Intel graphics card testing needed (updated!)

Blender supports 4 different swap-buffers methods. The best future proof method is to use triple-buffer, which draws off-screen, and copies that buffer to the visible screen. This allows overlays (like menus) to draw fast, and some day we will even do cool compositing effects efficiently then. Unfortunately triple-buffer is not working everywhere, especially on Intel graphics cards it seems to be slow.

A standard ‘swap buffers’ on graphics hardware can work in two ways:
– Swap-copy: (copy back to front buffer, most graphics cards do this)
– Swap-flip: (exchange back and front buffer)

To my knowledge it is impossible to find out out which method a card uses. Currently, for Intel graphics we assume “Swap flip” is default. But bug reporters in the tracker make me think it’s the regular “Swap copy”.

You can test this (default startup) in Blender easily:
– Start Blender
– Press M (move to layer)

If your buffer swap method is wrong, the “Move To Layer” menu flashes away immediate. It’s still there, but invisible. Click a bit around to close it, and a 2nd M-key makes it appear. Move the default cube to another location, and M-key goes bad again.

Now change User Preferences -> System -> Draw Method to “Overlap”. And test again. Does M-key work OK now?

Also: try “Triple buffer”. Is this really slow or not working at all?

Some Intel graphics card owners also mentioned that opening a 2nd window (like user preferences) hangs. You can bypass it by opening the User Preferences with the left-most menu in every header in Blender.

Report your findings here please! Especially for Windows and Mac. I’m also very curious to find out if official information on this topic exists even. BTW: for Linux, the Intel gfx drivers already support both methods, and they default to “swap copy”.

UPDATE: Fix for crash when opening second window (User Preferences, for example) had been just commited to SVN  (rev. 36070). There could still be issues at multiple video card configuration, but this shouldn’t be a big problem, because most of Intel video cards are installed into notebooks and netbooks which have only one video card. If you don’t build Blender yourself,  we already got updated Win32 build here. We haven’t got Win64 nightly builder yet, so for this platform you should wait until there’ll be new builds at graphicall.

Thanks,

38 comments 9,504 Views
  1. Ati 5770 on W7 shows every one of those correctly. I’m assuming that 2.55 / 2.56 were ok for testing.

  2. This tweaked something at the back of my memory.. at least some Intel chips can be configured to either swap or flip. Sure, enough, I found this article on Intel’s site about the configuration options in some of their chips: http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/sb/cs-030506.htm

    So assuming there’s only one right answer here might well be invalid and could explain why some people see the problem and not others. Sadly, I don’t have an Intel-chipped laptop that I can test this on, but hopefully that’s a clue of some value.

  3. Exactly as you stated… I’ve got an intel HD and the move to layer was flickering away immediately. Overlap was fixing it for me!

  4. Intel Core 2 Duo with Mobile Intel 4 Series Express Chipset Family. Opened Blender 2.56, pressed M and the box disappeared. I was able to open the preference window the normal way. I changed the setting to Overlap and everything worked, fine. Tested all the other settings, even automatic again, and all of them seemed to work.

  5. Hi I’m did some testing on my laptop which have a Intel GMA 4500MHD. I used blender r35853. This is what I found out:

    The Overlay Flip was the only one that didn’t work (move to layer flashes), while the other modes (Triple buffer, Overlap and Full) function fine. When it comes to performance I didn’t notice any big differences, besides that Full method was slower (Which I guess is expected).

    Is there any good testing procedure to compare the performance of the different modes? Cause I found that kind of hard to do.

  6. Oh, forgot to mention that I’m running Windows 7 64-bit. And there where not problems with opening a second window. The only thing I noticed was that with triple buffer the window flashed black when open a new window while it didn’t with the other modes…

  7. The automatic method flickered, overlap and triple buffer worked. I did not notice slow down on triple buffered.

    Intel® HD Graphics (Core i5)

    Driver Version: 8.15.10.2104
    Operating System: Windows 7 (6.1.7600)
    Default Language: English (United States)
    DirectX* Version: 10.0
    Physical Memory: 7989 MB
    Minimum Graphics Memory: 32 MB
    Maximum Graphics Memory: 1696 MB
    Graphics Memory in Use: 100 MB
    Processor: Intel64 Family 6 Model 37 Stepping 5
    Processor Speed: 2394 MHz
    Vendor ID: 8086
    Device ID: 0046
    Device Revision: 02

  8. Using Intel HD graphics, Win7 64bit, with the default in 2.56 Beta (r34076), the M-key does just like you say. But when the draw method is “Overlap” the layers pop-up doesn’t appear ever in 3d view when the m-key is pressed. Switching to triple buffer fixes the issue, and Blender actually seems to react faster and smoother to input. Incidentally, switching back to “Automatic” crashed Blender (tried it a few times, too).

