Towards the middle of last month, NVIDIA had released the 169.04 Beta Linux Driver. The change-log was quite lengthy and what we had discovered while benchmarking the GeForce 8 series was that there were improvements to be found in this release and it was far more than a simple version bump. One of the reported changes for this driver release was "improved RENDER performance", and out of requests from readers and interest by the Linux desktop community at large, we have conducted XRender benchmarks using render_bench and have the NVIDIA results available today.
The hardware setup had consisted of an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor, 2GB of DDR2-800 memory, Abit NF-M2 nView (GeForce 6150) motherboard, and a SeaSonic 700W power supply. On the software side was Ubuntu 7.10 with the Linux 2.6.22 kernel and X.Org 7.2. For the NVIDIA graphics cards we had used both the integrated GeForce 6150 IGP (with 256MB of video memory allocated) as well as a discrete GeForce 8500GT 256MB graphics card. We had compared the new NVIDIA 169.04 Beta to the previous stable 100.14.19 driver.
For comparing the XRender performance between the two NVIDIA drivers we had used render_bench. The render_bench tests we had used were: XRender doing 1/2 scaled over blends, XRender doing 2* smooth scaled over blends, XRender doing 2* nearest scaled over blends, XRender doing general nearest scaled over blends, and XRender doing general smooth scaled over blends. The results are recorded in time taken to complete each test; with (of course) the less amount of time needed the better.
The Render extension is explained by Keith Packard (it's creator) as: "The X Rendering Extension (Render) introduces digital image composition as the foundation of a new rendering model within the X Window System. Rendering geometric figures is accomplished by client-side tessellation into either triangles or trapezoids. Text is drawn by loading glyphs into the server and rendering sets of them."