Just before christmas I decided I will spend the “immense” amount of 40 EUR for a graphic card for a system which was without one. The system is supposed to replace my dying home-server. I already moved everything, except my Desktop-in-a-Jail (actually it is my home-cinema-jail).
The old system had a Radeon 9200SE, and it was enough for what I used it for. Now… for a few bucks you can get a lot more horsepower today. After looking around a little bit I decided to buy a NVidia card. I made this decision because it looks like I can get better driver support for it. So I got a GeForce GT 520 with 1 GB of RAM (I doubt I will be able to use that much RAM) and without a fan.
With the Radeon 9200SE I was not able to get the 3D stuff activated (at least in the jail, I did not try without), Xorg complains about a missing agpgart module but I have AGP in the kernel (no /dev/agpgart outside the jail). I did not spend time to investigate this, as the main purpose — playing movies — worked. Now with the NVidia card I decided to give the 3D part a try again.
After adding the NVidia device entries to the jail, and a little bit of fighting with the Xorg-HAL interaction, I got a working desktop. The biggest problem to verify that 3D is working was, that I did not had xdriinfo installed. After installing it, I noticed that it does not work with the NVidia driver. :-( Next stop nvidia-settings: runs great, displays a nice FreeBSD+NVidia logo, and … tells me that OpenGL is configured. Hmmm… OK, but I want to see it!
As I decided to switch from Gnome to KDE 4 at the same time (I was using KDE when it was at V 0.x, switched to Gnome as it looked nicer to me, and now I switch back after reading all the stuff in the net that KDE 4 is “better” than Gnome 3), I was a little bit out of knowledge how to see the 3D stuff in action. So I quickly went to the settings and searched for something which looks like it may use 3D. To my surprise, it was already using 3D stuff. Nice. I fully realized how nice, when playing a video and using Alt-Tab to switch windows: the video was playing full speed scaled down in the window-switcher-thumbnail-view.
That was too easy. I am happy about it.
Now that I have a working setup of X11-in-a-jail for Radeon and GeForce cards, I want to cleanup my changes to the kernel and the config files (devfs.rules) and have a look to get this committed. A big part of this work is probably writing documentation (most probably in the wiki).
I still want to see some fancy 3D stuff now. I tried to install x11-clocks/glclock, but the build fails with an undefined reference to ‘glPolygonOffsetEXT’. Any recommendation for a fancy 3D display? My priority is on “fancy/nice” with as less violence as possible. Most probably I will look at it once and then deinstall it again, so it should be available in the Ports Collection (or included in KDE 4).
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, driver nvidia
, graphic card
, home cinema
, home server
, kde 4
, nvidia card
, nvidia driver
, radeon 9200se
In the light of the recent benchmark discussion, a volunteer imported the tuning man-page into the wiki. Some comments at some places for possible improvements are already made. Please go over there, have a look, and participate please (testing/verification/discussion/improvements/…).
As always, feel free to register with FirstnameLastname and tell a FreeBSD committer to add you to the contributors group for write access (you also get the benefit to be able to register for an email notification for specific pages).
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, email notification
, man page
, tuning guide
The recent Phoronix benchmark which compared a release candidate of FreeBSD 9 with Oracle Linux Server 6.1 created a huge discussion in the FreeBSD mailinglists. The reason was that some people think the numbers presented there give a wrong picture of FreeBSD. Partly because not all benchmark numbers are presented in the most prominent page (as linked above), but only at a different place. This gives the impression that FreeBSD is inferior in this benchmark while it just puts the focus (for a reason, according to some people) on a different part of the benchmark (to be more specific, blogbench is doing disk reads and writes in parallel, FreeBSD gives higher priority to writes than to reads, FreeBSD 9 outperforms OLS 6.1 in the writes while OLS 6.1 shines with the reads, and only the reads are presented on the first page). Other complaints are that it is told that the default install was used (in this case UFS as the FS), when it was not (ZFS as the FS).
The author of the Phoronix article participated in parts of the discussion and asked for specific improvement suggestions. A FreeBSD committer seems to be already working to get some issues resolved. What I do not like personally, is that the article is not updated with a remark that some things presented do not reflect the reality and a retest is necessary.
As there was much talk in the thread but not much obvious activity from our side to resolve some issues, I started to improve the FreeBSD wiki page about benchmarking so that we are able to point to it in case someone wants to benchmark FreeBSD. Others already chimed in and improved some things too. It is far from perfect, some more eyes — and more importantly some more fingers which add content — are needed. Please go to the wiki page and try to help out (if you are afraid to write something in the wiki, please at least tell your suggestions on a FreeBSD mailinglist so that others can improve the wiki page).
What we need too, is a wiki page about FreeBSD tuning (a first step would be to take the man-page and convert it into a wiki page, then to improve it, and then to feed back the changes to the man-page while keeping the wiki page to be able to cross reference parts from the benchmarking page).
I already told about this in the thread about the Phoronix benchmark: everyone is welcome to improve the situation. Do not talk, write something. No matter if it is an improvement to the benchmarking page, tuning advise, or a tool which inspects the system and suggests some tuning. If you want to help in the wiki, create a FirstnameLastname account and ask a FreeBSD comitter for write access.
A while ago (IIRC we have to think in months or even years) there was some framework for automatic FreeBSD benchmarking. Unfortunately the author run out of time. The framework was able to install a FreeBSD system on a machine, run some specified benchmark (not much benchmarks where integrated), and then install another FreeBSD version to run the same benchmark, or to reinstall the same version to run another benchmark. IIRC there was also some DB behind which collected the results and maybe there was even some way to compare them. It would be nice if someone could get some time to talk with the author to get the framework and set it up somewhere, so that we have a controlled environment where we can do our own benchmarks in an automatic and repeatable fashion with several FreeBSD versions.
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Tags: benchmark numbers
, improvement suggestions
, linux server
, oracle linux
, release candidate