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Old 06-14-2013, 06:27 AM   #1
Gullible Jones
Registered: Apr 2011
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nVidia Quadro NVS 280 performance woes

ATM I'm using a desktop with a nVidia Quadro NVS 280 graphics card. I'm aware this card is pretty old, but it should be quite powerful compared to the Intel dreck on my laptops... Yet 2D performance with it is consistently awful.

- nVidia proprietary driver (latest supporting version): Window move/resize is painfully slow.

- nouveau: move/resize is very slow and Firefox hangs a lot.

The only way to get anything approaching reasonable 2D performance is to use nouveau with acceleration turned off.

On Windows XP of course everything is snappy as you please, without even installing the nVidia drivers.

Is this card just really badly supported on Linux or something?

Last edited by Gullible Jones; 06-14-2013 at 06:31 PM.
Old 06-14-2013, 06:38 AM   #2
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Getting the right driver for that one would be essential as they were turning on & off features with that stuff. I had an old mx-440 from the last millenium or just into this one, and I parted with it because I felt proprietary blobs wouldn't have a recent enough libGL* so problems would develop. What I got was no faster in 2D.

That's an agp card. what's yours?
Old 06-14-2013, 06:46 AM   #3
Gullible Jones
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Yeah, this is an AGP card (8x I think).
Old 06-14-2013, 07:16 AM   #4
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nVidia Quadro NVS 280 was aviable in AGP, PCI and PCIe. NV34GL, which is the same basic chip they used in very low end nVidia cards (FX 5200).

It shouldnt work with most of the current distros and Vidia closed drivers, the 96.XX drivers (which is what nVidia tells me it should be using) are not supported anymore.

NVS 280 would be less powerful than the current intel HD video, and even older intel video might be just as fast or faster. Still, it shouldnt be that slow to resize widnows. Could be that trying to install the closed drivers has stuffed something, or a hardware problem.
Old 06-14-2013, 07:18 AM   #5
Gullible Jones
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Less powerful than Intel GMA 945? Ick.

I suppose I will stick with Nouveau and shadow framebuffer for now. Thanks.
Old 06-14-2013, 01:55 PM   #6
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I had a 285 a few years back and it was ok under Gnome 2 and xfce. It was even running well with compiz at that time.
Just make sure you have the right drivers installed properly (with all mesa libraries replaced and stuff) and actually used.
BTW what DE do you use? If you have ANY software-based desktop effects, disable them if you can

Also, i found that nvidia's drivers are slower slow with 2d stuff compared to both OSS drivers and fglrx. But not THAT slow.
Old 06-14-2013, 06:48 PM   #7
Gullible Jones
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Solved! Sort of.

The problem seems to be a personality clash between the Nouveau driver and fancy window managers. Openbox is a bit sluggish, Fluxbox is quite sluggish, KWin is intolerable. For now I've settled on Fvwm, which is faster and behaves more sanely. I have no idea why these window managers show such marked differences only on this hardware though; it would be interesting to learn more about that.

(Not sure how I could find out more though. Is there a way of tracing a program's calls to the graphics libraries? If I had some idea what slow library calls the window managers were making, I might be able to file a bug against Nouveau, or at least against some of the window managers that don't like it.)

Anyway I also have a workaround for Firefox hanging temporarily: hide the Speed Dial page. Making miniatures of a bunch of tabs seems to really tax the drivers.

Last edited by Gullible Jones; 06-14-2013 at 06:49 PM.
Old 06-23-2013, 10:25 AM   #8
Gullible Jones
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Okay, genuinely solved now. I noticed that NetBSD performed much better, and it used the nv driver, so I tried nv instead of nouveau on Linux... It works fine, giving me performance about on par with Intel onboard dreck.

Obviously there is no 3D acceleration, only 2D. But I don't do anything 3D, so I don't care.


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