Slow Video Drawing/Painting by IBM xSeries 455 with onboard Rage XL

Issues related to hardware problems
Posts: 13
Joined: 2005/06/01 03:45:10

Slow Video Drawing/Painting by IBM xSeries 455 with onboard

Postby starguy » 2006/04/20 08:37:51

Centos installs and runs like a dream on my xSeries 455 ia64. In fact, its the ONLY OS I can get to successfully install and run without a hitch on this platform. I have been using it for a year now. Kudos totally to the Centos development and support team.

I have only one problem that vexes me. Slow video. I suspect this is a piss poor video chipset, or unoptimized video driver, for the Rage XL video chipset.

Drawing the screen in KDE is painfully slow... for example, bringing windows to the front, or switching virtual desktops, opening a new Konqueror browser window, repainting the screen during scrolling, etc. It is usable, but barely, and proceeds at the speed of a 486. I'm running at 1600x1200 in 16 bit color. 32bit color is so slow as to be impossible to use. I have the Display properties set correctly to use the right video card driver.

When a major screen update is in progress, the processor usage shoots to 100%.

I'm thinking either the onboard Rage video chipset either sucks, or somehow hardware video accelation is not being used.

1) do any other xseries 455 users experience this problem of screen painting of pixels to be slow?

2) is it possible to fix this? is this because its running in framebuffer mode or some such thing? there are no ia64 drivers by ATI...

3) is it possible to drop some PCI-x video card into this machine, and bypass the onboard Rage video. If so, what / which video cards are compatible with the xseries 455?
IBM provides no information at all, and no regular PCI video card I've tried works at all


Site Admin
Posts: 867
Joined: 2005/01/03 21:30:54
Location: /country/belgium

Re: Slow Video Drawing/Painting by IBM xSeries 455 with onboard Rage XL

Postby arrfab » 2006/04/21 10:07:10

On such hardware i don't understand why you need a graphical display ..... after all it's a server, not a workstation isn't it ?

Posts: 13
Joined: 2005/06/01 03:45:10

Re: Slow Video Drawing/Painting by IBM xSeries 455 with onboard Rage XL

Postby starguy » 2006/04/23 19:21:30

Yes, the IBM xseries 455 is a server. And yes, thats the same poor excuse IBM gives for its appauling poor video performance in the docs.
"Its a server, you don't need decent speed video on it." Don't tell me what I do or do not need. IBM is selling this box
at $35,000 a pop retail, there is absolutly no excuse for them to drop video hardware in it that crawls along like a 486. I have like
200 computers going way back, and I haven't seen anything this slow except on 486 machines.

The problem is, I bought this not to run it as a server, but to use as a massive Linux workstation that would blow by any memory limits, that
I could open an infinite amount of webbrowser windows on and massively surf the web.

I didn't need any super fast video performance or 3d or anything, as most of what i was going to be doing was simply surfing
the web. But the video is so slow, that if no processes are running, you can get away with it... as it seems most of the video work
is delegated to the processor. The problem is when you start opening a lot of browser windows, they start to consume large
amounts of processor cycles, and then you really are mucking about.

I could mitigate the problem by dropping more Itanium processors in it (1 right now, I have 3 more ready to go, but I need
voltage regulators & heatsinks which are hard to find for it). Plus that would raise the power consumtion and heat the
box produces, and sitting on my desk, thats quite a lot. I do not keep my living room at a chilly 50 degrees Farenheit like
an IT glass server room like the box expects to be in.

I mitigated the problem somewhat, I am now using it as a server running really glacially slow perl scripts that spend most of the
time sleeping. I do a lot of perl programming on it, and mostly that just requires you to sit and think at a glacial pace, so its
not a major problem at the moment, but it annoys me, why such an awesome box has to be crippled with such horrid video
performance. I don't need anything like playing doom... i just need to be able to scroll windows without having to see them
"paint'. Am I asking a lot? I don't think so... (or?)

Surely there has to be some kind of PCI-x video card i could drop in this bad boy (an nvidia quatro?) and bypass the onboard
video chipset completly, that is supported by Centos. I'm sure this slow video problem is endemic to a lot of server machines
out there, which hardware manufacturers giving the same excuse (its a server, you don't need video!).

I can't get any kind of PCI card of any time to work in it... apparently PCI-x is not backwards compatible... and your bugger
danged to find EFI drivers for any card out there, let alone figure out how to instal them inside EFI (I upgraded the BIOS
and that was a learning experience in itself)>

Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/04/22 15:01:36

Re: Slow Video Drawing/Painting by IBM xSeries 455 with onboard Rage XL

Postby command0 » 2006/04/23 21:31:56

How much Video RAM (VRAM) does the onboard video chipset currently have?

Tried to look it up on IBM's site but couldn't find any really clear specs on it.

Posts: 1
Joined: 2006/04/24 09:27:15

Re: Slow Video Drawing/Painting by IBM xSeries 455 with onboard Rage XL

Postby MrCheese » 2006/04/24 09:29:53

...rofl. Ahem

You, sir, are a cretin.

That is all.