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Thread: Please write about NVidia's 2D performance problems

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  1. #1

    Default Please write about NVidia's 2D performance problems

    Hello,

    Over the past two years the typical linux desktop has changed a lot.The XRender API has replaced the old X drawing model and composition introduced new visual possibilties.This also means that 2D drivers are now stressed much more and in different areas than 2-3 years ago.There are ongoing complains about poor 2D performance of NVidia GPUs, about 2 years ago it started with people complaining about slow text rendering with subpixel-antialiasing, but the more programs use the XRender api, the more complaints are posted.KDE4 which uses XRender a lot and also relies on more advanced feature is really slow (I would call it almost unuseable), also FireFox3 is no joy with nvidia's binary drivers. Often nouveau drivers with their EXA architecture offer better 2D performance than the binary drivers themself.There are also people calling nvidia to open-source their 2D driver, or at least provide specs to the nouveu project, because the think open-source projects could do it a lot better and are not that revenue-driven.Most of the discussions happen in the unofficial nvidia linux support forum:http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14It would be great if you could write a short arcticle about this topic, maybe it would change things to the better and make nvidia recognize that although people buy the cards because of 3D scores, they don't tolerate dog-slow 2D desktops.

    Thanks
    Regi
    Anyone else interested? Anyone have their own experiences they would like to share on NVIDIA's 2D performance (or there the lack of)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    i believe you should write about it, they dont seem to give a damn about it themselves..

    for instance, on 8xxx, openoffice is useless, im not kidding, its really really useless.

    open OO impress, use one of its wizards to generate a sample presentation, and scrolling will litterally take SECONDS, it is really really useless.

    Software rendering is faster.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Am I the only one not having these problems? Firefox 3's scrolling performance on my 9600GT subjectively feels just as smooth as I remember Firefox 2 being on my old 7600GT.

    I just tried "open OO impress, use one of its wizards to generate a sample presentation". Scrolling was smooth only while the entire presentation slide was visible. If I scroll such that part of it goes out of view and them back in, it does get a little choppy - like about 5 to 10 frames per second. But still nowhere near taking whole seconds...

    Gentoo Linux
    xorg-server version 1.3.0.0
    nvidia binary driver version 173.14.09
    Athlon 64 X2 4600+ overclocked to 2.52Ghz
    nVidia GeForce 9600GT

  4. #4
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    well... i cannot comment as to whether it works for you, but all i can say is, that for the ~5 boxes i've seen with 8xxx hardware, they've all had the problems..

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Anyone else interested? Anyone have their own experiences they would like to share on NVIDIA's 2D performance (or there the lack of)?
    Yes, I have 8600M GS in my laptop and have an extremely bad performance with Ubuntu 8.04. First of all it's slow, especially text scrolling in gnome-terminal. When using Midnight Commander, trying to view/edit files is very painful. nvidia-settings -a InitialPixmapPlacement=2 (-a GlyphCache=1 doesn't work for some reason, there's no such setting in my case) helps with that, but somehow it manages to totally screw all the rest of my system, especially when I switch between windows. It's as if active window has cached fonts and everything is fast, but as soon as I switch to another window all the caches are dropped and nvidia starts rendering it cold. Note that all of this happens even without compiz. Compiz makes it worse. Compiz+Emerald make it unbearable, the delays are two and more seconds, and what's the most funny part, become noticeable without InitialPixmapPlacement=2.

    The latest 173.14 and 177.13 drivers added another bug to the mix: in gnome-terminal (and in Midnight Commander) when you edit a file and move your cursor it often leaves "trails" in its old positions and not always draws itself in its new position. Editing files is even more pain, you don't even know where you have your cursor at the moment! Press Ctrl+L and suddenly you could notice it's in the wrong line/column. Enabling TripleBuffering helps, but not always. It's still happening sometimes.

    Plus I've got an impression that 173.14/177.13 drivers have even more performance problems than 169.12 that is shipped with Ubuntu 8.04.

    Additionally, for quite some time I was attributing the slowness to Firefox 3.0 and Ubuntu 8.04 (I had performance problems on windows with early firefox alphas) and have been thinking anything from "why the hell firefox on windows works so much faster than on windows" to "what the hell did they break in Ubuntu 8.04 this time to make Linux so unbearably slow". That was until I switched to nv driver, which had absolutely no performance problems as far as I've seen. Of couse it doesn't have 3d acceleration (and some dithering problems) though, which is a showstopper for me and forces me to get back to Vista.

    Even worse is that a lot of people who scream "nvidia drivers work perfectly for me" might not even now they have the problem. They might think this is how it is supposed to work. You can spot performance problems only in the extremes on when comparing it with something else. And if they had neither it looks as if it's ok.

    All this means that it might force me and some of my friends (who don't even care for Linux but might want to try it some time in the future) to avoid NVIDIA like a fire next time. Some already did and decided to wait for the next ATI for their next upgrade. Their reputation of good Linux support turned out to be fake and I hope that more and more people will realise that.

    Plus what they don't realise is that their bad reputation on Linux causes their Windows users to reconsider buying from them next time. Just because they might want to try Linux. I can't imagine their marketing doesn't care about that.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by snaury View Post
    Yes, I have 8600M GS in my laptop and have an extremely bad performance with Ubuntu 8.04. First of all it's slow, especially text scrolling in gnome-terminal. When using Midnight Commander, trying to view/edit files is very painful. nvidia-settings -a InitialPixmapPlacement=2 (-a GlyphCache=1 doesn't work for some reason, there's no such setting in my case) helps with that, but somehow it manages to totally screw all the rest of my system, especially when I switch between windows. It's as if active window has cached fonts and everything is fast, but as soon as I switch to another window all the caches are dropped and nvidia starts rendering it cold. Note that all of this happens even without compiz. Compiz makes it worse. Compiz+Emerald make it unbearable, the delays are two and more seconds, and what's the most funny part, become noticeable without InitialPixmapPlacement=2.

