Experiment with lowering frame rate on low-end devices

RESOLVED FIXED in Firefox 66

Status

()

enhancement
P1
normal
RESOLVED FIXED
8 months ago
4 months ago

People

(Reporter: Gijs, Assigned: Gijs)

Tracking

(Depends on 1 bug)

Trunk
Firefox 66
Points:
---
Dependency tree / graph

Firefox Tracking Flags

(firefox65 wontfix, firefox66 fixed)

Details

(Whiteboard: [fxperf:p1])

Attachments

(3 attachments, 2 obsolete attachments)

Assignee

Description

8 months ago
We're investigating lowering frame rate on low-end devices as a way to improve (perceived) performance.

Just setting the layout.frame_rate pref to 30, and running the raptor tp6 page load tests on the 2018 perf reference device, I'm seeing 10% improvements across the board on load times compared with the default (-1) setting.

Trying to write a proof-of-concept patch, I've run into 2 issues:

1) trying to avoid front-loading the cost of invoking sysinfo ( x-ref bug 1363586 ), and making it easy to test this configuration, I thought it'd make sense to have the gfx sanity test set a pref, which I'd key off to halve the result of https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/rev/fc3d974254660b34638b2af9d5431618b191b233/gfx/thebes/gfxPlatform.cpp#3060 . Unfortunately, it seems that if I add this as a `Once` pref (which is how the frame_rate pref is configured) in gfxPrefs, the result is that we read the default value of the pref, rather than the user-set value, thus meaning the pref isn't honoured. I'm not sure what the best way to address this would be, and I'd appreciate pointers to the right point in gfx startup to add a conditional for this.

2) doing this will cause web-observable side-effects in animations, games, and maybe other things (video? apz/scrolling?). I noticed, as a somewhat bizarre example, that when trying to verify the frame rate was successfully adjusted and using https://www.testufo.com/ (search engine hit for 'frame rate test') that the page thinks the frame rate is so low that "something is wrong" ("Low Framerate. Try closing all apps and browser tabs."). So I'm wondering if that's something we're comfortable with, or if we'll need to do this in a more complicated way, where use of video or requestAnimationFrame or whatever "ups" the framerate for that tab (while it's active/selected).

Bas, are these points something you can help with?
Flags: needinfo?(bas)
Assignee

Updated

8 months ago
Priority: -- → P1
Assignee

Comment 1

8 months ago
In case it's helpful, this is what I was trying, and what (AFAICT) doesn't seem to work.

Comment 2

8 months ago
The fingerprinting team would request that if RFP is enabled, you pretend you are not a low end machine, thanks!
Assignee

Comment 3

8 months ago
:rjesup, any chance you have ideas about this (see comment #0).
Flags: needinfo?(rjesup)
Assignee

Comment 4

8 months ago
Hm, seems based on bug 930793 and bug 1260070, maybe Olli has ideas about this - we could maybe also consider only temporarily lower frame rate while a toplevel doc is loading, or something like that? Olli, what's the current state of the "favor performance" code and/or does the idea in comment #0 sound crazy/sensible to you?
Flags: needinfo?(rjesup) → needinfo?(bugs)
We have other bugs open about trying to lowering frame rate.
Like https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1485100

Current "favor performance" is still just as crazy and broken as it has always been. Getting rid of it would be good.

But this bug sounds very much like something I've been thinking. Lower framerate at least in child process until the end of page load or max X seconds.
Flags: needinfo?(bugs)
(In reply to :Gijs (he/him) from comment #0)
> We're investigating lowering frame rate on low-end devices as a way to
> improve (perceived) performance.
> 
> Just setting the layout.frame_rate pref to 30, and running the raptor tp6
> page load tests on the 2018 perf reference device, I'm seeing 10%
> improvements across the board on load times compared with the default (-1)
> setting.
> 
> Trying to write a proof-of-concept patch, I've run into 2 issues:
> 
> 1) trying to avoid front-loading the cost of invoking sysinfo ( x-ref bug
> 1363586 ), and making it easy to test this configuration, I thought it'd
> make sense to have the gfx sanity test set a pref, which I'd key off to
> halve the result of
> https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/rev/
> fc3d974254660b34638b2af9d5431618b191b233/gfx/thebes/gfxPlatform.cpp#3060 .
> Unfortunately, it seems that if I add this as a `Once` pref (which is how
> the frame_rate pref is configured) in gfxPrefs, the result is that we read
> the default value of the pref, rather than the user-set value, thus meaning
> the pref isn't honoured. I'm not sure what the best way to address this
> would be, and I'd appreciate pointers to the right point in gfx startup to
> add a conditional for this.
> 
> 2) doing this will cause web-observable side-effects in animations, games,
> and maybe other things (video? apz/scrolling?). I noticed, as a somewhat
> bizarre example, that when trying to verify the frame rate was successfully
> adjusted and using https://www.testufo.com/ (search engine hit for 'frame
> rate test') that the page thinks the frame rate is so low that "something is
> wrong" ("Low Framerate. Try closing all apps and browser tabs."). So I'm
> wondering if that's something we're comfortable with, or if we'll need to do
> this in a more complicated way, where use of video or requestAnimationFrame
> or whatever "ups" the framerate for that tab (while it's active/selected).
> 
> Bas, are these points something you can help with?

