Faster performance on linux?

Help with Setup, Hardware, Performance or other Issues...Or just pimp your rig.
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Faster performance on linux?

Post by SilentFury » Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:01 pm

From a couple threads I've gotten the impression that BZFlag generally runs faster on Linux than it does on Windows. Is this true across the board or does it entirely depend on your video card?

I'm running a Riva TNT2 Pro on an Athlon 1Ghz with ~650MB Ram. I read a post here that said someone was getting 70FPS on a 750Mhz machine with less memory and the same card - but under Linux. If I get 5FPS here running XP, I do cartwheels.

So is it just that there is a linux driver that supports hardware accelleration for my card, or does BZFlag generally run faster under linux? I'm asking because I have a spare drive installed on this machine with Fedora 3 on it, but for some reason it's not booting properly and I want to be reasonably confident I'm going to see an improvement before I go and spend a lot of time bashing my computer to get it working again. I generally know my way around a PC pretty well but when it comes to fiddling with operating systems I'm not worth the coffee it takes to get me up in the morning.

If someone could help me out here or recommend something I try I would appreciate it. :) (before you ask - yes, I'm not running any major programs at the same time, I've set all my game display options to the lowest/fastest, I have a cable connection and I don't usually have a lot of lag)
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Post by DTRemenak » Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:29 pm

Always use drivers from the vendor, if possible. For your TNT2, get drivers from nVidia.com...do NOT rely on Microsoft's (original or Windows Update) drivers, because they suck. Aso make sure your settings are the same; the TNT2 should not be running in experimental mode, for instance - it just doesn't have enough juice. I consistently got 50fps on a P2-450/128mb/TNT2Pro/WinXP system, using nVidia's drivers and moderately high quality settings (turn off lighting and shadows if your framerate is still too low after installing the right drivers).

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Post by SilentFury » Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:09 pm

I downloaded the driver update from nVidia a few days ago, but when I ran the install it informed me that no newer/better drivers are available.
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Post by SilentFury » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:22 pm

Also, bzflag is showing that I'm not using OpenGL rendering. I'm wondering if that's what makes the difference, but shouldn't having the latest drivers fix that?
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Post by I_Died_Once » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:23 pm

I might not be able to wor my answer properly, so bear with me.

WIndows and Linux essentailly do the same thing, but differently. The differance is Linux is a no BS operating system. What I am willing to bet is your video card works fine... but running windows, you're computer is likely infested with spyware. All of your background resources are probably processing "CoolWebSearch" and God only knows what else, leaving less power to run BZ Flag.

A quick fix: Create a new user login for your windows machine. Before doing anything, install Firefox, and use it to do your web surfing. That should help somewhat. Stay away from Internet Explorer (the blue "e") like the F'ing plague.

A real fix: dual boot your computer with both Linux and Windows. If you can successfully do an installation of windows, you should be able to do an installation of most any Linux distro. My tip: re-install windows from scratch. When installing, and setting up your partitions to format, pick a hard drive and split it in two. Use one half for Windows, and the other for Linux. Install windows first, because if you do it second, it will want to take control of your boot sectors. Windows first, then intall Linux. That way, when you turn on your computer, you'll be able to choose which operating system you want to use.

Just remember: back up all your files, and do not become emotionally attatched to any computer installation of anything. Any and all with die on you when you least need it to.

Good luck, it all sounds much, much more difficult than it really is.
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Post by JeffM » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:32 pm

actualy if bz says it's using software rendring, then he probalby donsn't have current drivers. or if he does he's trying a res that the little TNT dosn't support ( may not have enough ram ).

spyware checks are good things to do, but the key is that bz says it's doing software ( aka the GL implementaiton that is doing drawing is NOT the nvidia one ). spyware would not cause that.

I know of no nvidia "updater"
The current nvidia drivers will allways just reinstall the drivers even if you have the same version installed. you want the 71.84 drivers direct from nvidia, not from the company who asembled the card, and not from windows update.

the URL is
http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_2k_71.84.html

download the driver, run the installer. reboot and you should then have current drivers.

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Post by SilentFury » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:37 pm

Generally I'm pretty on top of things when it comes to spyware. I only use IE for testing client websites (I'm a graphic artist for AWG) and haven't used it for surfing for quite some time. A couple reformats, anyway. My PC is pretty clean as far as background resources go.