    The latest 173.14 and 177.13 drivers added another bug to the mix: in gnome-terminal (and in Midnight Commander) when you edit a file and move your cursor it often leaves "trails" in its old positions and not always draws itself in its new position. Editing files is even more pain, you don't even know where you have your cursor at the moment! Press Ctrl+L and suddenly you could notice it's in the wrong line/column. Enabling TripleBuffering helps, but not always. It's still happening sometimes.

    Plus I've got an impression that 173.14/177.13 drivers have even more performance problems than 169.12 that is shipped with Ubuntu 8.04.

    Additionally, for quite some time I was attributing the slowness to Firefox 3.0 and Ubuntu 8.04 (I had performance problems on windows with early firefox alphas) and have been thinking anything from "why the hell firefox on windows works so much faster than on windows" to "what the hell did they break in Ubuntu 8.04 this time to make Linux so unbearably slow". That was until I switched to nv driver, which had absolutely no performance problems as far as I've seen. Of couse it doesn't have 3d acceleration (and some dithering problems) though, which is a showstopper for me and forces me to get back to Vista.

    Even worse is that a lot of people who scream "nvidia drivers work perfectly for me" might not even now they have the problem. They might think this is how it is supposed to work. You can spot performance problems only in the extremes on when comparing it with something else. And if they had neither it looks as if it's ok.

    All this means that it might force me and some of my friends (who don't even care for Linux but might want to try it some time in the future) to avoid NVIDIA like a fire next time. Some already did and decided to wait for the next ATI for their next upgrade. Their reputation of good Linux support turned out to be fake and I hope that more and more people will realise that.

    Plus what they don't realise is that their bad reputation on Linux causes their Windows users to reconsider buying from them next time. Just because they might want to try Linux. I can't imagine their marketing doesn't care about that.
    Exactly the same in my case. I'm SOOO glad somebody pointed this out.

    I'm reviving this thread, because this urgently needs to get resolved. It's driving me mad, and giving me dark thoughts... like moving back to Windows...

  7. #7
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    You revive an year-old thread to post what accounts to a "mee too"?! Why? You could at least specify which configuration gives you the trouble, otherwise that was a pretty useless post.

    If you are still using Ubuntu 8.04 as in that thread, understand that it's almost two years old and both X.Org and the nVidia drivers have progressed immensely since. I don't have any problems with any of my 4 nVidia-based computers, all running up-to-date versions of software (KDE 4.2) and drivers. If you do have these problems with recent versions, posting in the nVidia forums would certainly be better since you'd've found a possibly rare bug.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgc8 View Post
    You revive an year-old thread to post what accounts to a "mee too"?! Why? You could at least specify which configuration gives you the trouble, otherwise that was a pretty useless post.

    If you are still using Ubuntu 8.04 as in that thread, understand that it's almost two years old and both X.Org and the nVidia drivers have progressed immensely since. I don't have any problems with any of my 4 nVidia-based computers, all running up-to-date versions of software (KDE 4.2) and drivers. If you do have these problems with recent versions, posting in the nVidia forums would certainly be better since you'd've found a possibly rare bug.
    I have had these problems with EVERY ubuntu version and with every nvidia driver version.
    I have posted to nvnews: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=135027 ( even videos showing the problem ) and ubuntuforums: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1257784 and http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1196716
    Most of those are firefox-oriented, because the problem is most visible there, but obviously it's system-wide.

    And I have tried absolutely everything. Phoronix is my last hope, that is why I am now posting here.

  9. #9
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    Now that's more like it... however, it is still not clear to what extent your problems are identical to what you quoted. After looking through the linked threads, it seems you ran browser benchmarks that show difference under Linux (which is to be expected) yet the actual "feel" of the system as a whole was not unuseably slow, just "not right".

    I understand that "speed" of an interface is a very subjective matter, but what this thread was discussing was dead-slow behaviour of applications -- like a window that is impossible to scroll because of the speed, or an app taking many seconds to maximize or minimize. Your experience on the other hand seems more about things being slower than in windows, taking longer to show up or load or having slower benchmark numbers; while that is indeed a real problem with Linux atm., it affects all video configurations to some extent (see the recent "Intel graphics regressions" articles on this very site) not just nVidia and as such deserves a sepparate discussion.

    The 185/190 driver revisions have solved most issues that people were experiencing, so if you still have extremely slow behaviour then it certainly is a bug, perhaps related to a certain board/bios/etc. configuration, and the thread on NV forums should help fix that. By the way, did you try the same tests with the nv driver (or nouveau) to get a direct comparison?

    As to the general slowness of a Linux Desktop vs. the same system running *win, basically you can blame the X System -- however, keep in mind that for all it's weaknesses, you can use X in ways that are simply impossible with other OS'es: try running Firefox on your server with the window displaying on a thin client for example... It's all about tradeoffs.

  10. #10
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    Did you ever try something else besides from Ubuntu? I can not see problems with Kanotix where X is still Xorg 7.1.1 and Firefox - there called Iceweasel is 2.0.x by default.

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