  9. running in a WVista home premium 32bits, with a “Intel(R) 82945G Express Chipset Family”, i got the M problem with the automatic setting, a really buggy display in overlap and a fine display with overlap flip. The triple buffer has a crappy performance at 24k verts+.

  10. Hi,
    This is my laptop
    Toshiba satellite R700
    Windows 7 64Bits
    Intel i5 M560
    Graphic card Intel HD graphics
    Testing on Blender 2.56
    Your are right. But I don’t note my laptop slow in triple buffer mode.
    Them changing to overlap again I crashed Blender whit any message in the DOS console. I am trying to swap to others draw metods whitout success.
    I can test in Linux too whit the same computer tomorrow.
    Feel free to ask me if I can help you.
    Sorry for my english 😉

  11. I’m using Intel HD Graphics (Clarkdale) on Windows 7 Ultimate x64, with the latest drivers (8.15.10.2321).

    The experiment works as you describe: on the “automatic” setting, the popup appears then disappears. Subsequent attempts work fine, until a new mesh is created or the existing one deleted. Changing to “overlap” or “triple buffer” fixes the problem. I don’t have a suitable scene to test performance of the latter though.

    I’m intrigued by Blender having such an apparently low-level problem; if the window needs repainting, why not just render everything into your backbuffer and call SwapBuffers when done? Why would simple user interface components depend on buffer swapping method?

    I’m not as familiar with OpenGL as I am with D3D. In the latter we have control over which swap method is used – is there no GL (or WGL etc.) extension for that?

  12. Confirmed with a “Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express Chipset Family”, driver version 8.15.10.1930 running Windows 7 Professional (x64) and Blender 2.57 RC0 (r35816) 64bit; the “automatic” setting causes the “Move to Layer” menu to flash and disappear. Both “overlap” and “triple buffer” works, though I don’t know if the latter causes performance hits.

    Opening User Preferences as a second window still causes it to hang, but can be accessed via the described workaround. This happens regardless of the draw method.

    I’ve also had drawing errors when using GLUT (same computer and OS), though I don’t know if the issues are related. D3D related projects seem to be doing better in that regard.

    Everything seems to work fine in Linux (Ubuntu 10.04, x64), though some modes (such as “Full”) causes performance drops.

  13. “Automatic” -> is as you described
    “Overlap” -> Doesnt work, after moving its there, but the second drawing dont works
    “Triple-Buffer” -> Works

    BUG?: After changing the method to “Triple-Buffer”, everytime i select another method, Blender crashes immediately… so no further testing possible…

    System: Win7 64bit Professional SP1, 4GB RAM, Intel Core2Duo T7250 2GHz, Mobile Intel 4 Series Express Chipset Familiy

  14. On my laptop with a Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express Chipset Family on Win 7 x64, default Automatic draw method makes the move layer popup disappear as described, setting to overlap fixes that problem.

    Also, attempting to access uses preferences from the menu, generating a second window, causes a crash with my Intel card for both automatic and overlap. Doing the same on my main machine with an NVIDIA card is fine.

  15. Windows Vista 32bit, T7250, Mobile Intel(R) 965 (GMA X3100)
    Results of using Redraw Timer([Ctrl]+[Alt]+[T])

    **Default scene:
    – Automatic(Default): “Move To Layer” works wrong.
    10 x Draw Region: 47.18 ms, average: 4.7184
    10 x Draw Window: 573.30 ms, average: 57.3301

    – Overlap: “Move To Layer” works fine.
    10 x Draw Region: 48.27 ms, average: 4.8269
    10 x Draw Window: 601.73 ms, average: 60.1729

    – Triple Buffer: “Move To Layer” works fine too.
    10 x Draw Region: 46.65 ms, average: 4.6650
    10 x Draw Window: 580.63 ms, average: 58.0626

    **My bit heavy scene:(A Rigged Character with Subsurf)
    – Automatic(Default)
    10xDraw Region: 951.72ms, average: 95.1716
    10xDraw Window: 1889.11ms, average: 188.9113

