Glxgears is not a Benchmark

Revision as of 14:14, 28 June 2012 by (Talk) (Check fglrx install status)

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glxgears is an OpenGL program that reports FPS (frames per second) numbers. However, it is a very limited 'test'. Unlike most modern 3D games, glxgears:

  • has an extremely low vertex/polygon count
  • does no texturing at all
  • only simple, flat shading is used (except inside the hole in each gear is simple smooth shading)
  • all vertex data is stored in a display list, so almost nothing passes between host CPU and video card once rendering is started. This mostly implies video card fill rate is limited. But, see next point.
  • the default window size is 300x300, a large part of which is not even rendered into, so it's not even a good fill rate test
  • the entire render step consists of only 21 OpenGL functions calls, of which only 6 are unique. This is not a very good OpenGL API stress test. Something like glean would be better.

So to summarize, glxgears only tests a small part of what you typically see in a 3D game. You could have glxgears FPS performance increase, but your 3D game performance decrease. Likewise, you could have glxgears performance decrease and your 3D game performance increase.

(Information taken from posts by Septor and dataangel - Thanks!).

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Real Benchmarks



  • Gtkperf - offered by any major distribution's repository.


KMS reduces glxgears reported FPS