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Thread: RV350, compositing and horrible performance.

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  1. #1
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    Default RV350, compositing and horrible performance.

    Hey all,

    I probably best ask some opinions here, before bombarding the ML with this.

    I have an ancient laptop, that's still going strong. An IBM T42. This is a 2004 model. It spurts a fast 2.1 GHz Pentium-M and boasts a whopping 2 GiB of ram. There's a pretty fast 32 GiB SLC IDE-SSD in it and the onboard GPU, a Radeon 9600, features 64 MiB dedicated videoram. While yes, it's almost 10 years old, it works really well and runs pretty fast/fast enough.

    Last week I've updated to Ubuntu Gnome 13.04 which features Gnome 3.6 that I upgraded to 3.8. All works well, except I find the video performance appalling. Now I understand very well that it is very old, and r300 architecture is quite dated. I also was able to play 3D games on it (a heavy 3D game via wine for example does about 7-15 FPS, but it worked well) before.

    With the new Gnome the desktop is supposedly fully hardware accelerated (e.g. composited). However things are just really slow, with the CPU sitting at its low ondemand setting mostly, so it's not the CPU being over stressed. Things like opening the 'dash' or is it 'activities' I believe it's called? takes almost 1 to 2 seconds to render. Alt-tab is also equally slow. Dragging a window around however seems fast enough.

    So where to start looking, or is the rv350 really that old that compositing desktops sucks, while 3D applications work fine. Personally I'm more thinking of blaming Gnome, since I think even 3.6 doesn't work composited on ati blobs on more recent hardware, but maybe there's something else amiss.

  2. #2
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    Be happy and blame gnome

    It likely uses some cpu fallback. How to check that, I have no idea.

  3. #3
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    Regarding the low setting, see Pontostroy's recent thread - it seems 3d load doesn't cause ondemand to bump up.

  4. #4
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    Doesn't seem likly the issue, could be of course.

    No, I think you had the idea that I totally overlooked. CPU rendering. While I have gallium 0.4 on RV350, NOT on llvmpipe, according to the info, it still takes some software fallbacks?

    So the new question arises, how do I check this? I guess I could scrounge the gnome site, and see what extensions mutter relies on and cross-reverence that with that my card supports.
    Last edited by oliver; 05-05-2013 at 08:39 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by oliver View Post
    Doesn't seem likly the issue, could be of course.

    No, I think you had the idea that I totally overlooked. CPU rendering. While I have gallium 0.4 on RV350, NOT on llvmpipe, according to the info, it still takes some software fallbacks?.
    If it's related to CPU governors the issue is that the CPU never ramps up to high enough frequencies to keep the GPU properly fed with data. You can force the CPU to a high performance state and see if that helps.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by agd5f View Post
    If it's related to CPU governors the issue is that the CPU never ramps up to high enough frequencies to keep the GPU properly fed with data. You can force the CPU to a high performance state and see if that helps.
    The 'low' on demand frequency is 600 MHz with imo should still be beefy enough. I'll use the performance governor and see if that matters. But it didn't matter if (due to other reasons) the CPU clock was 2.1 GHz or anything below, the desktop remained sluggish. Moving a terminal window around was perfectly smooth however. So it's not 'everything' is slugish. Scrollign large pages in FF tends to be slugish, but I'll acredit that fully to firefox.

    Mostly going to the 'hot corner' and bringing up the dash is really slow, clicking on the 'all apps' button is slow and getting text into the search field is bad.

    But first things first, performance governor tonight.

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