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I've been dual-booting with Ubuntu and Windows since Ubuntu 9.04. This was the first time I used Ubuntu and was really happy with it. The boot and shutdown time was very nice and much shorter than on Windows Vista. I was pretty satisfied with the general performance of Ubuntu back then. As the versions passed, I noticed, that with every new release the performance is getting worse. I believe one reason could be Unity, since it is still under development. I'm also not really happy with this new UI direction everyone (Win8, Unity, Gnome 3) is heading now. These big buttons and text fields as my screen would be a touchscreen. I would prefer the old (but fast) GNOME 2.x. However this is a complete other topic. I read somewhere that the slow boot and shutdown could be about the network manager.

The second thing is the graphic performance. Unity and the general desktop environment is pretty slow, not that it's unusable, but when I press or click somewhere I notice a little delay. Games, compared to Windows 7, Minecraft runs much smoother than on Ubuntu. And a few other games too.

I would like to know if there are any tweaks or something that I can improve the boot and shutdown time, graphics performance, etc.

Edit:

Bootchart (large image)

My system:

  • Dell XPS M1530
  • Ubuntu 11.10 32Bit
  • Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9300 @ 2.50GHz
  • GeForce 8600M GT
  • 4GB RAM
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Start with installing bootchart to analyze your boottime and turn off any service you do not need with boot up manager. Add into this question your bootchart image if you are unsure how to evaluate it. –  Rinzwind Jan 23 '12 at 9:24
    
I updated the question with hardware details and bootchart image –  Dominic Bartl Jan 23 '12 at 17:52
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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. Did you install additional drivers for your graphics card? Try to install one using jocky-gtk.

  2. Install preload which loads recently loaded(but not running now) programs data in the background so your system can load that program faster when you want to start it again.

  3. Go to ccsm > Unity plugin>experimental . Change dash bar to static or no blur. Which reduces the delay of unity dash.

  4. Must use swap, at least 1GB. If you did not keep a partition for swap then don't worry, you can create swap file without delete or create a new partition. Check here Just copy paste the commands in terminal.

  5. Remove unnecessary programs from you startup list.

    sudo sed --in-place 's/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g' /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

    Run the command first which will display all of your applications in "start up application"

  6. Install laptop-mode-tools which will increase your laptop's battery life.

  7. Add the line in /etc/sysctl.conf

    sudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

    vm.swappiness=10 [add the line at the end of the file]

    This means your system will keep the cache in ram instead of swap as much as possible and your system's performance will increase.

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Have you done a clean install since 9.04, or have you just done upgrades each time? It's possible that you have old/unneeded packages installed that are still running or causing slowdowns. If you are able to, make backups of all of your data, wipe your drive, and do a fresh install of 12.04. That may solve some of your problems.

As far as minecraft in particular, replace the jar files in 'natives' with the versions from lwjgl2.8.4, and run the game using the java-7-openjdk package. It should be smooth as butter after that.

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Always did a clean install, expect this time. I'll might do that –  Dominic Bartl Aug 3 '12 at 19:44
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Get a power metering device and test, whether suspend to RAM/ to disk is an option for you, your power bill and the environment.

If so, just avoid booting and shutting down. My laptop consumes nearly nothing in standby, but of course laptops are optimized in that direction - on your hardware, you mileage might vary.

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The problem is "performance" is often dependent on hardware. Poor performance can be due to poor drivers, video and wireless drivers are the most common 2 problems I see.

If you suspect Unity is problematic, try Lubuntu (or other variant) or an alternate window manager.

It would also be helpful if you were to list your hardware ;)

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I wanted to post it too, but somehow i forgot it. I updated the question. –  Dominic Bartl Jan 23 '12 at 17:31
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Ubuntu 11 is buggy and performs weak in most computers below than Core i3 processors. It's mainly because of Unity desktop. My advice is to downgrade to 10 and wait until the next LTS release (Ubuntu 12--April 2012).

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Performance [citation needed] : I ran both 11.04 and 11.10 on a Core 2 series processor for some time and noticed no serious performance problems. Likewise on my daughter's Atom based netbook and my work Core 2 laptop. Problems with Unity performance are usually related to graphics hardware and drivers, not CPU performance. Buggy [citation needed] : I've found the 2011 series of releases just as stable as prior releases, but with fewer hardware compatibility problems and more features. I will concede that Unity has some teething troubles, but Other Desktops Are Available. –  Adrian Jan 23 '12 at 12:39
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Based on what test? becnhmarks studies? you say that? below core i3 , ok like most people i had a core 2 duo which is below a core i3 and performance was the same as previous releases. –  Uri Herrera Jan 23 '12 at 23:06
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