Used with 3D Mesa applications Speeding Up X Setting XFree86 Options

Chapter 16, "Optimizing X Configuration," describes how to set up X to get the most from your video card. It also includes many nonperformance tips, such as information on improving the appearance of fonts under X. For the moment, though, there are a few rules of thumb you can use to get X working at least tolerably well:

Try Multiple X Servers XFree86 underwent a major architectural change between the 3.x and 4.x versions; with 3.x, drivers were integrated with X servers—programs that mediate the interaction between the display and individual programs. Therefore, you'd run a different X server for, say, an ATI board than for a Matrox board. With XFree86 4.0, a single X server was developed that loads drivers for specific video hardware. This change meant, though, that a lot of the old XFree86 3.x driver code had to be rewritten. As of XFree86 4.2, not all of the 4.x drivers are up to the standards of the older 3.x code. Therefore, you may want to try a 3.3.6 X server if you have problems with your video card under XFree86 4.x.

Research Driver Options The XF86Config file (usually stored in /etc or /etc/X11) controls XFree86, including passing options to the video drivers. Some of these drivers may influence performance, and so you may want to study them.

Use Low Color Depths X can run on a 1-bit display, but it's best to use at least 16 bits to get reasonable color fidelity from most programs. Beyond this value, improvements are modest for many purposes. Higher color depths, though, increase the work required to manipulate the display, and can therefore reduce performance. Reducing the color depth (done by setting the DefaultDepth option in the Screen section of the XF86Config file) may improve your video performance.

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