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So I have an older MacMini. It's not the world's greatest machine, but it doesn't suck that badly:

Intel® Core™2 CPU T5600 @ 1.83GHz × 2, 1gig ram

I have installed Ubuntu on MUCH weaker machines with acceptable performance. I have installed Windows 7 on this machine with acceptable performance. But Ubuntu 12.04? SLOW. Horribly slow. Loading the system dialog is a 45 second affair. Starting chrome is a 2 minute affair. Launching Ubuntu Software Center? 5+ minutes. Something obviously isn't doing what it's supposed to be.

Any ideas where to start looking?

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Which GPU does your Mac mini use?, if Ubuntu isn't cutting it for you try other variants, Xubuntu, Lubuntu. –  Uri Herrera Jan 11 '13 at 19:13
    
Intel GMA 950 using 64 MB of DDR2 SDRAM, according to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Mini –  mschultz Jan 12 '13 at 17:07
    
I installed Xubuntu, and it seems to work a bit better, though it is still slower than I would expect. Will try Lubuntu later. –  mschultz Jan 14 '13 at 17:03
    
possible duplicate of How can I improve overall system performance? –  Eliah Kagan Aug 25 '13 at 11:44
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