[Chimera-users] Re: graphics performance

Eric Pettersen pett at cgl.ucsf.edu
Wed Jul 13 10:59:50 PDT 2005

Hi Grant,
     It's not exactly what you want, but there is a page that  
benchmarks Chimera on various graphics cards: http://www.cgl.ucsf.edu/ 
chimera/benchmarks.html .  The 'Surface' column of the table in  
particular is directly related to how fast Chimera will draw surfaces  
and ball-and-stick.  Later this summer we will have a more detailed  
benchmark page with precisely what you want:  performance based on  
system size -- but we don't have that yet.  If you have access to any  
of the graphics cards you are considering, you can run the benchmark  
yourself -- it's in the Utilities category.
     I have a few tips for squeezing performance out for larger systems:

1) Use flat ribbons to depict the bulk of the system.  Show atoms  
only for the parts you are examining in detail.

2) Show the surface only on the parts you are examining in detail.   
If you are using surfaces to get an idea of the overall shape of the  
molecule, try to use the low-resolution surfaces that Multiscale  
generates rather than the default high-detail molecular surfaces.

3) If you are using ball-and-stick because of visibility problems  
with wireframe rendering, try increasing the thickness of lines  
(which is under Actions->Atoms/Bonds).

                         Eric Pettersen
                         UCSF Computer Graphics Lab
                         pett at cgl.ucsf.edu

On Jul 13, 2005, at 4:52 AM, Grant Jacobs wrote:

> Forgive me for asking a silly question, but can people here  
> recommend what current GPUs are able to present large molecular  
> systems in Chimera with smooth rendering of a surface or ball&stick  
> rendering, without "jumping" on rotations, etc.  By large  
> complexes, I mean the likes of the various multi-protein complexes;  
> photosytem complexes, the ribosome and the like.
> I'm currently reviewing GPUs for a system upgrade, but its  
> fiendishly hard to translate the marketing information into  
> something practical! (I'm sure everyone is familiar with that  
> particular problem...) In particular, I would like to aim at a  
> system where I avoid having to "trim" large complexes to a workable  
> size (I'm aware there are RAM issues with this).
> Currently I'm looking at a Linux-based solution, but would consider  
> a G5 (Apple), if its capable.
> Anyone's comments on their own experience would be appreciated.
> It'd be lovely if there were a rotation speed vs. number of atoms  
> vs. graphics card plot!  Somehow I doubt there is... :-)
> Grant
> -- 
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