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fraembuffer performance and options for Ultra 80

Discussion in 'Sun Hardware' started by Dr. David Kirkby, Jul 31, 2003.

  1. I'd like the thoughts of others on some framebuffer queries and
    options.

    When I bought the machine (Ultra 80) it had a PGX32 framebuffer, which
    I removed n under 5 minutes, as it was so damm slow. What the hell Sun
    did building a machine they marketed as a workstation with that slow
    beast I don't know. Fine no doubt for a server, but not exactly usable
    as a workstation.

    I had an Elite3D at one time, but abandoned using that, as it does not
    support the 1600x1200 native resolution of my TFT screen.

    I'm currently using a Creator3D series 3, which I know has the latest
    prom version for that card. I do know the card does not do
    double-buffering at this resolution. I don't know the effect of that.
    I know its unsupported in this machine too, but as long as it works,
    that don't bother me.

    Whilst I find this box perfectly adequate under CDE, using Netscape
    4.8 and my favourite editor (vi), it is not exactly too clever under
    gnome, so I've gone back to CDE (for other reasons too).

    Netscape 7 under CDE seemed pretty damm slow , so I didthed that and
    have gone back to Netscape 4.8. The reasons for this might be the size
    of my mailbox though.

    I'm beginning to wonder (but are certainly not sure) if my framebuffer
    might be a bottleneck in running modern tools on this machine, which
    has 4 x 450 MHz CPUs and 4 Gb of RAM. Of course, by modern standards
    this is not exactly the latest machine, but its the best I can afford
    for home use. I could sell it and buy a blade 150 which will probably
    a be a bit quicker as a single user workstation, but I want
    multi-processors, so that rules out any sensibly priced Sun. In any
    case, I think the U80 is a much better machine than the Blade 150, but
    others might well disagree.

    I know there are tweaks to gnome to improve performance and tweaks to
    Netscape 7, but I am wondering if its worth spending a few $$ on a new
    framebuffer. Would that be sensible, or are my problems likely to be
    limited by the processing power of the machine?

    The list of supported options in the U80 is at
    http://sunsolve.sun.com/handbook_pub/Systems/U80/components.html#GRAPHICS
    but I don't have much idea whether I would gain much by buying one of
    these. Is the lack of double-buffering at 1600x1200 on the Creator3D
    likely to be a issue? I'm not interested in fancy 3D graphics, games
    or anything like that. Just use the box from developing scientific
    software - none of which I even bother with a GUI on.

    Comments ?
    --
    Dr. David Kirkby,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    Department of Medical Physics,
    University College London,
    11-20 Capper St, London, WC1E 6JA.
    Tel: 020 7679 6408 Fax: 020 7679 6269
    Internal telephone: ext 46408
    e-mail
     
    Dr. David Kirkby, Jul 31, 2003
    #1
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  2. I'd just add it was the Elite3D-m3 I had, not one of the many other
    Elite3D cards.

    --
    Dr. David Kirkby,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    Department of Medical Physics,
    University College London,
    11-20 Capper St, London, WC1E 6JA.
    Tel: 020 7679 6408 Fax: 020 7679 6269
    Internal telephone: ext 46408
    e-mail
     
    Dr. David Kirkby, Jul 31, 2003
    #2
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  3. Dr. David Kirkby

    Raymond Toy Guest

    David> Netscape 7 under CDE seemed pretty damm slow , so I didthed that and
    David> have gone back to Netscape 4.8. The reasons for this might be the size
    David> of my mailbox though.

    Netscape 7 and Mozilla are way slower than Netscape 4.7. It's even
    slow on my 900 Mhz Linux box. But I've learned to live with the
    slowness since it crashes way less often.

    This is on a 300 Mhz Ultra 30, 768 MB, Creator 3D Series 3, running my
    own build of Gnome 1.4 (I think). I think the framebuffer is more
    than fast enough, even at 1920x1200x70. But I really only care about
    2D stuff, and moving opaque windows works pretty well.

