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Is there some way of configuring "No Effects" in the backend of GNOME Shell to get less memory/CPU overhead from graphical applications?

I don't dare to turn on Metacity compositing due to this:

metacity fails if compositing is enabled.

(Source)

So is there anything else I can do to speed up the user interface and disable any type of effects?

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If in the final analysis you can't improve the performance of Gnome shell to meet your needs, Unity 2D may be a good fall back. –  fragos Dec 30 '11 at 7:04
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1 Answer

First of all, you cannot use metacity and GNOME-Shell together :).

GNOME-Shell depends on Mutter, and if Mutter does not support turning down its effects, then neither does GNOME Shell. The best you can do then is ensure that you configure everything around it to be optimal for its performance.

Some tips:

  • Ensure that you are using the latest/best driver for your graphics (chip/card).
  • Do not run too many intense applications at a time. Even background applications can affect the speed of a system.
  • Do not use too many extensions at a time.
  • Make good use of workspaces. 3D window managers have a lot of work to do already, so its good to have fewer windows "active" at a time.
  • Ensure that your graphics applications are configured correctly if they support it.
    • For example, in games, you can turn down the graphics if possible.
    • Use programs like Blender in fullscreen mode.
    • If you can, use texture compression (your system must support it).
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