This post was inspired by Dan Luu: Computer Latency. I felt that my work setup (see below) is sluggish, even though I got used to it. I wanted to quantify how sluggish it really is. Also, VSCode was advertised to offer a lower latency experience (compared to ssh+vim), as it runs and renders on the local machine: I didn’t feel it - I wanted to verify my observation, knowing that I use vim for too long to acknowledge its shortcomings.
|remote Visual Studio||210|
These are the test results of the latency between a keypress and the display of a character (see below for details).
Results are rounded to the nearest
5 ms to avoid the impression of false precision.
The measurement confirms that typing on this particular remote setup is twice as bad as locally, and that the additional latency of vscode (compared to vim) is greater than the latency of ssh.
A local computer was filmed with a 240 FPS camera. Latency is defined as the time (number of frames) elapsed between a keyboard key starts moving, and the matching character appears on screen. The declared latency is a rounded average of several key presses, without much deviation. No particular care was taken to achieve the lowest latency possible (e.g: CPU pinning, interrupt pinning, reducing workload) – as that’s not how I normally work – but the computers used were under no particular load in general.
The local computer runs on a AMD FX 8320, with a standard HP KU-0316 keyboard attached via USB, and a 4K 60Hz AOC monitor attached via DisplayPort. The operating system is Linux 5.14.7, running the latest software from the ArchLinux distribution, including the i3 window manager.
The remote computer is a dedicated machine, hosted in a datacenter, ~1500 kilometers away from the local computer, with a modern Intel CPU and plenty of RAM. It is accessed with xfreerdp, and runs Windows 10.
The remote server is a server class Intel machine of unspecified details, runs Linux 3, and somewhat older versions of software. Regarding physical location, it is close to the remote computer described above. It is shared between different users, but during the test, no particular load was observed.
kitty is a powerful terminal emulator, version 0.23.1 was used. Runs on the local computer.
gvim is the GTK GUI version of the venerated editor, version 8.2. Runs on the local computer.
vscode is a recent Microsoft product, version 1.60.2. Runs on the local computer.
remote vscode runs on the remote computer, version 1.53.2.
remote Visual Studio runs on the remote computer, version 16.9.2.
remote2 vim is version 8.2. It runs in a tmux instance on the remote server, accessed via PuTTY, that runs on the remote computer (that is accessed via xfreerdp, from the local computer), totalling to 2 logical hops in one direction. Contorted? Yes. Unrealistic? Well, that’s how I have to work…