    Ray
     
    Raymond Toy, Jul 31, 2003
    #3
  4. That's a perfectly valid reason - I have 2 Elite3Dm3 cards in my
    U60, but use 1280x1024 displays, which I find quite adequate for
    my purposes. I've looked into 1600x1200 devices (on Windows and
    Linux machines) and find them unreadable at the distance I like
    my screens at (about 75cm).
    I tried the Creator series 3 in my machine, and found it significantly
    slower (at 1280 x 1024) than the Elite. I suspect it will be slow
    (in the sense of noticeable time to complete visual elements) at 1600x1200.
    I have dual 360MHz processors, 1.375GB of RAM, and find my machine
    perfectly usable under Gnome. I run Mozilla 1.4 for browsing only,
    Sylpheed for mail and news, StarOffice 6.0 and 6.1b2 for my office
    work, dia for my diagrams, lots of gvim windows, gnome terminals,
    and assorted other stuff with totally adequate performance. Compared
    to the AMD XP2000+ with a 64MB Nvidia Gforce card next to it, it
    is slower, but not to the point of making it unusable - I actually
    prefer the U60 for my day-to-day work.
    Probably. I have no experience with Netscape, as I refuse to use
    MUAs that store more than one message per file. Sylpheed is a much
    better proposition, check it out. The speed with which Netscape
    manages its mailboxes has got nothing to do with your graphics
    card, anyhow.
    I'm pretty sure the Blade 150 with PCI graphics will not be faster than
    a quad-processor U80 with UPA graphics. And I agree that the U80 is a
    much nicer machine than the 150.
    That machine has ample CPU power. I think that your desire to run
    the Creator at 1600x1200 is a contributory factor - it'll do a lot
    better at 1280x1024 (but then you'll be far better of with the Elite).
    I've never run a Creator at that resolution, but its lacklustre
    performance at 1280x1024 (compared to an Elite3Dm3) makes me think
    it'll be rather sucky at 1600x1200.
    The XVR-1000 is a lot faster than the Creator3D. It's also a
    pricey piece of kit. You ought to get a loaner to see if it
    suits your requirements before buying it. Just remember it
    won't make Netscape 7 open your huge mailboxes any faster.
     
    Stefaan A Eeckels, Jul 31, 2003
    #4
  5. Dr. David Kirkby

    Rich Teer Guest

    'Fraid not. My "penniless author between contracts" status means
    that I have very little cash for toys, err, "justifiable business
    acquisitions". :-(

    --
    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA

    President,
    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-online.net
     
    Rich Teer, Jul 31, 2003
    #5
  6. I beg to differ. When comparing Netscape 7.02 and Internet Explorer
    6.0.2800.1106.xpsp1.020828-1920, I find Netscape to be far, far
    faster. Both suffer from image jittering during a page load. The
    older Netscape 4.61 doesn't, but it is a little slower displaying.

    -am © 2003
     
    Anthony Mandic, Aug 3, 2003
    #6
  7. BTW Mozilla Firebird is much faster than Netscape. You can make it even
    faster by disabling the "delayed rendering" it uses.
     
    Emmanuel Florac, Aug 3, 2003
    #7
  8. Have you looked into the Expert3D? It is supported in an Ultra 80 and is
    capable of up to 1920x1200@75Hz.

    Chris
     
    Chris Greenman, Aug 4, 2003
    #8
  9. Here is a small table gathered from several sources to simplify selection:

    Expert 3d Expert 3d-lite XVR-500 XVR-1000 XVR-1200
    Max 2/3D res 1920x1200 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2058x1536
    2D vectors/s 8M 6.8M 15.2M 12.2M 21M
    3D tri/s 6M 4.1M 8.2M 19.1M 20M*
    Xmark 93 22.4-30 20
    fill rate 110M 88M 166M 157M 412M

    Creator 3D Elite 3Dm6(s2)
    Max 2/3D res 1920x1200/1280x1024 1280x1024
    2D vectors/s 4.9M 6.1M
    3D tri/s 1.5M 5.9M
    Xmark 93 30-45 40-48
    fill rate 8-13M 56M

    *30M when inserted in a 66MHz slot. The SB1000/2000 and U80 has an
    orientation which prevents this. (The card is only supported in SB2000
    and SF6800)

    For 2D vectors/s you get the relationship:
    XV-R1200>XVR-500>XVR-1000>Exp 3d>Exp 3d-l>Elite 3D>Creator 3D

    /wfr
    Fredrik
     
    Fredrik Lundholm, Aug 4, 2003
    #9
  10. Dr. David Kirkby

    Rich Teer Guest

    Interesting stuff. Would I be right in thinking that for
    average "desktop" use (e.g., moving opaque windows, dtterms,
    a browser, etc.) the 2d vectors/sec is the most important
    metric?

    --
    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA

    President,
    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-online.net
     
    Rich Teer, Aug 4, 2003
    #10
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