View Full Version : Performance comparison of OpenGL on Sun and Linux

07-24-2004, 11:05 PM
I have the following platform to run OpenGL Application.
Linux(FC3T1, Dual xeons 2.8G, nvidia GeForce FX 5900xt).
Solaris (2.9) Dual UltraSparc IIIi 1.28G, Sun-XVR1200)
I tested the glut demo program called particles. The performance is as follows, on linux, 7000~infinity fps, however, on the sun, it only reach ~700 fps. but I saw the cpu is idle most of the time on sun system. I know the graphical card is busy, but on all the rest of platform, the cpu is 100% occupied when running opengl with redraw on idle. My Question is that:
Is the performance reasonable comparing the two graphical card? You know, the Sun-XVR1200 is super expensive, cost around 3K USD... Thanks for your reply

07-25-2004, 07:31 AM
Particles is probably heavily fill-limited, due to overdraw of transparent, textured polygons. The XVR's are nice for CAD, where you need very high quality antialiased lines, but when it comes to game-like scenarios where fillrate becomes an issue, they don't stand a chance.

In general comparisons with >60 Hz are pretty meaningless, IMHO. Except for very special cases (highly trained twitch fighters) you won't see a difference anyway, and the fixed-cost components like screen clear are more emphasized than they should be. You won't play Doom 3 on the XVR anyway, so you'd be better off to use an app and a dataset/-size that you actually want to use to do the comparison.

Even then the nVidia will probably be faster, though. ;)

P.S.: If you think 3K is super-expensive, take a look at sgi's price list. :)

07-25-2004, 11:50 AM
I hate to say that, but older SGI workstations (= 1 to 2 years old), which cost 10 to 50 times more than a standard PC, still run with a PCI bus and don't have a multitexturing extension. Newer workstations are better (they recently switched to ATI cards), but still run with AGP x1. In these conditions i can't say i'm very surprized by your results.

Professional video cards, especially non-NVidia nor ATI, cost a lot and i wouldn't expect them to have a better performance than a popular consumer card. Their quality (in standard OGL 1.1) is higher though, especially on sub-pixel precision and anti-aliasing.. but well..


07-25-2004, 02:20 PM
I think the new 3dlabs cards are neato. But they're around thousand bucks.

07-26-2004, 09:09 AM
Ysaneya, dunno exactly what systems you're referring to, I think you're right but only for a stopgap product. Even older SGI systems typically have had lots of bandwidth from host to graphics especially when compared to a PCI bus. It's ancient history now but a 1-2 year old SGI system with a PCI bus is not actually typical but tells you a lot about SGI in that timeframe.

w.r.t. Sun systems, and SGI systems for that matter. These are pricey systems that have been outpaced by PCs, however they are interesting for stuff like CAD applications etc, because they include features those markets like, for example high quality antialiased line drawing & untextured two sided lighting and other things like decent performance context switches, image readback, accum buffer etc. (not all on all cards). SGI & SUN are now buying PC chip designs and putting them in their workstations, basically so they can remain competitive with PCs.

They were all pretty much spanked by a decent PC graphics card in most metrics that interest most people, however SUN & others expend a lot of effort producing certified drivers and providing support for issues as they arise. Interoperability with existing systems also plays a part in selecting these systems. A $3k Sun system is really there to encourage Sun houses to stick with Sun for their existing workstations and not replace with PCs for example. This keeps Sun in the game and prevents other business getting erroded. It's peanuts to Sun and their biggest concern with a system like this is cannibalizing their own higher end business, it's not there to impress you and encourage you to get a Sun vs a PC. Just look at the price of software peripherals and upgrades/options on that Sun, it'll make your toes curl.

You can easily spend >3k on a decent PC if you're after a workstation class system, 3DLabs stays in the game providing their high end Wildcat Realizm products for these markets but they are a bit more pricey than a standard PC graphics cards. NVIDIA have their high end Quadro DCC line of products, and ATI also have their high end with FireGL cards. These are all products where the quality of rendering, certified drivers and certain rendering paths & features are emphasized more than running Quake3 with a high frame rate.

As for pricing, the PC graphics card just announced by 3DLabs, the Wildcat Realizm 800 will set you back $2,799, that's *just the GFX card*. It should be monstrously fast but I wouldn't bet on it beating a pair of NVIDIA 6800U SLI cards running DOOM3. People who purchase it won't really be caring about that though, it'll run the apps they are interested in & it'll do it reliably and quickly with real support.

07-27-2004, 03:35 AM
Thanks to all of you. I am really quite surpirsed to see the result of the performance. SUN-XVR1200, the card along cost 3K USD...

08-03-2004, 12:17 PM
According to this info, it's a 3DLabs Wildcat chipset on a 66MHz PCI bus. Could be a relatively old chip, but I cannot tell, "Wildcat" is an ongoing product brand used by 3DLabs. It has gone through many iterations.


It is interesting for a workstation upgrade, if your investment is already in Sun. It also has some interesting workstation class features (like most wildcats) that haven't migrated to the mainstream yet.

This PCI GFX bus in the SUN, like SGI is the sort of thing shortsighted or commitment challenged workstation vendors have to do because it takes a while and is expensive to add AGP bus support to your motherboard and PCI Express would be the long term way to go anyway. They are literally like deer in the headlights when faced with something as rapidly evolving as the AGP graphics bus. When you rev your hardware once every 3-5 years as is often the case (if not the original plan) for these companies the tendency is to wait & aim high, but it also takes them a while to complete a design so they must aim early too:-) what a dillema. Other 'workstation' class bus standards the 'server' guys have supported (like PCI-X) wind up not having anything on the other end of the wires for graphics.

You should see PCI Express 16X (or even 32X ??) solutions from them all at some point unless they've totally given up or screwed up.