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Ubuntu is becoming slow for no apparent reason. I'd like some help with analysing and fixing this issue.

Usually when a system slows down, that's because the software is using too much system resources, but my CPU and RAM usage usually doesn't even reach 40%. Still, the system starts slowing down and applications stop responding more frequently. I've also experienced complete system freezes, a few times.
Another reason can often be that the hardware is simply getting old, but that can't possibly be the case, as this computer is not even half a year old yet.

Ubuntu 12.04 AMD64, fresh installation. I am using the nvidia-current drivers.

System specifications

  • Processor: AMD FX-6100 6-core 3.3 GHz
  • Memory: Corsair 8 GB DDR3-1600 Kit 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage: Seagate ST2000DM001 2TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Motherboard: ASUS M5A88-V EVO
  • Graphic card: MSI N430GT-MD1GD3 (NVIDIA GT430, 1GB video memory)


robin@RobinJ:~$ sensors
Adapter: ACPI interface
Vcore Voltage:      +0.94 V  (min =  +0.85 V, max =  +1.60 V)
 +3.3 Voltage:      +3.28 V  (min =  +2.97 V, max =  +3.63 V)
 +5 Voltage:        +5.10 V  (min =  +4.50 V, max =  +5.50 V)
 +12 Voltage:      +11.88 V  (min = +10.20 V, max = +13.80 V)
CPU FAN Speed:      468 RPM  (min =  600 RPM)
CHASSIS FAN Speed:  865 RPM  (min =  600 RPM)
POWER FAN Speed:   1041 RPM  (min =  600 RPM)
CPU Temperature:    +34.0°C  (high = +60.0°C, crit = +95.0°C)
MB Temperature:     +30.0°C  (high = +45.0°C, crit = +75.0°C)

Adapter: PCI adapter
temp1:        +19.2°C  (high = +70.0°C)
                       (crit = +70.0°C, hyst = +67.0°C)

Adapter: PCI adapter
power1:       49.44 W  (crit =  95.01 W)

If you need more information, just ask for it.

Thanks for the help, people, but Ubuntu crashed on me yesterday, and I see little reason to try and repair it, as it's more trouble than it's worth in my opinion. Installing a new distro (probably not Ubuntu, I've had it with bugs and slowness for the time being) will fix this problem too, so I'm going to close this question. Thanks again for the help.

share|improve this question

closed as too localized by fossfreedom Aug 24 '12 at 8:47

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Possible duplicate:… – RobotHumans Aug 22 '12 at 14:25
The issue most certainly is not the lack of hardware resources. Programs becoming unresponsive sounds like a bug rather than hardware issue. If anything, I'd suspect drivers at first. Are there certain programs having issues, or does it happen with anything you try to run? How are your load averages? – zxcdw Aug 22 '12 at 14:26
If you reboot, does the system become momentarily faster only to slow down again later? When you feel that the system is slow, can you please type uptime to show the load averages (or use the load monitoring widgets). The behaviour that you describe I have observed in systems that either (i) run out of memory and have to swap heavily (but you have plenty of ram), or (ii) on systems with a heavy load put on the hard disk (like running many concurrent database queries). No, your hardware is not getting old, btw. – January Aug 22 '12 at 15:09
@aking1012 Every case is different, so not a duplicate. – RobinJ Aug 22 '12 at 15:17
@zxcdw Current load averages: 1.96 2.38 2.30; But that's with a 1080p movie, VirtualBox, FileZilla and Google Chrome running. So this might not be the best time to look at the load averages :p It's not only certain applications being slow, it's the whole system. – RobinJ Aug 22 '12 at 15:17

OK, so I don't know what the particular problem here might be, but here is a very basic approach that I usually take in such a case. Forgive me if you think it is too simplistic.

I usually open a terminal window and type


This is a terminal (ncurses) based program with a not very intuitive interface; there are more elaborate graphic alternatives, but I prefer this, because in itself it takes next to no resources.

enter image description here

By default, the list is ordered by CPU usage. However, pressing SHIFT-M sorts the list by memory usage.