This part of our browser isn't exactly my specialty, Olli would probably know more about this. As far as the graphics portion, one thing you could try is not actually lowering the whole framerate, but just selectively skipping painting. That would cause less of an effect on web content and would probably still give a lot of the benefit, although if we'd be firing rAF at full speed we'd technically sorta be lying to the page. So I'm not sure that would fly spec-wise.

But yes, favor performance seems wrong to me. I also concur that lowering frame rate during page load is interesting. There's tradeoffs here though, a fast first paint may be important here for perceived performance, however I highly doubt with our page load times 1 frame is going to make a big difference, and most certainly the Throbber doesn't need to be painted at full framerate.
Flags: needinfo?(bas)
Posted patch slower_rate.diff (obsolete) — Splinter Review
Something along this might not be totally crazy. Basically fall back to idle queue (which gets processed asap if there isn't anything else to process) or at most 2x of normal rate during page load


remote: View your change here:
remote:   https://hg.mozilla.org/try/rev/feb3e6a56dacf78c04044e38e136a563ad856c99
remote: 
remote: Follow the progress of your build on Treeherder:
remote:   https://treeherder.mozilla.org/#/jobs?repo=try&revision=feb3e6a56dacf78c04044e38e136a563ad856c99
remote: 
remote: It looks like this try push has talos jobs. Compare performance against a baseline revision:
remote:   https://treeherder.mozilla.org/perf.html#/comparechooser?newProject=try&newRevision=feb3e6a56dacf78c04044e38e136a563ad856c99
obviously that didn't do anything good. But I think it does reveal that processing .css files earlier is rather critical since that ends up triggering loads of other resources.
(In reply to Olli Pettay [:smaug] (high review load) from comment #8)
> obviously that didn't do anything good. But I think it does reveal that
> processing .css files earlier is rather critical since that ends up
> triggering loads of other resources.

Absolutely.  They're a critical early node in the dependency tree.

60fps is probably mostly ok until we start to process incoming data (note: this will be before the first paint of content) - for example while waiting for DNS and initial html/css load, though even there on low-end machines you might contend over CPU pretty early.

Lower framerate (or more to the point, deprioritizing some frame painting when we have other things to do to saturate available cores) may well help during the "busy" part of page load. This is worth looking at, and perhaps doing some studies on.  1 frame difference will not be a problem; note however that users will start to scroll during "load", so the question also becomes "when do you end the slowdown"?  (end on first scroll or pageload done?)  Again, often later in load there are CPU idle times waiting for late resources; if we de-prioritize every other frame we might be able to hit 60fps at those times (and on higher-spec machines with lots of cores).
Posted patch style_only_flushes.diff (obsolete) — Splinter Review
Now trying a setup where style flushes still happen, but not reflows.
The idea is that whatever resources css files rely on, get loaded asap, but slow reflows or painting doesn't happen too often.

In theory something like this should improve performance, but let's see what
tryserver thinks.
remote: View your changes here:
remote:   https://hg.mozilla.org/try/rev/8f96017f49a4aab4b8111996be31b5ff85a740cf
remote:   https://hg.mozilla.org/try/rev/8ba69f23dcab24a222fbc4d0bb9bdd018e98d919
remote: 
remote: Follow the progress of your build on Treeherder:
remote:   https://treeherder.mozilla.org/#/jobs?repo=try&revision=8ba69f23dcab24a222fbc4d0bb9bdd018e98d919
remote: 
remote: It looks like this try push has talos jobs. Compare performance against a baseline revision:
remote:   https://treeherder.mozilla.org/perf.html#/comparechooser?newProject=try&newRevision=8ba69f23dcab24a222fbc4d0bb9bdd018e98d919
remote: recorded changegroup in replication log in 0.063s


Perhaps I should use some other bug for this stuff...

