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Old 03-12-08, 07:33 AM   #1
torturedutopian
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Default Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nvidia !!

(Title should be read : ... than nvidia

Hi everyone !

This is a very serious issue many people seem to be experiencing, on many boards worldwide, for several years already.

Briefly : Firefox (especially, but not only) scrolling is veeeery slow on many sites. For instance, this one : arvuez.org.

I've tried for a long time to look for a solution, a reason to explain why this occured on quite decent machines (like AMD 4200+ * 2 + 8600GTS). I never found the solution.

By any luck, I booted this morning a "Wolvix" live CD. It didn't recognize my 8600 GTS so it used the "VESA" driver.

I was completely SHOCKED for find out that Firefox was EXTREMELY fast. (fast tabs switching, scrolling 100% smooth on the site I provided above)...

I really think this is a *very* serious issue that should be investigated !
A good browsing experience is, I think, to many people, more important than fast 3D !

Thanks for listening
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Old 03-12-08, 09:05 AM   #2
torturedutopian
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

In case you're interested, I've replaced my 8600GTS with a cheap Radeon X300 + Ubuntu Gutsy. (latest drivers)

On the site "arvuez.org" :

[Konqueror / Opera / Firefox 3]
Geforce : was still quite jerky but "OKish"
Radeon : 100% smooth, perfect

[Firefox 2]
Geforce : very jerky, hardly bearable
Radeon : not 100% smooth but quite OK
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Old 03-12-08, 09:38 AM   #3
NvFuchs
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

Are you talking about the nvidia or nv driver?

Because with a nvs 140m and recent nvidia drivers the problem is not reproducable here with firefox 2, the scrolling is not 100% smooth, but as the site has embedded videos and uses flash this is rather normal and happens with konqueror as well.

Fuchs
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Old 03-12-08, 09:56 AM   #4
torturedutopian
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

Thanks for your reply !

Actually, both nv & nvidia, but I focus on the proprietary one as the other one lacks features.

It would be interesting to get feedback from other users as well, but this is an issue I read on many other forums. Also I tried many distros / apps combinations and two different geforces, with the same results. (see above)

That is to say : (on the very same website)

athlon 4200+ / 6600 or 8600 GTS, nvidia drivers, 1280*1024, ubuntu + envy or mandriva spring, or slax 6.0.2 :

-> FF2 : very jerky
-> FF3/Konqueror : a little jerky

athlon 4200+ / radeon X300 / radeon drivers (proprietary one) :

-> FF2 : a little jerky
-> FF3/Konqueror/Opera : 100% smooth

(with the vesa driver : smooth ; with the radeon free ones : intermediate performance)

I really cannot help more than this. I think it would be important to set up a survey so that people experiment this in precise conditions. Maybe people got used to this relative slowness ?
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Old 03-12-08, 11:09 AM   #5
NvFuchs
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

First of all: please provide further information.

A nvidia-bug-report log is a good start,
as it contains most of the important configuration files.

Then: are you using compiz(-fusion) or any
other compositing environment?
Because we had a person experiencing similar
problems in #compiz-fusion a week ago,
the problems were caused by compiz configuration problems.

Fuchs
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Old 03-12-08, 11:34 AM   #6
ctheo
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NvFuchs
Are you talking about the nvidia or nv driver?

Because with a nvs 140m and recent nvidia drivers the problem is not reproducable here with firefox 2, the scrolling is not 100% smooth, but as the site has embedded videos and uses flash this is rather normal and happens with konqueror as well.

Fuchs
you didn't compare performance to vesa driver though

#edit:
gave a test - I can't tell for sure if vesa is faster than nv driver on that website while scrolling up/down
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Old 03-12-08, 11:36 AM   #7
torturedutopian
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

I'm afraid I don't have the hardware anymore to make those tests. I'll ask people on ubuntu forums to come and contribute.