    – Overlap
    10xDraw Region: 951.72ms, average: 95.1716
    10xDraw Window: 1889.11ms, average: 188.9113

    – Triple Buffer
    10xDraw Region: 994.97ms, average: 99.4970
    10xDraw Window: 1987.26ms, average: 198.7261

    Thanks,

  16. Ooops, the heavy scene score was wrong.
    I tried with blender 2.57 RC1. Sorry for repost.

    **My bit heavy scene:(A Rigged Character with Subsurf)
    – Automatic(Default)
    10 x Draw Region: 964.02 ms, average: 96.4017
    10 x Draw Window: 1744.52 ms, average: 174.4517

    – Overlap
    10 x Draw Region: 968.02 ms, average: 96.8016
    10 x Draw Window: 1766.63 ms, average: 176.6631

    – Triple Buffer
    10 x Draw Region: 1060.99 ms, average: 106.0995
    10 x Draw Window: 1749.44 ms, average: 174.9437

  17. With Window Draw Method set to Automatic “Move To Layer” menu flashes awayimmediately

    as expected. With Window Draw Method set to “Overlap” menu displays properly and

    responds quicker than the other display methods.In addition, no matter the display

    method opening a 2nd window crashes Blender.

    MacBook 3.1
    Intel Core Duo 2.20GHz
    Windows 7 Ultimate 7 64bit SP1
    4GB Ram
    Intel GMA X3100 allocating 160 MB RAM Using the
    Mobile Intel 965 Express Driver Version 8.15.10.1930
    Screen Resolution 1200 x 800

    Blender 64 bit 2.56.1 r34920

  18. Andrew: just calling “SwapBuffers” gives different results, as you can also read here.
    Some setups swap the buffers, others copy from back to front.

    If you swap buffers, the repainting of the back buffer has to be done differently (it lags behind). To have a speedy UI, we only draw the areas in UI that changed.

  19. First of all I should note that I am using linux nvidia, not intel GPU:

    02:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation C77 [GeForce 8200] (rev a2)

    But I did play around with the tests, and I must say that I can perceive a noticable difference in 3D view speed while dragging the screen around etc, while in Overlap/Overlap flip mode vs. Auto or Triple buffer. It’s kind of hard to describe since they are close, but triple seems like its dropping frames or skipping as I madly scroll around, where as Overlap just feels “smoother”, almost zippy as 2.49!

    Sorry I don’t have win/OSX and an intel gfx card to test for ya, but I just thought that I would mention the the welcomed 3D speedup I got just by not using the default! 🙂

    Dan

  20. I’ve got an ATI Mobility Readon 4330 and all settings work fine, except the tripe-buffer which duplicates what’s currently inside the view port to the rest of the panels.

  21. Interesting update: Someone reported it’s the Windows7 theme that makes opening User Preferences crash:

    “What caused it to creak in the end was because I had switched to the Windows 7 Basic theme at some point in the past, disabling the Aero Theme, this must have turned off some crucial 3D component that Blender was depending on for opening a second window. Reverted back to an Aero theme and it is working again now.”

  22. Hopefully fix for crash on opening second window was commited (rev 36070). New Win32 binary could found at http://builder.blender.org/download/ but there’s no official Win64 build, so be patient and wait for version from http://www.graphicall.org/builds/

    Tanks or tests!

  23. The link to r36070 is no longer available.
    I have tried with actual r36091, with neagtive result (Blender still crashes). Posted this answer also on the bug tracker (at the item #26411)
    Thanks for the efforts to fix it!

    • I’ve just commited stuff which could make things better (rev36104). Also, we’ve got one small patch which makes things works for some more cases but before commiting it i’d prefer to discuss it a bit with other developers.
      You could still use builder.blender.org for win32 and graphicall.org for win64.

  24. Hi, I’m on 2nd gen i5 notebook with nvidia 540m GPU (but it seems the monitor connect to the intel HD and blender never know nvidia GPU exists.)

    I found every click on the UI just lag. one click doesn’t show me any changes until I move the mouse for the screen to refresh, which is very annoying.

    It also happen with N, T key, where the 3d view is resized to accommodate the left and right panel but the panel won’t appear until I manipulate the 3d view to refresh.

    Changing windows draw method to anything won’t fix the problem.

