Monday, May 28, 2007

Beryl Benchmark with a Gigabyte 7600 GS

There's an interesting article on Phoronix titled "GPUs & Beryl: What is Needed?" The article covers the video cards and associated driver combinations they've tested with Beryl, and it's quite the read. I wish it'd been available when I was working with Beryl and Compiz under Ubuntu 7.04. One feature brought out in the article was the Beryl Benchmark indicator, which the authors describe as "not an incredibly accurate benchmark." Nevertheless, it can provide a reasonable figure of merit when attempting to compare different hardware platforms and combinations with the same software. And I'm also posting this because they didn't test with any 7x generation video cards.

One minor note: to enable the benchmarking capability, bring up the Beryl Settings Manager, go to the Extras tab at the top, and enable the Benchmark plugin on the left side. Exit the Beryl Settings Manager. You then display the benchmark widget on the desktop with the key combination defined in the Beryl Settings Manager. The keyboard combination on my system included the Super key. The Super key is the Window key on my keyboard, and it may be yours as well.

As you can see above, my combination of hardware and software give a reading of 75 frames/second. I found this rate to be consistent, regardless of what applications I started or what activities I performed on the desktop (such as moving a window, or starting an application such as Google Earth).

My system setup is:
I'll throw in my two cents worth about Beryl and the eye-candy impact on video performance.
  1. Performance on older ATI-based hardware is horrible. The Gigabyte card replaced a 9600 SE video card (64-bit, 128MiB) in order to be able to run Beryl and Compiz at any decent rate above a snail's pace. And my other machine, europa, running a 9700 Pro, works just fine with the ATI drivers as long as I don't attempt to bring Beryl up.
  2. Performance on nVidia-based cards is the way you want to go. After installing the Gigabyte card the performance of the Beryl desktop has been silky smooth without artifacts or performance degradation. Again, I'm using the nVidia drivers, not the open source drivers.

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