Linux Blog

Linux Performance Boosting – Graphics

Filed under: General Linux — TheLinuxBlog.com at 12:24 pm on Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is your Linux box chugging along? Does it take a while for web pages to load or to boot up? Does your screen lag when you scroll a web page?

Well my friends, you’ve come to the right place. The issue with your Linux box performing poorly could be a graphics issue. A lot of distributions do not install the correct graphics drivers by default. Yes, your graphical user interface might work, but without the correct Linux graphic drivers you will not get the performance that you should be getting.

Linux has a default video driver called VESA, most video cards work with this driver but perform poorly. The reason behind this is VESA uses the CPU to do graphics processing and does not rely on the video card for 3D acceleration. If you have a 3D accelerated video card (most ATI / NVIDIA’s I will not go into detail here) then you might be able to offload graphics processing from your CPU onto your GPU.

Here is how to test to see if your frames per second if you are using the VESA standard driver:

 

[owen@LinuxBlog ~]$ glxgears
2623 frames in 5.0 seconds = 524.096 FPS
1677 frames in 5.0 seconds = 334.784 FPS
1948 frames in 5.0 seconds = 389.488 FPS
XIO: fatal IO error 11 (Resource temporarily unavailable) on X server “:0.0″
after 19707 requests (19415 known processed) with 0 events remaining.

Now, the performance of this machine is quite good so the resulting frames per second (FPS) is not too shabby, but its not the best either. After installing the correct Linux video card driver for this Linux box lets take a look at what kind of performance I get:

[owen@LinuxBlog ~]$ glxgears
6179 frames in 5.0 seconds = 1235.749 FPS
6558 frames in 5.0 seconds = 1311.449 FPS
6489 frames in 5.0 seconds = 1295.583 FPS
XIO: fatal IO error 22 (Invalid argument) on X server “:0.0″
after 39 requests (39 known processed) with 0 events remaining.

As you can see from the results the graphics driver make a huge difference in the number of FPS I can achieve, but this is not the only benefit from using the correct 3D accelerated driver. When the correct driver is installed, the graphics card does most of the work therefore freeing up the CPU do other tasks. Its a win-win situation, so get your graphics card set up properly today!

My Linux Box has a new video card!

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Hardware — TheLinuxBlog.com at 12:10 am on Friday, December 7, 2007

NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4200 AGP 8X Driver IssueI’ve got a new to me video card to temporarily service as my video card until I can get a cooling kit for my GeForce FX 5200. Its an older GeForce 4 Ti 4200 AGP8X. I thought it would be as simple as plugging it into my agp slot, turning the computer on and re-installing the NVIDIA driver module but I was wrong.

The problem is, since this is an older card I have to use a legacy driver:

WARNING: The NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 with AGP8X GPU installed in this system
is supported through the NVIDIA 1.0-96xx legacy Linux graphics
drivers. Please visit http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html for
more information. The 100.14.11 NVIDIA Linux graphics driver will
ignore this GPU.

If you can’t see the screen shot click it. Its basically a pretty version of the above error message that tells me that I need to use the: “NVIDIA 1.0-96xx legacy Linux Driver”. Here is the download page for the driver if your running into the same problem: http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_display_x86_96.43.01.html

You can temporarily use the “nv” driver in your XORG configuration but be warned this is not accelerated so you should just use it to download the legacy driver, quit X and then install the accelerated one. Unfortunately I could not get links or lynx to download from nVidia’s site because of some strange javascript code. I find it Ironic that the Unix drivers page isn’t even compatible with the basic Unix browsers.