As for the dualboot...I have a small slave drive installed which I used for holding Fedora. I never used it much, since there were just a couple programs I couldn't get on Linux that I use all the time. Somehow the drive has become corrupted or some such thing and now it won't boot in properly. My question is just whether or not I will be able to achieve a higher framerate running bzflag due to the "differences." I just don't want to go to all the trouble of reformatting my Linux drive if I'm going to be playing at the same creepy framerate.

I wonder...does Knoppix include a copy of BZFlag?
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Post by JeffM » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:39 pm

just try those drivers, they should help a lot. I don't think you realy updated when you said you updated.

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Post by SilentFury » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:46 pm

Sorry, Jeff, your post didn't appear when I replied to I_Died_Once.

When I downloaded that nVidia updater the day before yesterday, I followed the instructions that you just gave exactly. When I got into the actual install phase, however, the installer quit and basically told me that no updated drivers were available. I couldn't get any farther than that. So, I have to presume that I have the latest.

I'm at work at the moment. I'll check and see if I can access the driver version that I'm running when I can access that computer (in about thirty minutes).
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Post by JeffM » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:01 pm

the installer should never quit. it is often used to reinsall the driver. the only way it will quit is if you do NOT have a nvidia card of TNT type or better.

Are you sure you don't have a Riva 128? or some other card.

if the driver can't detect your card, it could mean that your bios isn't set to plug and play, or you have some other problems.

what driver did you install for linux if any?

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Post by SilentFury » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:20 pm

All right, here's the deal:

The video card is, according to my system, a "NVIDIA RIVA TNT2 Model 64/Model 64 Pro (Microsoft Corporation)."

The card properties are telling me two different things; the main properties tab says that the drivers are from nVidia, v2.9.5.8 (dated 7-2-2001), but the actual driver details lists it as v6.3.10.2958, also from nVidia. So, I'm not sure exactly what driver version I have.
what driver did you install for linux, if any?
None.

I'm redownloading the driver update you posted above to give it one more shot. Third time's the charm, they say. Will post results.
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Post by SilentFury » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:24 pm

Ah; I'm wrong regarding the message. My little grey cells weren't doing their job properly.

Everything extracted and began running fine. When I arrived at the actual install process, I received this error:
NVIDIA Windows 2000/XP Display Drivers wrote:The NVIDIA Setup Program could not locate any drivers that are compatible with your current hardware. Setup will now exit.
I'm stumped. Any thoughts?
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Post by JeffM » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:58 pm

yeh it can't find your card.

Best would be to remove the existing drivers ( set the card to use a VGA driver, then remove the drivers ).

check your bios
make sure plug and play is on.

then reboot and install the nvidia drivers clean.

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Post by SilentFury » Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:01 am

Lovely. Last time I did this I had to boot into Safe Mode to get the driver installed again.

'Course, now that I know I can do that it's not that big a deal anymore. I just did a backup a few hours ago, so maybe now is a good time to do it.
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Post by JeffM » Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:04 am

be sure to check your bios.

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Post by SilentFury » Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:13 am

Ok, this is why I'm an artist and not a programmer.

I'm not sure what you meant by "set the card to use a VGA driver", because I saw nothing to that effect in any of the settings. So I simply uninstalled the driver from the Device Manager and rebooted. I opened up BIOS and looked around for the PnP settings; I found a tab which seemed to be what I wanted. I enabled the option that told BIOS that I'm using a PnP-capable machine. Then I saved out and continued booting.

When I arrived into Windows, I was in 800x600 mode using the Riva. Windows proceeded to detect the card and auto-install drivers for it. When I re-ran the nVidia driver utility I got the same error as before.

Should I have done something differently?
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Post by SilentFury » Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:03 pm

Reinstalling Fedora Core 3 turned out to be more painless than I expected. I'm getting around 20FPS now with the Mesa lib.

Now I'll see if I can't actually hit the broad side of a barn (my nickname should be Imperial.Stormtrooper)...
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Post by mr loser » Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:32 pm

SilentFury wrote:Reinstalling Fedora Core 3 turned out to be more painless than I expected. I'm getting around 20FPS now with the Mesa lib.

Now I'll see if I can't actually hit the broad side of a barn (my nickname should be Imperial.Stormtrooper)...
Download the nvidia linux driver. You'll need to make sure you have kernel source installed to install it - but then you can get real hardware accelerated graphics from that card...

Here is one turorial I found for fedora core 3
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/andrewbarber/nvidia.htm

I bet if you get the hardware acceleration you will see some improvemenmt... I dual boot with Gentoo on my system at home, maybe I'll check and see what the difference is between xp and gentoo.