I keep this window opened, either on a second monitor or resized to take 1/5 of the screen and "always on top". I start working normally, and watch the window. After a while it becomes apparent what are the main problems.

For memory, google-chrome is often one of the culprits (I'm one of these who open pathologically many tabs). For disk usage, watch for anything with "io" in the name. Do that, and post the results. Preferably at times when you would expect the OS to run smoothly (ie not while watching a movie).

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First I would disconnect the PC-Power supply because it can damage the Computer and I would replace with another old PC-Power supply that is completely sure it works, not a new one. Otherwise I would try to test Volts at the PC-Power supply. Second I would perform a memory test, it seems that you have to leave it a whole night, I am not sure. Third I would disconnect everything from the motherboard, except the processor and the memory, if necessary I would replace by old hardware that is correctly working. I would neither use network nor DVD-ROM, and I would test if system is still freezing. I would probably try to test during half an hour the hard-disk

If there is not a hardware issue the I would use the gnome-system-monitor to test: Time of CPU & writable memory of the most time-loaded processes to see if this information matches what I am really running on the PC. I would probably try to disable as much as starting processes that I could. I would inspect drivers versions, I would try to reinstall them, I would disable any kind of tools that can be loaded for modem or printers. Probably I would try to re-install Ubuntu in a separate partition with a text-installation, or I would load in a safe mode to test, I would also load a tty console without X-Window to test, from the recovery boot.

Finally I would ask about how to define the run levels at sysv-rc-conf, which seems to be a good tool to configure services.

2 part

AMD proccessors are not as quicker as expected, they are much hottest than expected, except a very few of them, which follow the standard architecture as the classical Phenom II x4 or Athlon II x 4. Your processor is a very modern one which is really not enough tested, and which is supposed to need a later implementation by software. Your proccessor has got 6 cores but each two pair of cores share the floating point unit and all the 6 cores share the same L3 cache.

All this info is very confusing for everybody what you can do is to test from Windows OS with This is the best site to test hardware, specially you may compare with itself from other computers also than with Intel i5 2500k, for example. You must download a windows program to test your computer.

You can also test with inxi -v 1 if your NVIDIA Driver Version is the same that is shown at /usr/bin/nvidia-settings, that you should have installed. You should try to use the nvidia driver from nvidia web site, for example for a GeForce GTX 550 the driver is called

I normally build my computers from components, I do not buy a whole computer. You may ask your dealer to open the PC case and just see if the LM317 chipset (or similar voltage regulator at the power supply), seems a little bit burned. If so it should have its thermal silicone (between this chipset and its cooler) brown.

3 part

I should boot with the recovery mode, load to the Network, back again recover the broken packages, delete whatever has been installed and its not necessary,

How can I install Linux Kernel 3.0 in 11.04?

v3.0-oneiric mainline tree.

To try a newer kernel download the following .deb files from the [v3.0-oneiric mainline tree][2].

    headers_i386.deb or headers.amd64.deb depending if you are using 32bit or 64bit
    image_i386.deb or image_amd64.deb depending if you are using 32bit or 64bit

Install via

cd ~/Downloads
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
sudo update-grub

4 Part

srs@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt-get install boot-repair

I could not believe that you where in an irrecoverable trouble, as far as I am just beginning in this forum and I see you have got a lot of reputation.

I have tried to understand Linux several years ago, and I could not. I was using an old computer for it. I did not know that Ubuntu at my old computer use to crash because the memory was damaged.

One day I decided to build a new one with a Intel i5 2500k and medium-cost components and cards. I installed 5 distros, during the last 3 months Debian 6 has crashed once while running sensors-detect.

Good luck

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The back of my case is covered with "Warranty void if seal is broken" stickers, so that's not an option. – RobinJ Aug 23 '12 at 9:23
Huh, got a bigger problem now. I just installed updates, and now I can't get past my login screen >.< – RobinJ Aug 23 '12 at 13:49 Benchmark – RobinJ Aug 23 '12 at 14:01

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