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