Monday, August 20, 2007

More testing with openSuse 10.2 latest install on algol

Previously I posted about my experiences installing openSuse 10.2 on algol, the Dual Core Gateway. For the kind of work I am involved in and based on past interests, I like to use and write applications that take advantage of the graphics hardware on the machine. One of the tests I perform is the build and installation of TrollTech's Qt toolkit on all of my machines. I always download and build the latest releases. In this case I've been installing and using version 4.3.1.

As you can see below, this version of Qt installs and everything runs, and runs quite speedily I might add.

Because this notebook uses an nVidia graphics chipset and its native drivers (100.14.11), it appears to support every OpenGL feature that Qt provides in its framework. What's more, OpenGL under the nVidia GeForce 7800 Go appears to be considerably more efficient than under the older Gateway running with the ATI Mobility X700 and its native drivers. For a very simple comparison, glxgears on algol (nVidia) gives over 12,000 FPS, while on triton (ATI) it runs at a paltry 300 or so. Even fgl_glxgears on triton barely breaks 500 FPS. Once again this is a very simplistic and crude set of benchmarks. I distrust these numbers instinctively; the ATI low performance may be due as much to how I set up and configured triton as apposed to any intrinsic differences between the graphics chip sets. It certainly needs more investigation on my part.

Compiz/Xgl Performance Note

I mentioned the FPS reading from glxgears above. I should note that with Compiz and Xgl installed and running on algol, that glxgears only averages about 5,600 FPS. That's right. Turning on the eye candy with the current release of those packages on this specific platform cut my graphics performance by more than half. I think I'll wait a good while, and then test extensively before letting it run my desktop in the future.

Sound Update

I thought I had working sound. Silly me. I shut down and then powered back up at home, only to discover that once again I had no sound. Out of frustration I fired up YaST | Hardware | Sound, and had the Sound configuration tool resense and recreate everything. I don't know what other files it touched, but it in combined the first two lines in the sound file into one:
options snd-hda-intel enable=1 index=0 model=ref position_fix=1

# u1Nb.iVO3S7Pf7gF:82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller
alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
Rebooted and sound came back. Rebooted again, and sound came back. Rebooted a third time, and sound came back. Logged out and in a number of times between root and my local account, and sound stays enabled.

Beagle Update

As promised I killed and removed Beagle from my system. I'm not going to have Beagle consuming one of my two processors full tilt, whenever it feels the need, especially if the notebook is on battery. The system runs a lot quieter without it. I'll wait to see if the developers fix it on openSuse 10.3.

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