16 December, 2007

Performance 3

Hi all,

After some raving blogs about how memory-efficient and fast KDE 4 is, I decided to test something myself.

I felt there are regressions in drawing performance in some apps, and I tried to quantify that a little bit. Of course, entirely unscientific, but the patern should be clear... For those who wonder, as far as I can tell, debugging is off in my build and my hardware is pretty nice - a 2.4 ghz dualcore AMD with 3 GB ram. It was all done in a KDE3 environment.

Procedure:
1. Start Ksysguard (the kde 4 version of course, as it looks much cooler), and minimize.
2. Do some Stuff.
3. Use Ksnapshot on Ksysguard ;-)

I tried Konqueror and it's autoscrolling feature (shift-down-arrow) and Gwenview (drag a big picture around). Here the results:



As you can see, Konqi in KDE 3 uses barely any CPU over the baseline when autoscrolling. The KDE 4 version, on the other hand uses quite some CPU.



Here I pan (is that the right word?) the image around. As you see, Gwenview 4 easily uses 100% cpu (one core) and is visually very laggy, too. The KDE 3 version looks entirely smooth, and indeed doesn't get to use a cpu core fully ever. Again, a performance regression.

Well, what can I say. There sure is still a lot to optimize, and maybe these issues can be fixed very easily. After the positive blogs about memory usage I became rather sceptical - I mean, with so much code changed and so many new features - could KDE 4 really be that much faster? Now I didn't test memory usage, which might very well indeed be much better - but at least these two apps got slower in the rendering/painting department, so here's the balance ;-)

Other remarks: yes, ksysguard uses 20% cpu when drawing 4 sensors and put full-screen. Awful indeed, but the KDE 3 version doesn't do much better, and minimized the cpu usage is reduced to almost nothing. Besides, it looks damn sexy, doesn't it?
The big spikes marked 'xplanet' - you guessed it, it's xplanet, which updates my desktop picture every 5 minutes using some pretty pretty big planetary pictures - so it takes a while.



One more thing. I played with the colors in Oxygen again. And in my humble opinion (those who know me know I'm rarely humble, but whatever) Oxygen rocks, it really does. It is one of those rare themes which looks amazingly good in a wide variety of colorschemes. Despite the fact there are a few unfinished things (but that's true for almost all of KDE 4) it is imho the best theme ever made. Original (it looks as much as Vista or Mac OS X as those look like Windows 95) and brilliantly smooth.

The best thing about Oxygen is some quality it shares with Dolphin: it grows on you. At first, Dolphin didn't appeal to me - I love konqi as a filemanager. And I wasn't impressed with Oxygen much either, I normally prefer very glossy themes like liquid or Polyester. Oxygen, I thought, was kind'a boring.

After using it for a while, I've grown very dissatisfied with any theme on KDE 3 - I find Domino, one of the most modern KDE 3 themes, bearable, but that's about it. And I find myself using Dolphin more and more, to the point that I installed the KDE 3 version on my main system...

So, to those bashing Oxygen, Dolphin and Kickoff - wait until you've used it for a while. You'll probably discover you don't wanna go back...