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I have the following specifications:

Memory: 3 Gb  
Processor: Intel® Core™2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz × 4 (32 bit)  
Available disk space: 271 gib  
Kernel Linux 3.5.0-17-generic  
GNOME 3.6.0

I'm running Ubuntu 12.10 and it runs really slowly. Is it a software or a hardware problem? Should I use a 12.04 or 11.10-04 instead to increase performance?

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What do you mean with slow? Do the applications respond slow (what applications do you use?), is the network slow etc.? Please describe what software do you use and what exactly feels slow. This helps us to maybe find a reason for the slowness. Your system itself is fast enough for any recent Ubuntu. –  qbi Jan 8 '13 at 11:08
    
well everything is slow. i just installed it with CD boot. it runs as if my memory is full. mozila, dash home, all apps are slow. youtbe videos are slow. everything i run is slow. –  user119675 Jan 8 '13 at 11:15
    
Let me guess, Intel Graphics? –  mikewhatever Jan 8 '13 at 12:05
    
Does the problem persist if you login using GNOME Classic? –  unutbu Jan 8 '13 at 13:28
    
Run the software updater. There is a newer kernel version than that, and that might solve your problem. –  Josh Jan 10 '13 at 5:08
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2 Answers 2

im having the problem, i just installed it, and my netbook is running very slow, all programs run slow, firefox everything is slow, i installed previous versions of ubuntu before, but never had this problem, everything was very smooth, i dont really think this is a hardware problem since, i have read a lot of people having the same issue with this version.

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This is probably due to the implementation of llvmpipe to bring Unity 3D to those without hardware acceleration. However, I'm sure that in the next few versions of Ubuntu this will improve. However, I don't seem to be experiencing these problems running on 12.10 with an old laptop: Intel Centrino Duo @ 1.66 GHz, 32 bit only, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, kernel version 3.5.0-21-generic –  Josh Jan 10 '13 at 5:10
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As an owner of Q6600 CPU I'd like to answer.

Ubuntu 12.10 works very slow if you try to use it out-of-the-box.

Seems like Unity interface requires much more performance / proper video drivers in order to run fast.

To solve this problem you must try to install proprietary graphics drivers for your video card.

Installing nvidia-current solved performance problem for me. (GTX560Ti)

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