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I have seen some mentions (including here on Android SE) that Ice Cream Sandwich may not necessarily run optimally (e.g. will be slow/lag) on devices with slower/older GPUs.

I assume that's due to GUI elements in the 4.0 being more graphics intensive, same way Windows XP had more graphics intensive GUI as well as Vista/Windows 7 had Aero.

However, on Windows, you always had an option to explicitly downgrade the OS's graphics effects, to improve performance (especially on older hardware) - e.g. you could turn off various GUI element transitions - see screenshot below. As far as I know, you can also turn off Aero on Windows Vista/7 (though I don't use them so not certain).

QUESTION: Is it possible to similarly tune Ice Cream Sandwich to downgrade GUI graphics frills to improve performance on older GPUs?

I'm only interested in regular OS/app performance, NOT game graphics performance.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm not sure if it's part of a truly vanilla ICS build (though I think it may be), but the early CM9 and vanilla ICS builds I've played with all have a "Developer Options" entry in the main system settings. This contains several options which relate to overall graphics effects such as:

  • Window animation scale: can be set to "off" to disable window animations
  • Transition animation scale: can also be set to "off"
  • Force GPU rendering: apparently tries to force GPU rendering of 2D textures/effects. May improve performance according to some (this generally caused my EVO to overheat, though)

It also has an option named "Background process limit". Setting a lower number should help improve performance overall, in theory.

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