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I have been using Ubuntu since Hardy Heron (8.04). I used Natty, Oneiric with Unity. But When I recently (more than 1 month now) upgraded My Ubuntu to Precise (12.04), the performance of my laptop is not satisfactory. It is too unresponsive compared to older releases.

For example, the Unity in 12.04 is very unresponsive. Sometimes, it requires 2 seconds to show up the dash (which was not the case with Natty, though people always saying that Natty's version of Unity is buggiest). I am assuming that, May be my 1GB RAM now becomes too low to run Unity of Precise. But I also think, Since Unity is improved in Precise, It may not be the case. So, I am not sure.

Do you have any ideas? Will upgrading RAM fix it? How much I need if upgrade is required?

Laptop model: "Lenovo 3000 Y410"
Graphic : "Intel GMA X3100" on Intel 965GM Chipset.
RAM/Memory : "1 GB DDR2" (1 slot empty).
Swap space : 1.1GB
Resolution: 1280x800 widescreen
Shared RAM for Graphics: 256 MB as below output suggests

$ dmesg | grep AGP
[    0.825548] agpgart-intel 0000:00:00.0: AGP aperture is 256M @ 0xd0000000
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More RAM can never hurt, and it will improve performance, but just to give you an idea. I'm running 12.04 on a i386 CPU, w/ 512 RAM, running LXDE, and it runs (not the fastest of systems) but smooth. –  Mitch Jun 20 '12 at 13:28
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If you upgrade at all, an extra gig will help. I've got a two year old netbook that runs Unity 3d without problems and it has a 2GB stick in it. (if you upgrade, buy a stick of 1GB RAM that is compatible with your system) –  Thomas W. Jun 20 '12 at 14:16
    
I have an older computer with 1Gb RAM, and I found it a bit slow even on 10.04. I reinstalled using Lubuntu instead, and it it is now fast. In my opinion, you want at least 2Gb RAM for Unity. –  Paddy Landau Jun 26 '12 at 10:39
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9 Answers 9

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I'd say 1GB is low, considering that you have 256MB of that dedicated to the integrated Intel graphics!!

What I mean is that, with 12.04 Unity, if you will be doing a decent amount of multitasking, you will start to notice lags with 1GB. Eg Firefox open with 5+ tabs along with 3-4 other programs running in the background, etc. (This is based on my own extensive experience with a 1GB machine).

A stock i386 install of 12.04 desktop with Unity 3D uses about 550-600MB of RAM after boot for me, excluding caches and with near-zero swap usage.

So I believe that an additional 1GB of RAM will almost certainly solve your problem. However, since RAM prices are at historical lows (should also be in Bangladesh), if you can afford it I suggest you "max out" with a 2GB module and future-proof your computer :)

Temporarily, if you do not game, I recommend reducing the integrated graphics share to 128MB. This shouldnt affect the user interface/Unity in any way.

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+1 for the answer, I understand what you meant. What about graphics?. This will certainly stay at the same stage? Will this cause any effect that i have the same old graphics card. or it will also improve? –  Anwar Shah Jun 20 '12 at 13:42
    
Good point, what is your desktop resolution? And can you check how much RAM is dedicated to graphics in your BIOS? –  izx Jun 20 '12 at 13:48
    
Wow, 256 Is a lot to dedicate to graphics, leaving you with only 768 effective! See edited answer :) –  izx Jun 20 '12 at 13:55
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I was not quite sure, but in Windows, I see 256 MB for graphics. I have no clue how to reduce that share. Any recommendation will be useful, I have Phonix Bios –  Anwar Shah Jun 20 '12 at 13:58
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The minimum memory requirement for Ubuntu 12.04 is 384 MB of memory for Ubuntu Desktop. Some of your system memory may be unavailable due to being used by the graphics card. If your computer has only the minimum amount of memory, the installation process will take longer than normal; however, it will complete successfully, and the system will perform adequately once installed.

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1GB of ram is, yes, quite low for any computer these days. It would certainly help to upgrade your RAM if possible.

Another possible solution is swap space. If you have any space on your HDD you can specify it as swap space, which acts like RAM, with minor differences.

However, swap space is not as efficient as simply getting new ram. However, swap space is free if you have the space.

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+1, for your answer. But I think I have sufficient swap. It never exceeds 350 MB in usage, where I have 1.1 GB of swap. so I think, giving even another 2-3 GB swap will not help –  Anwar Shah Jun 21 '12 at 1:29
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No not at all. 1 Gb RAM is more than enough for normal user. If you good performance then try using the Lubuntu-session. It is a good alternative to gnome or default unity.

Links:

To install:

sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop

It is very good if you want to save on your system resources.

But if you want to use or unity then you can also use your gnome or unity and increase you RAM by setting up a SWAP area. That will actually increase your RAM virtually. For further information about SWAP area visit : https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq

If you find lxde very good then remove ubuntu and install lubuntu. It will save you space on hard disk. For installation instructions visit the lubuntu site. Lxde uses only 100 Mb for RAM at boot time.

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I assume, i have cleared that, I want to run Unity. and what should i do to get what i want? . Thanks for the answer –  Anwar Shah Jun 20 '12 at 13:44
    
You can use more of SWAP area but that will cost you your space in the HDD. But performance comes first than space for me. I personally use 1Gb RAM and my MAX usage is 600-700 Mb with 5-6 tabs of chromium, music player (audacious) and Java programming in vim. Chromimum takes the most ..... 300-400 Mb –  Pranit Bauva Jun 20 '12 at 13:49
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1 GB is low but, do you know about zram ? It's a nice application to use your swap space more effectively. I would try it. On my pc this app does a very good job.

Here is the link of Zram

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sry for my bad english :/ –  Malte D Jun 21 '12 at 7:56
    
I installed zram from that link, it was an Oneiric package. It was not helpful. does not installed correctly –  Anwar Shah Jun 23 '12 at 11:35
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I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 on my MSI Wind netbook and it runs nicely with just 1gb of RAM.

If you're planning on running lots of apps or have your own startup scripts, you should probably add another gigabyte to your setup.

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+1 to your answer Malte D, zram is really good idea for low RAM machines.

Here is a link to webupd8 site with English description, where you can find necessary information about installation.

I got almost the same results on a 6-year-old laptop with Pentium M and 1Gb of RAM!

And as for me ("Samsung NP305U1A-A04" with 2GB RAM), it works perfect!

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I suggest 1.5 Gb RAM minimum. Otherwise, add a lightweight desktop, LXDE or XFCE: "sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop" and/or "sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop" If promted, you can retain "lightdm" as the display manager. After rebooting, click on your user name and then select one of the lightweight desktops. Alternatively, install Linux Mint 13 MATE (derived from Ubuntu 12.04) if you use a lot of Gnome/gtk programs. I tried it on a Dell Optiplex GX400 (P4 17GHz) with 1 Gb RAM, and everythings works, no crashes or errors so far. Richard

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That`s excellent to get best performance from ubuntu if you use some programs like blender or you play games then it is not good enough

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