No, the problem occured with and without Compiz. It occured with a PCI-E 6600 and 8600GTS. It occured with the nv and nvidia drivers but not the vesa drivers. It occured in Mandriva, in Ubuntu, in Slax etc. It occured with the latest drivers (Envy). It affected only 2D performance, 3D was very good.

I'm really sorry for not providing the relevant logs before switching. I'll try to gather people with similar issues (from ubuntu-fr.org)


--> simple test : start X in VESA, open http://arvuez.org with firefox 2 and opera. Scroll.
Do the same thing with nvidia drivers.
--> in my case, it was smooth in VESA (even with the flash applet) and very slow with nvidia drivers... (even with flashblock enabled)


[Edit : regarding the Radeon performance, something is definitely not clear. If I take the xorg.conf generated by mandriva, it's smooth. If I generate it with Xorg -configure, it's slow. In both cases with the free one.]
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Old 03-12-08, 11:57 AM   #8
torturedutopian
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

A little off-topic :

regarding the radeon open source driver, adding the
Option "XaaNoOffscreenPixmaps" "1"
in xorg.conf / device, makes firefox scrolling (and all other 2D operations) much much much faster.

Otherwise it's *almost* as slow as the nvidia driver. With it, it's as fast as the Vesa driver.

I don't know what it means. But it may give a clue ?
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Old 03-12-08, 11:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

does mandriva add the xaanooffscreenpixmaps option?
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Old 03-12-08, 03:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

This isn't entirely nvidia's problem. I suffered the same issue on a number of websites and after a little research it turned out that when Firefox 2 renders justified text it uses a much slower drawing path. The nvidia Linux drivers do exacerbate the problem though.

The problem with Firefox is fixed in the betas of Firefox 3, it's nowhere near as slow when drawing justified text, but as I said, there's still a noticeable difference between the VESA and nvidia driver under Linux.

A temporary solution is to disable Firefox from using Pango:
Quote:
Open a terminal and do:
> export MOZ_DISABLE_PANGO=1
> firefox
More info here:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...fox/+bug/74116
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=390273
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Old 03-13-08, 05:31 AM   #11
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

Quote:
Open a terminal and do:
> export MOZ_DISABLE_PANGO=1
> firefox
It helped only a little. Firefox is still much slower with nvidia driver (sometimes unussable) than with vesa one.
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Old 03-13-08, 01:39 PM   #12
Linuxhippy
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Default Re: Firefox muuuch faster with VESA drivers, than nv !!

NVidia: Your uses are not even able to browse the web fluently, when will you enhance your 2D drivers?!
Users of cheap integrated intel-solutions have fast desktops, why do you torture your desktop customers so much?


Quote:
Originally Posted by torturedutopian
regarding the radeon open source driver, adding the
Option "XaaNoOffscreenPixmaps" "1"
in xorg.conf / device, makes firefox scrolling (and all other 2D operations) much much much faster.

Otherwise it's *almost* as slow as the nvidia driver. With it, it's as fast as the Vesa driver.

I don't know what it means. But it may give a clue ?
Well, that means you disable allmost all hardware-acceleration - therefor no VRAM -> system-bus -> RAM readbacks are needed - your GPU is degraded to display the stuff the CPU calculates.

The problem with newer ATI cards is almost the same as for NVidia:

- The open-source drivers don't accalerate a lot on the new hardware, because EXA requires knowledge about how the 3D engine works. This will become hopefully better with the released AMD docs.
- The manufacturers itself don't seem to care a lot about 2D performance, especially because that code is Linux-only. OpenGL enhancements can be seen on all platforms, X11-2D performance tuning only for the 1% Linux customers.

It seems the only good 2D drivers are the open-source Intel drivers, although only version 2.3 will add additional enhancements so it will perform well across a broad set of workloads.

lg Clemens

btw. I tried KDE4 on a friend's laptop which has a GF7600mobile - its unuseable.
Thats not how it should be, especially not for such an expensive card!
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