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Post by mr loser » Fri Apr 01, 2005 3:19 am

Well... I just did the test. This is Windows XP SP2 vs Gentoo Linux. Using the same video settings, I played for a couple of minutes on each system on secret place. On linux, I was averaging 120 to 170 fps. On windows, I was averaging about 50 to 70 fps. To be honest, I don't think I have the latest nvidia driver on windows. So, I might uninstall what I've got and reinstall them and try again. But, right now I seem to get about 2x the fps on Gentoo.

[Gentoo System - kernel-2.6.11-gentoo-r4, x.org, and the accelerated nvidia drivers]

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Post by SilentFury » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:15 pm

Mr_Loser - Thanks a bunch for pointing that out. I'll give that a shot later today when I boot over again.
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Post by Teppic » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:41 pm

Interesting thread, as a person that will only allow windows near my machines through win4lin, I still admit that there is better GFX card drivers for windows than Linux, nVidia do the best linux drivers but in most benchmarks I read windows still wins. Maybe the fact bzf uses GL as default, or the magic word 'Gentoo' was involved, helped out.

Installing the nvidia driver on FC3 poses some interesting problems.
Firstly the headers for the kernel should be installed as default, so no need to look for the kernel source. Secondly there is some issue with getting the nvidia module loaded before X tries to access it, there is a workaround here about half way down the page.

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Post by SilentFury » Fri Apr 01, 2005 2:51 pm

Teppic - thanks for posting that. I'm also having issues with getting the Riva to allow a display higher than 800x600 (I get a perpetual black screen at 1184x), so maybe once I get FC4 installed things will go a little more smoothly (I'm a complete dunce when it comes to Linux, so that doesn't help either...).
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Post by mr loser » Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:41 pm

Teppic wrote:Interesting thread, as a person that will only allow windows near my machines through win4lin, I still admit that there is better GFX card drivers for windows than Linux, nVidia do the best linux drivers but in most benchmarks I read windows still wins. Maybe the fact bzf uses GL as default, or the magic word 'Gentoo' was involved, helped out.

Installing the nvidia driver on FC3 poses some interesting problems.
Firstly the headers for the kernel should be installed as default, so no need to look for the kernel source. Secondly there is some issue with getting the nvidia module loaded before X tries to access it, there is a workaround here about half way down the page.
I'm going to reinstall my nvidia drivers on XP. I think I may have an older oem version. I'm going to uninstall those and get the latest directly from nvidia and retry. That may be the reason that Linux performed better.

As for FC3, I've never used it. I had the same problem though with gentoo when I upgraded to the 2.6 kernel. All I had to do to fix it on gentoo was add it to the 2.6 autoload file :)

Still, I would definately try and get the accelerated nvidia drivers working under linux - it makes a huge difference.

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FC3

Post by Longhair » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:24 am

Heh,

I am running Fedora Core 3 with a nVidia GeForce 2 installed, and the video is probably the biggest headache.

Perhaps the most insulting thing is that you'll go through the whole process of running and installing the nVidia driver and updating the xorg.conf file, only to have the driver "disappear" after a reboot. The solution is to do:

Code: Select all

root# cp /dev/nvidia* /etc/udev
I also had trouble with open GL "crashing". An app that runs open GL, like bzflag, will crash on an error, and then no other open GL app will run properly until I restart X. Sometimes, if I go to one of those new "high tech" bzflag servers, bzflag will lock up the whole system.

I just uninstalled Mesa Gl today, and installed the library from the open GL website. It seems to have cleared up the trouble. I still get bad framerates on the "high tech" servers, but I can exit, and Open GL still functions normally if I log into Hepcat.

Really, FC 3 runs great, but as for the difference between Windows and Linux, I couldn't see any difference in speed. I just use Linux more often for other things, so I'm there already.

Good luck.[/code]

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Re: FC3

Post by Teppic » Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:19 am

Longhair wrote:

Code: Select all

root# cp /dev/nvidia* /etc/udev
Should be

Code: Select all

# cp -a /dev/nvidia* /etc/udev/devices/
Longhair wrote: I just uninstalled Mesa Gl today
Hmm, nvidia provide their own GL libraries, which allow direct rendering, making things faster. I'd

Code: Select all

glxinfo |grep direct
and make sure the drivers are running properly.

As for it being a headache, just be glad you don't have an ATI card :evil:.

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