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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware
EPIA SP13000 & ML8000: Flash video, audio not right
Moderators: Flash, Ian, JohnMurga
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov 2005, 20:58    Post subject:  EPIA SP13000 & ML8000: Flash video, audio not right  

Hello

I am trying to understand the reason for a performance-related issue relating to macromedia flash & video/audio on puppy.

I've been trying Puppy 1.0.6 on a couple of Via SP13000 & ML8000 boards (512Mb/DDR400 RAM & HD). I've noticed that some Flash content is sluggish - imagine an on-screen flash button with an accompanying sound effect - when you click the button an audio effect can be heard. I've noticed there is a noticeable lag between clicking & hearing the audio. By comparison, I've installed Win98SE on the same hardware setup & found the lag is virtually non-existent by comparison. So I think hardware can be ruled out. Apart from Flash plug-in code difference (using the same base version on both OSes), a difference I can imagine is the perhaps the installation of specific video & audio chipset drivers for the Win98 case. I wonder what is the situation with Puppy? Via uses AC97 for audio.

About video - the Via uses integrated video. According to this, the ML8000 uses the VT3122 chip known as "CastleRock" & is part of the VIA CLE266 northbridge. For the SP13000, it uses the VT3118 chip with "Unichrome Pro" (A) found on the CN400 (and PM800, PM880 and PN800). I think this is very specific to Via - what would puppy use in this case? If it's generic, could it cause the issue I notice?

I see that Via released source code for "console framebuffer driver" for the graphics chipset (the prev link might be better). Would using this help? If so, how can I try it.

Apparently epios (another distro) is targetting via specifically, and I think ubuntu includes via-specific drivers (at least for graphics). So I guess trying these would distros might answer my question.. before I do, has anyone had any experience with seeing variation with puppy audio/video performance using a specific driver? Or maybe this is due to some kind of interrupts issue?

Any tips to diagnose or resolve this is appreciated. Sorry if this is a newbie lame question.

P.S. from this topic I came across this site which looks promising for via video drivers http://www.openchrome.org
This looks like an interesting read also ("How all driver components fit together").

Last edited by mskuma on Fri 25 Nov 2005, 02:38; edited 1 time in total
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aahhaaa


Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 341
Location: Lower Michigan, North America

PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov 2005, 23:32    Post subject:  

Hi- my Epia is only an M10000, so don't have much direct experience with the probs you are having, but...
there are so many alternative settings in the VIA BIOS, I'd look there first, especially for anything sound related. Are you doing 2 channel or 5.1? Have you changed the default encryption settings? How's the AGP set? How do you have the P&P set? The OS should parallel the BIOS settings, Lotsa things seem to change the priority that the Epia mobo does things.

If you are sure its an OS thing, I'd try another distro and see if the lag is the same. But I'd guess its not the driver, its the 'think about it' prior to activating the driver.

I'm glad to hear from another Epia user, because they are great boards, but in the US have few users that aren't doing carputers or somesuch. The guru center for them seems to be the UK, we don't even have the nano N boards yet.
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri 25 Nov 2005, 00:58    Post subject:  

Thanks for your reply. You'd think it would be BIOS independent since Win98 is fine, which is what made me think of the driver issue. But I'll try your suggestion - thanks. I'm about to try epiOS to see if it's any different since they use the unichrome driver.

Regards

Michael.
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon 28 Nov 2005, 19:35    Post subject:  

My quick check shows that epiOS produces a better flash experience (ala my issue reported initially), suggesting drivers are a key issue. I probably have to investigate how to compile in drivers.. this is new territory for me..
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dvw86


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 636
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Tue 29 Nov 2005, 01:26    Post subject:  

I use a VIA ML8000 and my experience is that Puppy uses the CPU for all of the graphics processing instead of the GPU. I think a different X server may be the answer. I haven't had any luck with MU's Xorg though. My VIA refuses to boot into Puppy after installing it.
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MU


Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 13642
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany

PostPosted: Tue 29 Nov 2005, 01:39    Post subject:  

There also is a via-driver for the kdrive-Xserver:
http://www.murga.org/%7Epuppy/viewtopic.php?t=4082

But I could not try that myself, as I have a SIS-card.

Mark
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue 29 Nov 2005, 02:48    Post subject:  

Thanks dvw86 & MU for your replies.. hmm different X server? That's interesting.. I'd like to try your suggestion and report. Thank you again.
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tempestuous

Joined: 10 Jun 2005
Posts: 5218
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue 29 Nov 2005, 11:08    Post subject:  

I'm thinking of getting one of these Epia systems, too.
From a little Googling it appears that VESA works, unaccelerated.

