Is there a way to speed up the Dash? When I press the super key for the first time it can take ~2 seconds for the dash to appear. Whereas if I use Synapse, it will appear instantly.
I. Install Unsettings. Type in terminal
Open Unsettings. You can try 2 changes.
II. Install the Compiz Config Settings Manager. Type in terminal
Open the compiz manager. Go to OpenGL and select Texture Filter > Fast
Remember to log out!
Deactivating the "blur" effect might help.
To do so install "MyUnity" in the Ubuntu Software Center. Then you can disable the blur effect by setting the "Blur" option on the "dash"-tab to "Off".
There may not be anything to do for that.
If the Dash hasn't been used for a while, it is possible its code has been evicted from memory to make room for something else used recently. If that is the case it has to grab that back from disk before it is able to act.
Again, there may not be a workaround that would solve it without adding some other slowdown because of memory usage manipulation.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Unity Dash in Ubuntu 12.04 (Unity 5) isn't as stable as one would expect from an LTS release,but a lot improved than previous Unity versions. The successive Unity versions from Ubuntu 12.10 to 13.10, brought a lot of stability and speed improvements, some(only the safe ones) of which were backported as Unity v5.20 on Ubuntu 12.04.3 point release. But,still it lacks the swiftness and fluidity of later Unity versions. Here are some methods to improve Dash performance:
Some of the steps suggested here require Compiz Config. They may also be done using MyUnity,Unsettings,Ubuntu Tweak or editing the schema/settings directly through dconf-editor or gsettings. But,I recommend installing Compiz Config as it can change all the Compiz and Unity settings.
Step 1: Deactivate Dynamic Blur: This would reduce lag and stutter experienced when using Dash. Open Compiz Config -> Ubuntu Unity Plugin -> Experimental Tab -> Dash Blur and change it to Static Blur or No Blur.
Step 2: Remove unwanted Lens and Scopes: The Dash in Ubuntu 13.10 provides an option to disable/enable Scopes. Unfortunately, this feature isn't available in 12.04's Dash. They can still be disabled by editing each individual lens' setting under dconf-editor->desktop->unity->lenses. But,I prefer to remove the unwanted Lens and Scopes altogether.
Step 3: Reduce Dash Startup Delay: You might have noticed that Dash takes a long time to load when used for the first time after booting. This startup delay can be reduced by using preload or similar daemons.
Step 4: Reduce Graphics Settings: If all the above steps didn't bring much change,or if you are still hungry for more performance, reduce the Graphics Settings for Compiz. I got this idea from Ed Villegas' Answer for Ubuntu 12.10. Remember that this change would affect the whole Ubuntu System graphics and not Unity alone. Open Compiz Config->OpenGL->Texture Filter and set it to Fast.
After doing all the above restart the system before checking the results, or else Unity may behave abnormally.
Note that Unity 5 used by Ubuntu 12.04 doesn't have a Low Graphics Mode like that of Unity 6 and successive versions used by Ubuntu 12.10 and above. Instead, 12.04 provides a similar looking but very different Unity2D desktop,which doesn't run on Compiz and uses a different Window Manager. You may use it if your graphics hardware is very weak. But,I wouldn't recommend using it under normal cases.
The dash is slow due to the extra high end graphics which your graphics card supports with much difficulty. Add the following line to the
The above line will enable low graphics mode which can be easily supported by your GPU. Dont worry you will not loose any image quality in case you are fearing so :)
And save it and logoff and login again. And now check. Your Dash home would work fast and smooth.