X11 on EPIA-M

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X-server perfomance with EPIA-M and coreboot

1) The VGA BIOS which used along with Via EPIA motherboards is located inside BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). Instead of capturing it from inside running system you can extract it from BIOS itself. Read the BIOS with

# flashrom -r via.rom

Then follow the description in VGA support

And read Nick Barker's "EPIA-M-HOWTO" (might be obsolete).

2) In order to get high resolution screen you have to grab X-drivers from unichrome.sf.net project. Otherwise the largest screen could be like this: 640x480x4 ("vga" videodriver). Unichrome drivers distributed as in binary form as well as source code. Using the latest version is more then just an advice. For instance, "unichrome_X_r20-debian_sarge_xfree86-4.3.0" appeared to work properly but had internal bugs whilst initializing "xv" video-output with MPlayer.

Essential note! Don't forget to enable "NoAccel" option in "Device" section (shown below). All other options can be used freely.

Section "Device"
    Identifier  "MyVideo"
    Driver      "via"
        # unsupported card
    Option      "NoAccel"               "yes"
#    Option     "DisableVQ"             "yes"
#    Option     "HWCursor"              "no"
#    Option     "VideoRAM"              "16384"
#    Option     "UseBIOS"               "yes"
#    Option     "IgnoreEDID"            "yes"
#    Option     "UseEdidFreqs"          "no"
#    Option     "UseInt10Module"        "no"
 
    #VideoRam    16384
    # Insert Clocks lines here if appropriate
EndSection
 

I've done some benchmarking with x11perf command to measure X performance. All tests had been run at resolution 1024x768x16.

$ x11perf -a -repeat 2 > x11perf.LX2.txt # under LinuxBIOS
$ x11perf -a -repeat 2 > x11perf.via.txt # under VIA EPIA-M AwardBIOS
   
$ x11perfcomp x11perf.LX2.txt x11perf.via.txt
 
1: x11perf.LX2.txt
2: x11perf.via.txt
 
     1         2    Operation
--------  --------  ---------
   633.0     634.0  500x500 rectangle
    64.7      64.9  500x500 stippled rectangle (8x8 stipple)
    93.7      92.5  500x500 opaque stippled rectangle (8x8 stipple)
    78.4      78.3  500x500 tiled rectangle (4x4 tile)
   125.0     123.0  500x500 stippled rectangle (17x15 stipple)
   192.0     192.0  500x500 opaque stippled rectangle (17x15 stipple)
   182.0     183.0  500x500 tiled rectangle (17x15 tile)
   235.0     235.0  500x500 stippled rectangle (161x145 stipple)
   266.0     266.0  500x500 opaque stippled rectangle (161x145 stipple)
   361.0     368.0  500x500 tiled rectangle (161x145 tile)
   348.0     355.0  500x500 tiled rectangle (216x208 tile)
297000.0  297000.0  500-pixel horizontal line segment
 25900.0   26000.0  500-pixel vertical line segment
  4370.0    4360.0  500x50 wide horizontal line segment
  2710.0    2720.0  500x50 wide vertical line segment

727000.0  727000.0  Char in 80-char line (6x13)
630000.0  631000.0  Char in 70-char line (8x13)
584000.0  587000.0  Char in 60-char line (9x15)
 
535000.0  533000.0  Char in 80-char image line (6x13)
448000.0  446000.0  Char in 70-char image line (8x13)
393000.0  394000.0  Char in 60-char image line (9x15)
 
   216.0     215.0  Copy 500x500 from pixmap to window
    55.8      55.8  Copy 500x500 from window to pixmap
   199.0     199.0  Copy 500x500 from pixmap to pixmap
   279.0     279.0  Copy 500x500 1-bit deep plane
    72.3      72.8  Copy 500x500 n-bit deep plane
    54.0      54.1  PutImage 500x500 square
     2.0       2.0  PutImage XY 500x500 square
   208.0     209.0  ShmPutImage 500x500 square
     8.9       8.9  ShmPutImage XY 500x500 square
    40.9      40.6  GetImage 500x500 square
     2.6       2.6  GetImage XY 500x500 square
 
3040000.0  3070000.0  X protocol NoOperation
 481000.0  484000.0  Change graphics context
 119000.0  119000.0  Create and map subwindows (200 kids)
 263000.0  288000.0  Create unmapped window (200 kids)
 148000.0  157000.0  Map window via parent (200 kids)
 518000.0  527000.0  Unmap window via parent (200 kids)
 216000.0  235000.0  Destroy window via parent (200 kids)
 107000.0  109000.0  Hide/expose window via popup (200 kids)
 610000.0  610000.0  Moved unmapped window (200 kids)
  84900.0   85600.0  Move window via parent (200 kids)
 557000.0  559000.0  Resize unmapped window (200 kids)
  11100.0   11100.0  Circulate window (200 kids)
 463000.0  450000.0  Circulate Unmapped window (200 kids)


That's all, folks ;-)