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I recently formatted my hard-disk and installed Xubuntu 12 on my desktop PC, which has the following specifications:

  • Intel P4 3GHz
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 80GB Hard-disk
  • 128MB Nvidia Video Card (FX5500)

In short, system performance is incredibly poor. For example, scrolling on web pages can become unbearably slow. It is usually ok immediately after booting -- the slowdown becomes worse as it continues to be used.

I initially thought it was to do with my video drivers, but changing from the Nouveau drivers to the proprietary ones did not seem to make any difference.

Ideally I would like to learn about methods that could be used to diagnose what may be causing the issues on my system. It would seem like a waste to purchase a new system when this current one should be capable of running Xubuntu like a dream!

lsb_release -d

Description:    Ubuntu 12.10

---

df -h

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1        72G  3.2G   66G   5% /
udev            748M  4.0K  748M   1% /dev
tmpfs           302M  760K  302M   1% /run
none            5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none            755M  500K  755M   1% /run/shm
none            100M  8.0K  100M   1% /run/user

---

free -m

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          1509       1408        101          0         68        784
-/+ buffers/cache:        555        954
Swap:         1534          0       1534

---

top -n 2

top - 21:03:37 up  2:30,  2 users,  load average: 1.74, 0.54, 0.32
Tasks: 126 total,   4 running, 122 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
%Cpu(s): 77.7 us,  9.3 sy,  0.0 ni, 12.3 id,  0.0 wa,  0.0 hi,  0.7 si,  0.0 st
KiB Mem:   1546176 total,  1271916 used,   274260 free,    69620 buffers
KiB Swap:  1571836 total,        0 used,  1571836 free,   717172 cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S  %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND                                                                                                                            
 1891 mik       20   0  659m 229m  27m R 119.8 15.2  32:25.16 plugin-containe                                                                                                                    
 1206 root      20   0  100m  43m  16m R  25.8  2.9  10:44.32 Xorg                                                                                                                               
 1662 mik       20   0  447m 109m  33m S  21.2  7.2   7:34.04 firefox                                                                                                                            
 1444 mik        9 -11  161m 5552 4124 R   6.6  0.4   7:11.30 pulseaudio                                                                                                                         
 1383 mik       20   0 27852  10m 8368 S   1.0  0.7   0:48.35 xfwm4                                                                                                                              
 3407 mik       20   0  5220 1392 1004 R   0.7  0.1   0:00.03 top                                                                                                                                
 3266 mik       20   0 10176 1576  856 S   0.3  0.1   0:00.01 sshd                                                                                                                               
    1 root      20   0  3620 1936 1248 S   0.0  0.1   0:00.96 init                                                                                                                               
    2 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kthreadd                                                                                                                           
    3 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.36 ksoftirqd/0                                                                                                                        
    6 root      rt   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/0                                                                                                                        
    7 root      rt   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.03 watchdog/0                                                                                                                         
    8 root      rt   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/1                                                                                                                        
    9 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.04 kworker/1:0                                                                                                                        
   10 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.36 ksoftirqd/1                                                                                                                        
   11 root      rt   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.03 watchdog/1                                                                                                                         
   12 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cpuset                                                                                                                             
   13 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 khelper                                                                                                                            
   14 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kdevtmpfs                                                                                                                          
   15 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 netns                                                                                                                              
   16 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.35 kworker/u:1                                                                                                                        
   17 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.02 sync_supers                                                                                                                        
   18 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 bdi-default                                                                                                                        
   19 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kintegrityd                                                                                                                        
   20 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd                                                                                                                            
   21 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ata_sff                                                                                                                            
   22 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.01 khubd                                                                                                                              
   23 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 md                                                                                                                                 
   25 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 khungtaskd                                                                                                                         
   26 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kswapd0                                                                                                                            
   27 root      25   5     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksmd                                                                                                                               
   28 root      39  19     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 khugepaged                                                                                                                         
   29 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 fsnotify_mark                                                                                                                      
   30 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ecryptfs-kthrea                                                                                                                    
   31 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 crypto                                                                                                                             
   40 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kthrotld                                                                                                                           
   42 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 scsi_eh_0                                                                                                                          
   43 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 scsi_eh_1                                                                                                                          
   44 root      20   0     0    0    0 S   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kworker/u:3

Other info: Full screen video is incredible slow. Unwatchable framerates.

share|improve this question
    
It might be helpful if you could add the following outputs to the question, preferably when the system becomes slow: lsb_release -d, df -h, free -m, dpkg -l | grep nvidia, top -n 2. Just copy/paste the outputs and add them to the question as is. Are there any other symptoms? –  mikewhatever Dec 3 '12 at 20:30
    
@mikewhatever I've added those details. As you can see, plugin-container is using over 100% CPU?!! I was playing a flash video in full screen. –  user1474326 Dec 3 '12 at 21:01
    
Thanks for the outputs. Nothing looks particularly wrong, but, unfortunately, flash video won't work well on an old, but still capable system. Flash on Linux is a resource hog, and I'd suggest uninstalling it completely. There isn't anything we can do about it. PS: Youtube has youtube.com/html5, which works reasonably well for videos that are available. –  mikewhatever Dec 3 '12 at 21:14
    
@mikewhatever ok that makes sense. However, windows are incredibly slow with dragging, and opening programs takes an age (non-flash related problems) –  user1474326 Dec 3 '12 at 21:31
    
as in, symptoms for when flash is not running –  user1474326 Dec 3 '12 at 21:45
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1 Answer

My experience has been that "incredibly slow" Linux systems are, in fact, a faulty video driver installation. Meaning the part you actually see, the video, is not functioning properly.

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Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. –  Ringtail Dec 9 '12 at 17:41
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