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The only working Nvidia system I have at the moment is an antiquated, cheap little Ion netbook with a weak N270 Atom. So let see how it fares in the debate whether it is preferrable to use the image backend and push images to the server rather than send geometry via XRender.

Relative performance on Nvidia Ion

The white baseline in the centre is the performance of the image backend on the N270. Above that line and the driver is faster and more responsive, below it consumes more CPU, more power and lags more than if we were just to render it ourselves.

What we can see is that as a result of Nvidia investing engineering time in their driver, on the whole, it performs better than we could by just using the CPU. Better performance means more responsive user interfaces that sip less power, meaning happier users for longer.


  1. Sup dude. Found your blog somehow. Think it was twitter post by someone. Or maybe a mention on Never knew there were blogs like this. Had a blast reading through your recent posts. I have started following!! When I grow up and become wise I also want to do awesome stuff with my time like contributing to a bad-ass open source projects like this. There was a period in time during which I used to think all the open source programmers were just chilled out dawgs hacking away on some side projects during sunday afternoon but after I read your blog I can really see there is good thought about it. It is good inspiration!

  2. What troubles me a bit are the firefox-paintball, ocitysmap and gvim tests. While NVidia’s blob obviously performs really well in most tests, in a few it performs pathologically bad. Looks like they’re working on it, which is a good thing, but it’s still very frustrating to see some applications go very slow on an otherwise very snappy system.

    • Yes, they are working on it! I think they were a bit startled to find such a pathological use case and I fully expect them to resolve it quickly.

  3. Can you please retest this on Nvidia Ion with Cairo 1.12.4 when it’s released and the latest 304.xx or later Nvidia drivers?

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