[K12OSN] speed question

"Terrell Prudé Jr." microman at cmosnetworks.com
Thu Apr 5 08:50:27 UTC 2007

I haven't myself used the onboard Intel chipsets on LTSP terminals--my
thin clients are a bit old for that--but there's no reason why it
shouldn't work just fine.  X11 does support the integrated Intel video,
including in 3-D mode.

However, note that the early onboard Intel graphics did rather suck for
performance.  That includes the i740 and, to a lesser extent, the i810. 
What that means is that, if you're using something like, say, MPlayer to
watch video on a LTSP terminal, the clips need to be low-res.  For the
higher-res (i. e. 640x480) video, even an ATI 3D Rage Pro isn't fast
enough; I needed to pop in that Matrox Millenium G400.  This is on an
AMD K6-300 with an AGP slot.  That Millenium G400 made *all* the
difference.  Same with an ATI Radeon 7500 that I've got lying around;
that did the trick, too.

Your server's video card performance is totally orthogonal; it has
nothing to do with what happens on the thin client.  Nothing, nada,
el-zippo.  However, your server's CPU oomph can become an issue,
depending on how many simultaneous streams you have going.  My server at
home, a dual Athlon 1.2GHz, can comfortably handle eight sessions, nine
if I push it a little, before I peg both CPU's.  But the server's CPU
performance is a codec issue, not a video display issue.  If you have an
8-core Opteron 2.8GHz monster box that can stream boatloads of
simultaneous sessions without breathing hard, but your thin clients have
sucky video chips, it's gonna be slow.

Bottom line: if you're going to stream video, what your clients need
isn't a killer CPU; a Pentium-166 is enough.  What they need is a good
video chipset.

Now, that said, if, in your testing, you find that those clients of
yours just don't cut the mustard for video streaming, they're still
great for just about every other task, including TuxType and maybe even
ChildsPlay.  So they don't necessarily need to become expensive doorstops.

Do you GNU!?
Microsoft Free since 2003 <http://www.gnu.org/>--the ultimate antivirus

Kemp, Levi wrote:
> So as far as video goes, what about onboard Intel? We have a lot of
> Compaq, Dells, etc, that have Intel chipsets, Intel Video, Intel NIC,
> all onboard. They seemed to run fine, but say for instance I tried to
> run one of the science apps, astronomy one I think, it did nothing.
> Where I could use the same app on my Server which had a different
> video card. The ones I’m mainly going to be using are iPaq, 500Mhz
> Celerons, with 256MB, and all onboard Intel stuff(there’s no room for
> pci, or any expansion slots). I want the Lab to be able to do some
> multimedia stuff, is that going to be an issue, or will I just need to
> beef up the server?
> Levi Kemp
> Technology Specialist
> Bolivar R-I School District
> 417-328-8943
> lnkemp at bolivar.k12.mo.us <mailto:lnkemp at bolivar.k12.mo.us>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* k12osn-bounces at redhat.com [mailto:k12osn-bounces at redhat.com]
> *On Behalf Of *"Terrell Prudé Jr."
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 03, 2007 11:14 AM
> *To:* Support list for open source software in schools.
> *Subject:* Re: [K12OSN] speed question
> If you're running apps locally on the thin client, then yes. 
> Otherwise, I haven't seen one whit of difference.  The CPU's on my
> thin clients range from Pentium-133 to Pentium II-300.  Not a single
> one of them "feels slow."  I do MPlayer video and all that good stuff
> on the thin client, at 640x480, with no framedrops.  Remember that, in
> pure LTSP mode, your CPU is pretty much only running Linux, dhclient,
> bash, and X11, and you can do that with a 486-33.
> Here's what I *have* seen make a difference, though.  The first is the
> use of 100BaseTX on the client.  Yes, you can do it with 10BaseT, but
> not if you want TuxType or ChildsPlay to actually play smoothly.  :-) 
> The second is the need for a good--and FOSS-friendly--video chipset. 
> That means that any nVidious chipsets are *OUT*.  Why?  They're just
> too closed, even with their specs, just like ATWhy is in recent
> years.  Either of these issues can make your thin client feel sluggish.
> Here's a case in point.  I got my hands on a recent nVidious card,
> thought, "hey, plug it in and go!", and discovered that even 2-D
> performance was D-A-W-G S-L-O-W.  The reason was that the universal,
> but slow, VESA driver got autodetected, since nVidia is definitely
> *not* FOSS-friendly.  Oh, I'm sure that I could've made a manual entry
> in lts.conf to point to the 2D-only nv driver.  But, since I use
> multiple types of old PC's with multiple video card types, I chose not
> to play that game and simply went with a video board that actually is
> F/OSS friendly (ATU Radeon 8500 and previous, Matrox Millenium G400's,
> and so on).
> --TP
> _______________________________
> Do you GNU!?
> Microsoft Free since 2003 <http://www.gnu.org/>--the ultimate
> antivirus protection!
> Daniel Kuecker wrote:
> I was wondering if anyone could tell me if there is a big difference
> between an 800 mhz and 200 mhz cpu for thin clients? I have devonIT
> 6020's and they seem to be smoking fast. I just got some eBox-2300 and
> they are pretty sweet, but they seem awfully slow compared to the
> devonIT. Is it the CPU difference?
> Thanks.
> Daniel
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