A fast, lightweight and minimalistic Wayland terminal emulator
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3.9 KiB



All benchmarks are done using vtebench:

vtebench -h $(tput lines) -w $(tput cols) -b 104857600 alt-screen-random-write > ~/alt-random
vtebench -c -h $(tput lines) -w $(tput cols) -b 104857600 alt-screen-random-write > ~/alt-random-colors
vtebench -h $(tput lines) -w $(tput cols) -b 10485760 scrolling > ~/scrolling
vtebench -h $(tput lines) -w $(tput cols) -b 104857600 scrolling --fill-lines > ~/scrolling-filled-lines
vtebench -h $(tput lines) -w $(tput cols) -b 10485760 unicode-random-write > ~/unicode-random

They were "executed" using benchmark.py, which will load each file into memory, and then print it to the terminal. This is done 20 times for each test. Then it calculates the mean and standard deviation for each test.



CPU: i9-9900


Graphics: Radeon RX 5500XT

Terminal configuration

Geometry: 2040x1884

Font: Fantasque Sans Mono 10.00pt/23px

Scrollback: 10000 lines


Benchmark Foot (GCC+PGO) 1.5.0.r90 Foot 1.5.0.r90 Alacritty 0.5.0 URxvt 9.22 XTerm 360
alt-random 0.353s ±0.007 0.685s ±0.005 0.903s ±0.011 1.102s ±0.004 12.886s ±0.064
alt-random-colors 0.354s ±0.019 0.665s ±0.004 0.933s ±0.004 1.149s ±0.013 11.739s ±0.093
scrolling 1.387s ±0.077 1.257s ±0.032 1.048s ±0.011 1.001s ±0.023 38.187s ±0.192
scrolling-filled-lines 0.607s ±0.008 0.834s ±0.038 1.246s ±0.020 1.224s ±0.008 6.619s ±0.166
unicode-random 0.224s ±0.001 0.144s ±0.001 0.092s ±0.004 1 21.294s ±1.580 26.594s ±3.801



CPU: i5-8250U


Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620

Terminal configuration

Geometry: 945x1020

Font: Dina:pixelsize=12

Scrollback=10000 lines


Benchmark Foot (GCC+PGO) 1.5.0.r27 Alacritty 0.5.0 URxvt 9.22 St 0.8.4 XTerm 360
alt-random 0.741s ±0.067 1.472s ±0.126 1.717s ±0.141 1.910s ±0.030 37.832s ±0.193
alt-random-colors 0.735s ±0.050 1.510s ±0.084 1.936s ±0.121 2.114s ±0.116 33.759s ±0.344
scrolling 1.687s ±0.044 1.440s ±0.128 1.485s ±0.032 3.485s ±0.142 134.590s ±0.602
scrolling-filled-lines 1.331s ±0.041 2.072s ±0.073 2.031s ±0.087 2.658s ±0.084 20.508s ±0.063
unicode-random 0.303s ±0.010 0.155s ±0.006 1 130.967s ±28.161 crashed 170.444s ±7.798

Alacritty and "unicode-random"

Alacritty is actually really slow at rendering this (whether it is fallback fonts in general, emojis, or something else, I don't know).

I believe the reason it finishes the benchmark so quickly is because it reads from the PTY in a separate thread, into a larger receive buffer which is then consumed by the main thread. This allows the client program to write its output much faster since it is no longer stalling on a blocked PTY.

This means Alacritty only needs to render a couple of frames since it can reach the final VT state almost immediately.

On the other hand, cat:ing the unicode-random test file in an endless loop, or just manually scrolling up after the benchmark is done is slow, which besides being felt (input lag), can be seen by setting debug.render_timer = true in alacritty.yml.