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Old 06-23-06, 02:36 PM   #1
hbweb500
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Default Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

First off, I know that PCI cards cannot touch AGP cards when it comes to performance, but I dont have an AGP slot. I have a small 64mb GeForce4 MX4000 PCI card that I bought to use in a dual monitor setup, and it is performing terribly (or so I believe).

glxgears shows an average framerate of around 300 to 400 fps, and I get the same with my laptop's integrated card. This results in a system that is very annoying to work with. Windows leave trails when moved, scrolling in Firefox leaves trails as well.

If nothing else, I would love to be able to overclock the card. I have tried using coolbits and nvclock. With coolbits, the option doesnt appear in the nvidia settings dialogue. Nvclock segfaults.

Am I just asking too much from a PCI card? I have a plain GUI in Gnome, and I think it is much more thrifty than Windows, but I get worse performance. I am using the most up-to-date NVIDIA drivers, compiled from source, on Ubuntu Dapper 6.06.

Thanks for the help,
Justin
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Old 06-23-06, 02:43 PM   #2
netllama
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

Coolbits only works on recent GPUs (primarily NV4x & G7x). glxgears is a poor benchmark, and really doesn't provide any useful information about performance.

I'm not sure that I understand what you mean by "windows leave trails behind". Are you seeing corruption, or is the screen just slow to update? Have you tested with different window managers?

I don't see anything obviously wrong in your bug report. Is performance any better or worse if you switch to the 'nv' X driver?

Thanks,
Lonni
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Old 06-23-06, 04:08 PM   #3
Linuxhippy
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

Could it be that VRAM readbacks (or the way the nvidia does handle software fallbacks) are slower with PCI cards?

Since the user mentioned that he uses gnome, and GTK2 causes software fallbacks even when using the default benchmark he maybe experiences bandwith lmits or suboptimal readbacks?

lg Clemens
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Old 06-23-06, 06:47 PM   #4
hbweb500
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

I get marginally better performance with the accelerated Nvidia driver over the nv driver. By trailing windows I mean that there are artifacts when I move a window, the graphics become choppy, its not smooth at 1024x768 resolution while it was fine at the same res in windows.

Coolbits worked for me as well in windows. The card isnt that old, just very cheap.

I just installed SuSE linux to the same results. Using the Gnome desktop I get around 400 FPS out of glxgears with the nvidia driver installed.
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Old 06-23-06, 06:51 PM   #5
netllama
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

I'm still not clear on what "there are artifacts when I move a window" means. Is this corruption, or just a slow refresh? Do these artifacts disapear on their own? Can you capture them in a screenshot?

As for the glxgears performance, I think 400FPS is about as good as can be expected on an NV18 on the PCI bus. However, again, glxgears is not a benchmark, so I wouldn't read much into those numbers.

Thanks,
Lonni
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Old 06-24-06, 10:31 AM   #6
hbweb500
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

As far as the artifacts go... they cannot be captured in a screenshot.

Basically, the graphics are slow. This is especially evident while scrolling. The graphics arent fluid, the scrolling is choppy. This happens both in Firefox and Nautilus.

Other things such as minimizing and opening menus do not occur fluidly as well. Moving windows results in choppy graphics. Essentially, if you set your display driver to VESA instead of NVIDIA, you would get the same performance that I am getting. I am using a basic GTK2 theme and Metacity theme, yet the performance of my card is noticeably below what I had in Windows.

Like I said before, I was able to overclock my card in windows using coolbits, although the graphics are fluid and fine without the overclocking. I would be content to be able to overclock my card in Linux, but, as mentioned before, coolbits and nvclock do not work.
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Old 06-24-06, 03:34 PM   #7
Jim1
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

In my (admittedly limited) experience, the speed of the graphics card doesn't make a huge difference to 2D performance.

By that, what I mean is virtually any graphics card since the original GeForce is fast enough to do 2D so well that you shouldn't have to care about performance. I doubt overclocking would make any difference to the problems you described, since overclocking typically only buys you 5-10% anyway.

GLXgears is no reliable benchmark of 3D performance. Do you have any games you could run a demo in - these give a much better idea of actual graphics card performance.
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Old 06-24-06, 07:54 PM   #8
hbweb500
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

Nope, no games...

It really is my 2-d performance that I want to fix. This seems to be an issue with my computer and linux, because windows works fine on this computer and other linux distros work great on my less-equipped laptop.
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Old 06-25-06, 02:47 PM   #9
Linuxhippy
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Default Re: Dismal Performance with NVIDIA PCI Card

Hi again,

Some toolkit on Linux tend to be not optimized a lot so you should have a strong CPU to be sure that its really your GPU limiting the whole thing. Because win32 is one of the fastest toolkits I know (in terms of repainting and layouting), it quite "normal" windows outperforms gnome, escecially since windows does some sort of caching window contents.
To make it better I just can recommend using an composition manager without any effects, this way you get the caching effect which should help menus and moving windows.

Do you also experience this when using programs written in QT (no skin is preffered)?

Good luck, lg Clemens
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