Comparing Operating Systems under PsychoPy

This is an attempt to quantify the ability of PsychoPy draw without dropping frames on a variety of hardware/software. The following tests were conducted using the script at the bottom of the page. Note, of course that the hardware fully differs between the Mac and Linux/Windows systems below, but that both are standard off-the-shelf machines.

All of the below tests were conducted with ‘normal’ systems rather than anything that had been specifically optimised:
  • the machines were connected to network

  • did not have anti-virus turned off (except Ubuntu had no anti-virus)

  • they even all had dropbox clients running

  • Linux was the standard (not ‘realtime’ kernel)

No applications were actively being used by the operator while tests were run.

In order to test drawing under a variety of processing loads the test stimulus was one of:
  • a single drifting Gabor

  • 500 random dots continuously updating

  • 750 random dots continuously updating

  • 1000 random dots continuously updating

Common settings:
  • Monitor was a CRT 1024x768 100Hz

  • all tests were run in full screen mode with mouse hidden

System Differences:
  • the iMac was lower spec than the Windows/Linux box and running across two monitors (necessary in order to connect to the CRT)

  • the Windows/Linux box ran off a single monitor

Each run below gives the number of dropped frames out of a run of 10,000 (2.7 mins at 100Hz).

_

Windows XP

Windows 7

Mac OS X 10.6

Ubuntu 11.10

_

(SP3)

Enterprise

Snow Leopard

Gabor

0

5

0

0

500-dot RDK

0

5

54

3

750-dot RDK

21

7

aborted

1174

1000-dot RDK

776

aborted

aborted

aborted

GPU

Radeon 5400

Radeon 5400

Radeon 2400

Radeon 5400

GPU driver

Catalyst 11.11

Catalyst 11.11

Catalyst 11.11

CPU

Core Duo 3GHz

Core Duo 3GHz

Core Duo 2.4GHz

Core Duo 3GHz

RAM

4GB

4GB

2GB

4GB

I’ll gradually try to update these tests to include:
  • longer runs (one per night!)

  • a faster Mac

  • a real-time Linux kernel


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