Updated

7 months ago
Attachment #9022395 - Attachment is obsolete: true

Updated

7 months ago
Attachment #9022669 - Attachment is obsolete: true
I'll move my work to another bug. Let's keep this as low-end devices specific.
Assignee

Comment 12

7 months ago
Comment on attachment 9021261 [details] [diff] [review]
PoC patch attempt

Based on talking to Olli, mconley and others, and checking behavior of other browsers, it seems that for instance Edge already lowers frame rate when you turn on battery saver mode in windows 10. As a result, per some more discussion with mconley, I think I'd like to press ahead and write some experimental code that we can #ifdef for EARLY_BETA_OR_EARLIER so we can get some telemetry as to whether lowering framerates for (very) low-end machines makes sense. I'll make sure to include a possibility for users to override, and we can iterate on the specifics, but at a glance it seems worth at least pursuing to see if this improves stuff for folks.

The problem I was having when I filed this is still there though, it "doesn't work". It looks to me like when the pref is initially fetched through gfxPrefs, it always has the default value, and as a result we never enter the 'low end' mode. Looking for blame through gfxPrefs to find someone to help - kats, any chance you can have a quick look at this patch and let me know where I'm going wrong?
Attachment #9021261 - Flags: feedback?(kats)
Comment on attachment 9021261 [details] [diff] [review]
PoC patch attempt

Review of attachment 9021261 [details] [diff] [review]:
-----------------------------------------------------------------

I think changing the pref to Live should solve the problem you were having

::: gfx/thebes/gfxPlatform.cpp
@@ +3057,5 @@
>  /* static */ int
>  gfxPlatform::GetDefaultFrameRate()
>  {
> +  printf("I think I am %s on a low-end machine\n", gfxPrefs::IsLowEndMachine() ? "" :"not");
> +  return gfxPrefs::IsLowEndMachine() ? 30 : 60;

Not sure this is the right place to do this, I think this is only used if we can't figure out hardware vsync rate or something.

::: gfx/thebes/gfxPrefs.h
@@ +739,5 @@
>    DECL_GFX_PREF(Live, "mousewheel.transaction.timeout",        MouseWheelTransactionTimeoutMs, int32_t, (int32_t)1500);
>  
>    DECL_GFX_PREF(Live, "nglayout.debug.widget_update_flashing", WidgetUpdateFlashing, bool, false);
>  
> +  DECL_GFX_PREF(Once, "performance.low_end_machine",           IsLowEndMachine, bool, false);

This needs to be "Live" instead of "Once". Once prefs are cached and don't reflect changes, but Live prefs do.
Attachment #9021261 - Flags: feedback?(kats)
Assignee

Comment 14

7 months ago
(In reply to Kartikaya Gupta (email:kats@mozilla.com) from comment #13)
> Comment on attachment 9021261 [details] [diff] [review]
> PoC patch attempt
> 
> Review of attachment 9021261 [details] [diff] [review]:
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> I think changing the pref to Live should solve the problem you were having


So, I'm confused by this because the frame_rate pref is read correctly, on startup, if I modify it and restart, and it is applied, and it is also marked Once ( https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/rev/a3894a4dcfb5d42f2e6eee6cb9faf7141879ef1a/gfx/thebes/gfxPrefs.h#702 ).

I guess the answer might be

> ::: gfx/thebes/gfxPlatform.cpp
> @@ +3057,5 @@
> >  /* static */ int
> >  gfxPlatform::GetDefaultFrameRate()
> >  {
> > +  printf("I think I am %s on a low-end machine\n", gfxPrefs::IsLowEndMachine() ? "" :"not");
> > +  return gfxPrefs::IsLowEndMachine() ? 30 : 60;
> 
> Not sure this is the right place to do this, I think this is only used if we
> can't figure out hardware vsync rate or something.

