Linux Performance - 3D

using 'glxgears' (initially)

on several computers - netbooks as well as desktops

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! Preliminary ! A few more results may be added ---
for different or updated computers.

INTRODUCTION :

As I mentioned in a web page on my migration from MS Windows to Linux (an Ubuntu Installs web page), I have put Linux (Ubuntu or other distros) on several desktop and several netbook computers.

There is a program called 'glxgears' that can be used as a VERY rough estimate of the speed of the 3D rendering of GLX, the "OpenGL Extension to the X Window System". That is, 'glxgears' can be used as a simplified measure of the 3D performance of your computer (the union of video card, software, etc.)

'glxgears' shows a set of rotating gears in one window (as seen in the screenshot at the top of this page) and it shows (every few seconds) the current frame rate in a separate shell window from which we have issued the 'glxgears' command --- as shown in the gnome-terminal image below.

There are many web pages that point out that 'glxgears' is too simple to be a good benchmark test --- such as this page (of the 'Unofficial AMD Linux Community').

Some of the specific complaints about 'glxgears' :

  • has an extremely low vertex/polygon count
  • does no texturing at all
  • only simple, flat shading is used (except inside the hole in each gear is simple smooth shading)
  • all vertex data is stored in a display list, so almost nothing passes between host CPU and video card once rendering is started. This mostly implies video card fill rate is limited. But, see next point.
  • the default window size is 300x300, a large part of which is not even rendered into, so it's not even a good fill rate test
  • the entire render step consists of only 21 OpenGL functions calls, of which only 6 are unique. This is not a very good OpenGL API stress test.

Hence some people say they simply use 'glxgears' to test whether 3D rendering is working --- in a very basic form.

The bottom of the glxgears page of the 'Unofficial AMD Linux Community' indicates there are better 3D benchmark tests --- and benchmarks for GTK, such as 'gtkperf' which one can easily install on a Linux distro (such as Ubuntu or other Debian-based distros) via the command

    sudo apt-get install gtkperf

In any case, I present, in a table below, the frame-rate results of running 'glxgears' on several of my computers. Someday I may add results for another performance test, say using 'gtkperf'.

Computer Description 'glxgears' Results
(approx. frames/sec)
Home-built desktop PC
with 4-processor AMD chip
on an ASUS M4A78LT-M motherboard

From 'gnome-system-monitor' :
4 AMD Athlon II X4 630 processors
and 3.2Gig memory

From 'lspci' :
VGA compatible controller:
ATI Technologies Inc 760G [Radeon 3000]

From 'glxgears -info' :
GL_RENDERER = ATI Radeon 3000 Graphics
GL_VERSION = 2.1.9016
GL_VENDOR = ATI Technologies Inc.

From 'uname -a' :
Linux blaze-homebuilt-01 2.6.31-23-generic
#74-Ubuntu SMP Mon Feb 28 21:32:57 UTC 2011
i686 GNU/Linux
~3,080 frames/sec (+/- 100)

Was a lot slower before I replaced a zapped
Nvidia graphics card and Gigabyte motherboard
(with a 2 processor AMD chip) with this ASUS
motherboard with 4 processor AMD chip and
on-board ATI graphics processor.
Cyberpower desktop PC

From 'gnome-system-monitor' :
? processors
and ?Gig memory

From 'lspci' :
VGA compatible controller:
?

From 'glxgears -info' :
GL_VERSION = ?

From 'uname -a' :
?
? frames/sec
Dell Dimension 2400 desktop PC

From 'gnome-system-monitor' :
? processors
and ?Gig memory

From 'lspci' :
VGA compatible controller:
?

From 'glxgears -info' :
GL_VERSION = ?

From 'uname -a' :
?
? frames/sec
Acer netbook #1 (manufactured in 2008)

Intel Atom N270 processor
From 'gnome-system-monitor' :
Intel Atom CPU N270 @ 1.60GHz
and 991 MB memory

From 'lspci' :
VGA compatible controller:
Intel Corporation Mobile 945GME Express
Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 03)
From 'glxgears -info' :
GL_RENDERER = Mesa DRI Intel 945 GME
20090326 2009Q1 RC2 x86/MMX/SSE2
GL_VERSION = 1.4 Mesa 7.4
GL_VENDOR = Tungsten Graphics Inc.
From 'uname -a' :
Linux 2.6.28-11-generic
#42-Ubuntu SMP Fri Apr 17 01:57:59 UTC 2009
i686 GNU/Linux


From the box :

Aspire one A0A 150-1382
P/N: LU.S050A.280
Model: ZG5
S/N: LUS050A2808470E4582547
CPU: Intel Atom N270
RAM: 1 GB DDR2
Manufactured year: 2008
SYSTEM BD/BIOS: 47/3305
580 frames/sec (+/- 40)
Acer netbook #2 (manufactured in 2010)

Intel Atom N450 processor
(1.66 GHz, 512KB cache)

From 'gnome-system-monitor' :
Processor 0: Intel Atom CPU ? @ ? GHz


From 'lspci' :
VGA compatible controller:
Intel Corporation ?
Integrated Graphics Controller
From 'glxgears -info' :
GL_RENDERER = ?
?
GL_VERSION = ?
GL_VENDOR = ?
From 'uname -a' :
Linux 2.6.?-?-generic
#?-Ubuntu SMP DayOfWeek Month ?? ??:??:?? UTC 201?
i686 GNU/Linux


From the box :

Aspire one 532h-2588
P/N: LU.SAL0D.277
Model: NAV50
S/N: LUSAL0D277019075DD1601
Manufactured year: 2010
SYSTEM BD/BIOS: 1.21/NAV50 1.21

Processor: Intel Atom N450
Memory: 1GB
1525 +/- 100 frames every 5 seconds

~305 frames/sec
Acer netbook #3 (manufactured in 2010)

Intel Atom N450 processor

From 'gnome-system-monitor' :
Processor 0: Intel Atom CPU N450 @ 1.60GHz
and ? memory

From 'lspci' :
VGA compatible controller:
Intel Corporation N10 Family
Integrated Graphics Controller
From 'glxgears -info' :
GL_RENDERER = ?
?
GL_VERSION = ?
GL_VENDOR = ?
From 'uname -a' :
Linux 2.6.35-22-generic
#33-Ubuntu SMP Sun Sep 19 20:34:50 UTC 2010
i686 GNU/Linux


From the box :

Aspire one D255-2331
P/N: LU.SDE0B.096
Model: PAV70
S/N: LUSDE0B09603755E701601
Manufactured year: 2010
System BD/BIOS: 3.05(DDR2)/PAV70 3.06(DDR2)

Processor: Intel Atom N450
Memory: 1GB
~300 frames/sec (+/- 60)
using
'ublank_mode=0 glxgears'

Otherwise, with glxgears only,
59.98 FPS (+/- 0.01) --- i.e.
60 FPS with great precision (throttled?)

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Page created 2011 Apr 25. Changed 2011 Jul 01.