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Nvidia 8400GS drivers slow (Ubuntu 8.04 a golden age?)

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  • Nvidia 8400GS drivers slow (Ubuntu 8.04 a golden age?)

    I'd like some help in understanding the state of Nvidia drivers and OpenGL performance.

    I built a multi-seat computer based on two 8400GS PCI-E cards shortly after Ubuntu 8.04 was released. It worked very well for many years. Occasionally, in a normal single seat config, I'd try out a new distro. It always seemd 3D/OpenGL took a dive.

    Ubuntu 8.04 (NVIDIA GLX Module 169.12)
    glxgears 4240fps
    glxgears maximized 430fps

    Ubuntu 11.04 (NVIDIA GLX Module 173.14.30)
    glxgears 1120fps
    glxgears maximized 145fps

    Is this easily explainable?
    Are new drivers optimized for new cards at the cost of poor performance for old cards?
    What additional information should I give?
    Magic xorg.conf tweaks for the newer driver?

    Thanks for any help,

  • #2
    You use the legacy driver for nvidia 5 series and say it is slow? Man, the correct one is 290.10 stable or 295.09 beta currently.


    • #3
      I had Ubuntu 11.04's stock Nvidia driver chosen by jockey-gtk. Yes, this could be a problem -- chosing the wrong driver I guess.

      I will attempt to install a newer driver from the Ubuntu repositories and also try from I'll report back. Thanks!


      • #4
        In case of ubuntu you should only use ppa, do NOT run the nvidia installer on it. There is a driver switching support implemented which is usally killed if you do that. It is more or less save on pure debian to use it - just when you do huge dist-upgrades which will give you a newer xserver/mesa it would be best to uninstall a manually installed nvidia driver before, if you see xserver-xorg-core or mesa you should maybe uninstall as well because the backup files will be older when you remove the nv drivers. It is nothing that could not be fixed by a few apt-get install --reinstall lines as long as the positions of the files did not change if you would like to switch back to oss drivers.


        • #5
          Hum, 270.41.06 (from Ubuntu repo) was very close in behavior to 173.14.30. Jockey was willing to install either one, btw, I didn't pay close enough attention.

          ~1120 fps (normal size window)
          ~142 fps (full screen)

          Then I installed 290.10 from x-swat ppa...

          ~1110 fps (normal size window)
          ~142 fps (full screen)

          So... 3 driver combinations repeatably gives me about the same performance. That performance is about 1/4 the old Ubuntu 8.04 + old nvidia 169.12. This supports my "golden age" comment.

          Ideas? The only thing I can think of is start with a clean 8.04 and tweak things until I get the golden performance.

          In the old xorg.conf (on 8.04 "golden) I have this xorg.conf/Device options:

          	Option		"AddARGBVisuals"	"True"
          	Option		"AddARGBGLXVisuals"	"True"
          I also have a "-rt" Linux kernel on the old system -- realtime. I've wondered if this somehow helps or tricks things.


          • #6
            Maybe it is related to compiz that "speed" drop. You mainly need the new driver for vdpau - i see no purpose to use that card for gaming anyway. glxgears does not really matter anyway. xbmc & co has to work.


            • #7
              To be clear I've been removing compiz before testing.

              I decided, I needed better benchmarks -- so I ran Phoronix Test Suite's Lightsmark.

              Ubuntu 8.04 (NVIDIA 169.12) Score: 32
              Ubuntu 11.04 (NVIDIA 173.14.30) Score: 26

              BzFlag (opengl game) runs 150fps and 80fps respectively.

              Wondering if there are any xorg.conf options in the Device section that I should try....