Friday, December 22, 2006

Beryl Baselines / ATI 9250

The guys at OpenGL and on #beryl-dev were very helpful in increasing my understanding of how Beryl works. There hasn't been a lot of testing done of 3D desktops over remote display, and I volunteered to do what I could to test and improve this type of deployment.

The first step is to build a baseline of how it works now, and then monitor as patches and changes are made. It's my understanding that for a crisp 3D desktop one wants to have around 100 frames per second from the Beryl Benchmark plugin. When you drop below that it works, but feels sluggish.

My baseline is to log into GNOME, start beryl, and have Evolution and one gnome-terminal window open. Based on that benchmark, Beryl runs well for all of the 16 bit color resolutions, and will support 24 bit color in 1024x768. 1024x768 is the standard for 99% of 'Office Workers'. Once you go higher than 1024 in 24 bit color, it begins to slow. The highest I tested was 24 bit color, 1680x1050 which works, but is a bit too slow to deploy. Window movement is not crisp, and applications take a while to render and scroll.

I'll put the Nvidia card back in again after Christmas and perform the same test. Thanks to everyone that is helping me understand how it all works. It's certainly something that could be deployed.

(Benchmarks below, go to my blog if the chart does not appear).


Anonymous said...

1024x768 will not be the standard for 99% of the office workers. At this moment over 90% of all sold monitors in the world are TFT panels. The most common resolution on those is 1280x1024. Granted, the user base of 1024x768 is huge, but it's decreasing quite fast.

Furthermore, some display adapters are actually slower when handling 16-bit against 24-bit colors. It's mostly an optimization issue.

So I'd test mostly using 1280x1024@24-bit. If Beryl works sufficiently with that it will be really smooth on older monitors with smaller resolutions and such.

It will be interesting to see whether Beryl will work nice over remote displays. Most likely it won't before some patching and tweaking. Good luck with that.

Jon Smirl said...

Frames that draw faster than your monitor's refresh rate are invisible or partially invisible. If your refresh rate is 70Hz anything above 70FPS is pointless if the display is synchronized. See if Beryl has a sync to vertical sync (vsync) option. By only drawing frames that will be visible on the monitor you can lower host CPU requirements.

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