Nvidia and SETI (yep)
I am running SETI@Home on two Linux boxes. Box A is an Athlon XP 2300 with a GeForce FX 5200 card. Box B is a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 with an Intel 82845G/GL graphics chipset. On A I have the 6106 Nvidia drivers, whereas on B I have Intel's i810 drivers, as delivered with the X Org X11 distribution. On box A glxgears yields some 1,800 fps, whereas on box B the performance is 1,300 fps (yee-ha!)
When I run the same tests with a SETI@Home client running on each box, things change dramatically. For A, glxgears reports 150 fps at best, whereas for B the number is about 750 fps. This raises tow questions:
1) How come that SETI@Home has such an enormous impact on the Nvidia drivers, and comparatively less so on the Intel ones?
2) Why, in either case, is the performance impact so large? In my naiveté, I thought that with the drivers above the graphics cards would be doing all the hard work, while leaving the CPU available for other chores. Obviously things are not quite as straightforward.
Anybody care to enlighten me here?