GPUs & Beryl: What is Needed?

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 27 May 2007 at 07:41 AM EDT. Page 8 of 8. 7 Comments.

NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT

Finally onto our last test system for this article we had used a NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT 256MB graphics card with dual Intel Quad-Core Xeon processors and 4GB of system memory and a 22" display running at 1680x1050 with Fedora 7 Test 4. Starting out with this new PCI Express graphics card the frame-rate was consistently above 250 FPS and briefly had topped over 300 FPS. With the different desktop effects, Beryl Benchmark had reported the frame-rate at about 80 FPS with a majority of the different effects and Beryl options we had used. The desktop eye candy on this system was extremely pleasing even at this higher resolution.

So What's Needed?

In this article we only went through eight different systems and graphics cards, but we have used Beryl and Compiz on dozens of hardware configurations at Phoronix. While a Radeon R200 will work for some of the basic effects, to really enjoy Beryl on ATI hardware you will need an R300 or R400 generation graphics card. To much dismay, R500 owners or anyone else using the fglrx driver is stuck without support. XGL can be used, but we would recommend steering away from it when possible. The much-awaited support for AIGLX in the fglrx driver is still not here but by year's end we should hopefully be able to share a much brighter story.

Intel's IGPs are certainly not the fastest but using a GMA 3000 or newer GPU should be able to provide a clean and fluid Beryl/Compiz experience. On NVIDIA hardware using the 1.0-9XXX or 100.xx.xx series driver, a GeForce 6 series graphics card or newer should be able to efficiently handle Beryl/Compiz.

These GPU recommendations are not only based upon the different systems mentioned in this article but from all the different hardware systems we have tested up to this point. You can share your experiences with Linux desktop eye candy in this Phoronix Forums thread. When the time comes we will have an article dedicated to ATI/AMD graphics cards with the fglrx driver using Beryl and Compiz.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via