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1 Step to hugely increase unity performance


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#1 ViperAFK

ViperAFK

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 22:25

My older laptop has never been able to run unity worth a damn ever since they introduced the active dash blur in 11.10. Searching the dash and dragging things in the dash is painfully slow, and the problem is twofold if the dash is open over a playing video or something. Disabling dash blur wasn't an option because it made the dash an unreadable transparent mess, and static blur is just way too buggy.

However, You can force unity into "Low Graphics Mode" with the following command:
echo "export UNITY_LOW_GFX_MODE=1" | sudo tee /etc/X11/Xsession.d/99force-llvm
This disables the dash transparency and blur completely. The only problems I saw with this mode was that the alt tab switcher is still transparent and now doesn't have blur so it can be a little less readable, however I didn't find it nearly as bad as the dash's readability when blur was disabled/transparency enabled and I found it to still be usable.

This command may look like you are forcing your machine to use "software rendering", but that does not seem to be the case in my testing, it just disables the effects while letting you retain hardware acceleration. glxinfo says that I am still using the intel driver and renderer:

GL_RENDERER   = Mesa DRI Intel(R) Ironlake Mobile

If LLVM software rendering were being used it would look like this:


GL_RENDERER = Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.1)

Source: http://www.ubuntuvib...-in-ubuntu.html

should work on 12.10 and 13.04


#2 +Karl L.

Karl L.

    xorangekiller

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 01:49

Great tutorial ViperAFK! I'll have to remember that if I ever decide to try Ubuntu 12.10 or 13.04. I have one question though. Since the current Intel graphics driver in Linux doesn't use Gallium (or a lot of the other common graphics driver infrastructure that Radeon and Nouveau share), does software rendering still use Gallium over LLVMpipe with the Intel driver?

#3 OP ViperAFK

ViperAFK

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:40

Great tutorial ViperAFK! I'll have to remember that if I ever decide to try Ubuntu 12.10 or 13.04. I have one question though. Since the current Intel graphics driver in Linux doesn't use Gallium (or a lot of the other common graphics driver infrastructure that Radeon and Nouveau share), does software rendering still use Gallium over LLVMpipe with the Intel driver?


This method shouldn't enable software rendering at all, just enables the low effects unity mode that also happens to be enabled automatically when LLVM software rendering is used.

Regarding software rendering, afiak the only way to use software rendering is via LLVM/gallium, so regardless of what video card you have if you were to use software rendering it would be using the LLVM/gallium driver.

Luckily doing this does not force one to use software rendering, so we get better performing unity and keep the regular driver/hardware acceleration.

#4 +Karl L.

Karl L.

    xorangekiller

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 16:19

Regarding software rendering, afiak the only way to use software rendering is via LLVM/gallium, so regardless of what video card you have if you were to use software rendering it would be using the LLVM/gallium driver.


I haven't had a problem with hardware acceleration since I put Debian Squeeze on my PowerBook G4 a couple years ago, but if I recall when I ran "glxinfo | grep renderer" I got back "OpenGL renderer string: software rasterizer". Its quite possible that the Radeon driver in Linux 2.6.32 was before Gallium, but that was what made me suspect that not all software rendering must be done through Gallium and LLVMpipe.

#5 Xilo

Xilo

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 16:34

Best way to increase unity performance is to uninstall it and install the full Gnome experience. It's so much better then the Unity crap.

#6 OP ViperAFK

ViperAFK

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 16:43

I haven't had a problem with hardware acceleration since I put Debian Squeeze on my PowerBook G4 a couple years ago, but if I recall when I ran "glxinfo | grep renderer" I got back "OpenGL renderer string: software rasterizer". Its quite possible that the Radeon driver in Linux 2.6.32 was before Gallium, but that was what made me suspect that not all software rendering must be done through Gallium and LLVMpipe.


Correction: afiak software rendering of unity/compiz must be done via LLVM/Gallium :). With a 2d environment like gnome 2 you can use something like vesa and don't need LLVMpipe for things to work, but the only software rendering compiz/unity supports is via LLVMpipe. On that old debian install I'd guess you were using gnome 2 and the basic vesa driver.

#7 f0rk_b0mb

f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 17:00

Great tutorial! If I ever go back to Ubuntu, I'll be sure to use this.