Accelerated XF86 drivers are available from the long-standing Unichrome Project, and more recently from Via's own "official" driver package.
From what I can tell, the main driver in both packages is similar or identical, but the packages are distinctly different in implementing MPEG2/DVD hardware support.

Which of these MPEG2 libraries you choose to use will affect how applications like MPlayer, Xine, MythTV, etc. need to be compiled and configured.

I think that recent versions of XFree86 / X.Org include the Via driver, via_drv.o, so perhaps MU's xorg682c.pup package has this driver and accelerated performance can be achieved without any extra bits & pieces necessary ... though without MPEG2 support of course.
There will probably be some tweaking of /etc/X11/xorg.conf necessary. This may help - www.epialinux.org/files/epia_howto/ar01s06.html
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue 29 Nov 2005, 19:29    Post subject:  

tempestuous, thanks alot for your help again!

MPEG2 acceleration is not required in this instance, so sounds like if the driver has basic 2D graphics acceleration, it will be better already (compared to VESA).
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec 2005, 06:51    Post subject:  

MU wrote:
There also is a via-driver for the kdrive-Xserver

Hi Mark

I am finally getting back to investigating this.. seems like there are 2 approaches here to getting Via support as indicated by you & tempestous. Today I just tried the above approach, and found that using Xvia (with kdrive) on my SP13000 caused a bail out to busybox... maybe this is the same issue dvw86 saw? So I guess that Xvia does not support the later graphics chipset (CN400/UniChrome Pro). I'll probably give it a go on the ML8000A board (non-pro chipset) later. I gather the "xorg682c.pup" referred to by tempestous is different?

If the above doesn't pan out, if anyone is interested to provide some driver code, I'd be glad to test & provide feedback - hopefully we can fold some Via support into Puppy.

BTW I'd be glad to hear of any benchmarking tool for testing graphics performance that anyone happens to know about.

Regards

Michael.
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec 2005, 20:18    Post subject:  

A minor update & an observation.. I tried the xchips.pup & found there was no bail out to busybox. So at least I could try something different. I've been using a flash benchmarking content, and I can't see any animation performance difference between xvesa (puppy fdo) & vchips (kdrive), perhaps not surprisingly, on my SP13000.

BTW when viewing some flash animation with synchronised audio, I have noticed the lag beween animation & audio cue gets worse over time. That is, when I first run the content (immediately after loading it), the animation & audio cue synchronisation is reasonably ok (not much lag) but using the same content over time, the sync delay gets worse.. this isn't happening on Win98 - maybe this is a flash player issue on linux - or an audio driver issue? Any clues? Anyway I'll try the other suggestion from tempestous.

Last edited by mskuma on Fri 09 Dec 2005, 17:18; edited 1 time in total
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mskuma

Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec 2005, 21:56    Post subject:  

I tried xorg682c.pup with the via driver setting & found the same issue - bail out at busybox. I tried it on my other board (ML8000A) & found xorg682c.pup with the via driver setting works, so obviously the via driver is not compatible with the Unichrome Pro driver. Incidentally for the SP13000, I tried other drivers that I thought might be candidates (S3, S3virge, savage) but no go on these either. I've also noticed that Xorg does not always exit (reported previously) properly.

Anyway using xorg with via driver, I still see the sync lag issue, so I am not sure if it's a video driver issue anymore.. I'm kinda puzzled why simply changing to Win98 makes this all go away.. except for the obvious - MM optimised for Windows and not for the Linux plugin or maybe Windows deals with plugins better (from resource POV) - dunno..

So could there be some audio driver issue?
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tempestuous

Joined: 10 Jun 2005
Posts: 5218
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri 09 Dec 2005, 09:12    Post subject:  

I'm keeping my eye on developments for Epia graphic support, too. It seems the Via driver in XOrg 6.8.2 is not fully accelerated - it needs some other support modules. I just read on the viaarena forums that opensource developments (which are now split into 2 forks) make their way back into the XOrg source, but hardware acceleration is only right in the XOrg 6.9.x betas.
You may need to wait for the next stable XOrg ... or compile XOrg 6.9.x ... or compile the bleeding edge version from http://openchrome.org/
The original opensource project, http://unichrome.sourceforge.net/ has become conservative.

Having said all this ... there's no guarantee that an accelerated X server will solve your Flash problem.
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