[winswitch] Using Xpra on multi-GPU laptops
antoine at nagafix.co.uk
Wed Oct 5 08:14:36 BST 2011
On 05/10/11 13:57, Eric Appleman wrote:
> Setting BATCH_EVENTS to False and adjusting those other settins didn't
> help. I didn't tinker too much since I'm not sure what they do.
> Is it possible that the problem boils down one of the Xpra processes
> taking 96% of my CPU in gnome-system-monitor. The second Xpra process
> uses 8% and mplayer2 uses an expected 24%.
Yes, clearly it is CPU bound. Can you please tell us which one it is,
client or server?
I am really not sure why I can run mplayer without problems using Xvfb,
can you try that too?
> Here's a screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/EGJx2.png
> If I run another mplayer2 process on the Intel screen without Xpra, it
> renders fine.
> On 10/05/2011 01:59 AM, Antoine Martin wrote:
>> On 05/10/11 01:49, Eric Appleman wrote:
>>> * VirtualGL doesn't expose the Nvidia hardware the way we'd like
>>> because VDPAU and NV17 are not accessible as video output.
>>> Furthermore, there is a significant performance penalty that we
>>> discovered is not present in more direct solutions such as
>>> hybrid-windump and Xpra.
>>> * I tried r202 last night with the following commands:
>>> xpra start --encoding=rgb24 -z 0 :8
>>> xpra attach --encoding=rgb24 -z 0 :8
>> That's right
>> (setting encoding and compression when "start"ing is not strictly
>> necessary if you do specify it when "attach"ing as this takes
>>> Is it correct? I still had the screen update problem with PNG and
>> OK, that's good to know as it means that the encoding performance is
>> probably not causing the problem.
>>> * I'm not familiar with Xvfb/Xdummy. Can you explain how to use it the
>>> relation to Xpra?
>> When you start Xpra the way you did above it will normally start an Xvfb
>> server, not a real X11 display, which will not allow you to take
>> advantage of hardware acceleration. If you have an existing accelerated
>> X display, you should use the "--use-display" switch. I guess that ":8"
>> is your accelerated display? Which means starting the Xvfb failed and
>> xpra should have terminated with an error - will fix that..
>> Xdummy is just an alternative (probably not useful in your case since
>> you run against something else), you can find all about it here:
>>> * glxgears is not the best visual test. Try glxspheres or
>>> mplayer2/smplayer through Xpra. The latter is pretty much unusable.
>> I've just tried glxspheres and I don't get any artifacts with either
>> Xvfb or Xdummy.
>> But it does render very very slowly (~5fps on a core2duo).
>> Watching a video with mplayer works well enough though.
>> Since I can't reproduce your problems, I have added a switch to turn off
>> all damage update batching (since I suspect your hardware does more than
>> 20fps) and upped the batching to not trigger until 30fps:
>> Please try this, also with "BATCH_EVENTS = False" as well as increasing
>> the MAX_EVENTS and decreasing the BATCH_DELAY. Hopefully, we can find
>> more optimal settings for your hardware.
>>> * The process using Xpra (and sometimes Xpra itself) is taking up a
>>> lot of CPU resources. I have 4 cores and 8 threads (i7-2630QM). It's
>>> taking up an entire core at times. I'm not sure what you mean by
>> There should be 2 processes, one for the client and one for the server,
>> which one is the bottleneck?
>> By CPU-bound I mean that CPU is the limiting factor.
>> It would also be interesting to know how much bandwidth is being used,
>> you should be able to work that out by using the tcp socket mode
>>> * The second Xserver has no physical video output. Some Optimus
>>> laptops have the HDMI ports wired directly to the Nvidia GPU, but we
>>> are not targeting these exceptions as a default case.
>>> Kind regards,
>>> On 10/04/2011 10:57 AM, Antoine Martin wrote:
>>>> On 04/10/11 11:11, Eric Appleman wrote:
>>>>> Hi, I've been fiddling around with Xpra as a replacement to the
>>>>> Bumblebee Project's VirtualGL backend. Bumblebee permits access to
>>>>> the Nvidia GPU on Optimus laptops. By using the X server it creates,
>>>>> we can start applications on the invisible Nvidia screen.
>>>>> I want Xpra to replace VirtualGL as the transport method, but I need
>>>>> the screen to display at a normal framerate.
>>>> Just out of curiosity, what makes you prefer Xpra over VirtualGL. At
>>>> first I thought VirtualGL would be a more natural fit, but.. maybe it
>>>>> I've included a demonstration that compares rendering through Xpra
>>>>> without it. Feel free to drop by #bumblebee-dev on Freenode if you
>>>>> have ideas or questions.
>>>> I've looked at the video and it certainly looks interesting and
>>>> challenging for Xpra...
>>>> You haven't specified which command line options you have used or
>>>> version of Xpra you are using (trunk?).
>>>> I would suggest you try with trunk, turn compression off, try with
>>>> all 3
>>>> screen encoding options (rgb24, jpeg and png), with jpeg you may
>>>> want to
>>>> try different quality settings.
>>>> It is a little bit strange how the screen updates seem a little
>>>> disjointed, but I guess that is because it is falling too far
>>>> behind the
>>>> real screen?
>>>> If we can come up with a test case to reproduce this (one that does
>>>> involve me buying a new laptop preferably!), then I am sure there are
>>>> improvements that can be made. For example, there are also some real
>>>> issues with the python networking code which make it less than
>>>> optimal... Maybe tackling those would already make a noticeable
>>>> difference. Is the refresh rate and artifacts very different from
>>>> Xpra with Xvfb/Xdummy?
>>>> I've tried running glxgears in xpra, and although it's not super
>>>> it looks ok-ish...
>>>> I have recently added to trunk some code to rate-limit screen
>>>> updates at
>>>> 20ups, maybe you hit this limit?
>>>> Are you CPU bound? I don't really understand the architecture of
>>>> bumblebee, do you get a secondary X11 display which is not actually
>>>> bound to any video ports?
>>>>> - Eric
>>>>> 1. Start Bumblebee X server on :8
>>>>> optirun glxinfo
>>>>> 2.Start Xpra server
>>>>> xpra start :8
>>>>> 3. Attach :8 to :0, the Intel screen
>>>>> xpra attach :8
>>>>> 4. Start applications on Nvidia screen
>>>>> DISPLAY=:8 glxgears
>>>>> 5. Repeat step 4 as necessary
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