Hm, so it seems we force software vsync if the pref is set to a custom value, so that might explain why the pref is not taken into account, or something - that or its first read happens later than this pref now is. I guess this means that my initial experiment (which just changed the pref) might also be flawed in that the difference in behavior may in theory be a result of software vsync itself (though that seems somewhat implausible?). I'll verify some of this next week.
Some code reading the frame_rate pref doesn't use gfxPrefs and so will not be subject to the "Once" behaviour. Maybe that's a factor as well. https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/rev/a3894a4dcfb5d42f2e6eee6cb9faf7141879ef1a/layout/base/nsRefreshDriver.cpp#1060

Updated

7 months ago
Depends on: 1506949
Assignee

Comment 17

7 months ago
Depends on D13260
Assignee

Comment 18

7 months ago
I have something working locally. However, it needs a restart for any changes to apply, which is problematic because:

1) we don't give users the best experience out of the box
2) it won't show up on raptor (which doesn't do an initial start/stop/restart cycle to set up the new profile)
3) it won't immediately react to changes e.g. to the resistFingerprinting pref.

To fix this, I'm trying to make our gfx platform use the new frame rate immediately, but I'm a bit out of my depth. My initial attempt stops updating the UI as soon as I change any of the observed prefs, so I'm definitely doing something wrong - just not sure where to look. I asked Nical to have a look, even though the patch is not yet finished.
Attachment #9028324 - Attachment description: Bug 1503339 - update frame rate at runtime, r?nical → Bug 1503339 - update frame rate at runtime, r?kats

Comment 19

6 months ago
Pushed by gijskruitbosch@gmail.com:
https://hg.mozilla.org/integration/autoland/rev/195290355ea5
try using a lower frame rate for low-end devices r=kats,mconley
https://hg.mozilla.org/integration/autoland/rev/d4d1f7ec6966
update frame rate at runtime, r=kats

Comment 20

6 months ago
bugherder
https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central/rev/195290355ea5
https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central/rev/d4d1f7ec6966
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Closed: 6 months ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Target Milestone: --- → Firefox 66
Assignee

Updated

6 months ago
Depends on: 1515103
Assignee

Comment 21

6 months ago
(In reply to Markus Stange [:mstange] (away until Jan 8) from bug 1485100 comment #4)
> My main concern here is scrolling responsiveness: If we only composite at
> 30fps, scrolling will be sluggish. It would be much better if we could
> somehow dial down our main thread refresh tick frame rate, and maybe our
> OMTA animation sampling frame rate, without locking the compositing frame
> rate and affecting scrolling.

Wondering if this is also a concern with the attached patch, and if it'd be helpful to file a follow-up bug for this, ideally with a rough idea of how to implement such a more specific change?
Flags: needinfo?(mstange)
Assignee

Updated

5 months ago
Depends on: 1519127
Depends on: 1519241

(In reply to :Gijs (he/him) from comment #21)

(In reply to Markus Stange [:mstange] (away until Jan 8) from bug 1485100
comment #4)

My main concern here is scrolling responsiveness: If we only composite at
30fps, scrolling will be sluggish. It would be much better if we could
somehow dial down our main thread refresh tick frame rate, and maybe our
OMTA animation sampling frame rate, without locking the compositing frame
rate and affecting scrolling.

Wondering if this is also a concern with the attached patch,

I think it is: The patch is forcing software vsync with a refresh rate of 30, and vsync is what drives both the layout refresh driver and the compositor. If the compositor only composites at 30fps, this affects scrolling. I've filed bug 1519241 about this.

Flags: needinfo?(mstange)
Depends on: 1523838
Assignee

Updated

5 months ago
Depends on: 1524299

If I change RefreshDriver scheduling, I'm starting to see
Assertion failure: SingletonExists(), at z:/build/build/src/gfx/thebes/gfxPrefs.h:765
https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/rev/69d3c6c61dca9a41f14797cd9924733289238d1a/gfx/thebes/gfxPrefs.h#765 on Mn and MnH tests

Assignee

Comment 24

4 months ago

(In reply to Olli Pettay [:smaug] (massive needinfo queue, ping on IRC on anything urgent) from comment #23)

If I change RefreshDriver scheduling, I'm starting to see
Assertion failure: SingletonExists(), at z:/build/build/src/gfx/thebes/gfxPrefs.h:765
https://searchfox.org/mozilla-central/rev/69d3c6c61dca9a41f14797cd9924733289238d1a/gfx/thebes/gfxPrefs.h#765 on Mn and MnH tests

Can you link to an occurrence?

Flags: needinfo?(bugs)
Assignee

Updated

4 months ago
Depends on: 1527368

Sorry, lost the tryserver link for the assertion failure.

Flags: needinfo?(bugs)
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