How fast is Xfce's composite manager?

Erik Harrison erikharrison at
Thu Mar 17 01:49:58 CET 2005

On Wed, 16 Mar 2005 21:47:38 +0100, Olivier Fourdan <fourdan at> wrote:
> Hi
> The compositing manager relies on XRender extension for rendering. On
> NVidia cards, that can be handled in hardware (but that is not enabled
> by default, so you need to make sure that you have the RenderAccel
> option set in your xorg.conf).
> If render is not handled in hardware, then it's regular routines that
> are used bu X. That is definitely slower, but on both of my systems (P4
> 2.6GHZ, and AMD64 3400+), it's perfectly usable even w/out render
> performed in hardware.
> I'm not surprised to read that it's not usable with Vesa driver, as the
> Vesa driver is not even 2D accelerated, the main CPU does all the job
> even for basic operations such as moving a window.
> The compositing implementation *might* be faster than xcompmgr somehow
> because the refresh is performed in an idle GTK callback, which means
> that the screen is refreshed only when the xfwm4 process "has time".

I and several others have noticed signifigantly less tearing and
artifacts with the Xfwm compositing manager than with xcompmgr. I'm
not sure why that is, but I think this is where the belief of better
performance comes from, not from actual benchmarkable improvements.

> However, the rendering is performed by the X process and the idle
> functions in xfwm4 won't make any difference for X.
> So, in a nutshell, unless you have a card capable of doing render in
> hardware, with driver that can make use of that capability, I think it's
> not worth the try on a P2 300MHz.
> Cheers,
> Olivier.
> On Wed, 2005-03-16 at 17:27 +0100, Alexander Toresson wrote:
> > I've heard Xfce's composite manager should be quite faster than
> > xorg's xcompmgr. However, it's not compiled into the packages I got
> > from
> >
> > I'm on a p2 300 with 64 mb ram, which hasn't got any 3d card.
> > Is it worth installing xfce4 with the graphical installer to test
> > it out, or will it just be too slow? Xcompmgr ran at less than
> > 1 fps.
> >
> > Regards, Alexander Toresson
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> >
> >
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