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Thread: Advice for purchase for dual monitor 2D performance AMD/nVidia/1 or 2cards

  1. #1
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    Default Advice for purchase for dual monitor 2D performance AMD/nVidia/1 or 2cards

    Hello All,
    I want to build a machine for work. I primarily use eclipse MySQL tools, etc. I use 2 high resolution monitors: 1920x1200 + 1600x1200. I am presently running a Quad Core CPU Phenom 2 940 with 8GB RAM and nVidia GTX 275. I am running the latest nVidia drivers and latest Ubuntu 64.

    Despite a beefy specs, the system stalls when rendering or dragging windows. It's not too terrible, but I'm happy to pay money to make it go faster. What's the best way to make the 2D rendering performance snappier? I know my CPU is barely being utilized. This occurs both on Java, SWT (eclipse), and native applications.

    My only requirement is that I need to drag windows between monitors, so I need something like xinerama.

    Clearly the video game card didn't do much to make the windowing faster.
    • Would having 2 graphics cards make it run faster?

    • Will Ubuntu "just work" if I added a 2nd video card to a free PCIe slot (I have a crossfire-capable mobo)?

    • Would AMD cards work any better?

    • Would Crossfire or SLI help 2D dual monitor performance?


    Here's a few things I noticed:
    • I have a single Quadro NVS 250 powering 2 smaller monitors at work and it doesn't seem to be much faster.

    • When I upgraded to GTX275, I noticed a massive video game performance increase (in Windows), but little difference in Linux window rendering.

    • When I have the 1920x1200 monitor run alone, the windowing performance increases dramatically.



    My mobo has 2 PCIE slots. I can buy 2 graphics cards, run crossfire, etc. I'm happy to plunk down some money on hardware. I just want to see results. Has anyone had any experience in accelerating 2D dual monitor performance? If so, how did you do it?

    Thanks in advance,
    Steven

  2. #2
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    The latest cards do not include dedicated 2d chips anymore, and so they are uniformly slower in 2d than even 15 year old S3 cards.
    Nvidia 7xxx or below, and Ati X1xxx and below still have dedicated 2d units.

    Will Ubuntu "just work" if I added a 2nd video card to a free PCIe slot (I have a crossfire-capable mobo)?
    Only from the same vendor currently, ie another Nvidia.

    Would AMD cards work any better?
    Depends on who you ask. They are about equal in the latest series.

    Would Crossfire or SLI help 2D dual monitor performance?
    No, they are 3d techniques.

  3. #3
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    If you're not using a composite manager, give it a try first. I've found it runs a lot smoother than just bare 2D especially with moving windows around.

  4. #4
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    If you're not using a composite manager, give it a try first.
    Thank you for responding. Do you happen to know if that works with nVidia cards on dual monitors? Composite rendering stops working once I enable the 2nd monitor and xinerama. If there is some way to enable it with dual monitors, I think that would make a significant difference.

    Are you using AMD or nVidia?

  5. #5
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    Compiz always slows down the system (some things have got delays just to have got an extra animation). You can compare using:

    metacity --replace &

    to disable an

    compiz --replace &

    to enable on the fly. I prefer running a pure KDE 3.5 desktop with no effects at all - runs very responsive.

  6. #6
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    I find that running Compiz actually speeds up GNOME a bit.

  7. #7
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    GTK/GNOME rendering is slower that QT/KDE. Specially if you use Clearlooks (or derivative theme). I think KDE 4 & KWin composite without all fancy animations should give you the best performance.

    btw, Someone should invent a way to use new 3D cards in parallel way for 2D. I think there is a lot of GPU power not used for 2D rendering. Maybe someone will do that with openCL when there is public drivers to support the standard.

  8. #8
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    Or in the future we might have to go back to the Voodoo way, where there's a good 2d card piped to a 3d-only card..

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