    I’m using 64bit win7sp1 with 2.57 stable.
    Haven’t encounter this before on my desktop with nvidia GPU.

  25. My laptop:
    Dell latitude E6410
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU M 560 @ 2.67GHz
    Windows XP 32-bit build 2600 [Service Pack 3]
    Intel GMA HD graphics, device ID 8086-0046
    Driver 6.14.10.5337 (2-27-2011)

    I tried using Blender 2.57 (and older versions) but blender crashes when I try to start it, I updated the graphics card driver (the one indicated upper is the latest I found) but stil crashes
    ==> any suggestion about the possible problem, or where to ask ?

    • Would be better if you’ll come to #blendercoders at irc.freenode.net (my nick is nazg-gul there) or mail me (g.ulairi AT gmail DOT com). I just afraid it could be long discussion could be long.

      @LEO: this message is valid for you too.

  26. OMFG!!! Thank you so so so much for releasing this. I’ve been having troubles with 2.5 since 2.54. 😀 I even updated my drivers, which gave me a blue screen when I restarted, but oh well, it’s finally working!!!
    On my end, it started with the User Preferences crashing blender, then 2.57 was the whole program. So, after about a week of trying to make it work I found this!!!
    Anyways, no problems found yet. I haven’t had time! It’ll probably be some kind of minor problem though. 🙂

  27. I got a Mobiel Intel 965 Express Chipset Family running Windows 7 and it works on anything except Automatic. When I have the setting set to Automatic it just does the invisable menu thing. BTW i am using Blender 2.57. Other than that blender 2.57 works much better than blender 2.49 which is what i just upgraded from

  28. Hello I have a hybrid notebook with an intel chip and a geforce310m mobile chip, i got some problems on the display, I able to switch between those chips at will, triple buffer works a lot better on intel and so good so far its not slower.

    On the Geforce 310m all draw systems work like wonders, but i got the following problem:

    If i hi the alt key the blender window goes black, WindowsOS remain just fine, if i make the blender window smaller all the rest of WindowsOS is not affected, but blenders window is black, if i hit the alt key again blender stops being black, all functionality restored, if i hit left of right mouse i get blender back as well.

    Now on the intel chip, if i hit the alt key i do not get a black screen instead i found that I cant rotate on the 3d view, the rotation is frozen, again if i hit the alt key a second time the screen gets unfrozen, also if I’m rotating with middle-mouse button and while I’m rotating I hit and keep the alt key pressed I’m able to snap to the
    closest view, i don’t know if this is a feature I tried finding documentation about it but found none, could you help me out? 🙁

    I also tested this on a quadro3700fx and i got the same result as on
    the intel chip, no black screen but the rotation freezes and i can snap to the closest view, ofc if i hit the alt key the rotation goes back to normal.

  29. Blender 2.57.1, Windows Vista
    Lenovo T400 with switchable graphics – Intel GMA4500MHD (active) and ATI (turned off)

    Pressing M – menu flashes and is gone. Pressing M again – menu appears. Moving cube, pressing M, flashes and gone again.

    After User Preferences -> System -> Draw Method is set to “Overlap”, M key works ok.

    Triple buffer works ok, but it is indeed slow.

  30. I tried Blender 2.58 stable on Windows 7 64bit, with Intel HD graphics.
    If I choose an Aero theme, it is snappy no matter what draw method I use. However, if I switch to a theme from “Basic and High Contrast Themes”, the delay appears. These are my findings.

  31. I am still having the crash issue on new window creation in 2.62 and the slowness of the editor in simply changing perspective is unbearable :'(

  32. I am Nasim Karim from Bangladesh.
    My pc Configuration is:
    Processor-Intel Dual core 2.7ghz
    Motheboard- Intel DG41RQ
    RAM- 1.5 GB DDR2 667bus
    My Pc problem is when i maximize any video song or play any games then my pc is being restarted. I think my Agp card built in is not working properly. How can i solve this problem?
    Nasim6021@gmail.com
    mail me with solution please

  33. Windows 7 (on 32bit PC)
    Intel 82945G Express Chipset

    User preferences window not working, it is not refreshing content. Maybe it’s a memory problem, 82945G has only 256K though other 3d Apps and OpenGL are working fine.

    M (move to layer) seems to work fine.

    Thank you,
    and congrats for your great 3D application, Blender is becoming a reference.

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