My specs:

  • AMD Athlon 4400+ 2.11 Ghz
  • 2 GB RAM DDR2
  • ATI Radeon HD 3600 512 MB
  • 320 GB HDD (2GB swap)

OS Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit, fresh install from Ubuntu DVD

I have a problem:

My PC is running randomly slow. I installed Ubuntu 12.04 today, it installed fine (It took a long time, then the installation program was removing all the languages - almost 2 hours total). I selected to install EN (not my native language, but I want EN) and Ubuntu started downloading all Arabic and some Chinese for all LibreOffice apps and gnome ... annoying.

Now Ubuntu looks just fine, I got Web GL running, but all screen is flickering and my mouse cursor randomly stucking, Virtualbox made my Ubuntu crash. When I open Chromium, it all becomes laggy for a while. Flash videos and whole youtube looks terrible and laggy. Also trying to run HD Video (1080p) makes Ubuntu so laggy and that video as well. In default Movie Player HD video is laggy and low quality. Of course I use VLC Media Player (the best one for me) and there the video runs just fine, but I have very bad feeling when watching it, it is kind of slow like all Ubuntu and sometimes it got stuck.

I also tried 3D benchmark (the gears on the sides of a cube) and spent a lot of time messing with Terminal and trying some configs, nothing helped. I want an OS with GUI and not typing in Terminal like writing a nowell. If I wanted this, I would install Gentoo or something similar (I tried Gentoo, nice distro).

I do not want to install restricted graphics drivers. In one hour I scouted through all preinstalled programs in Ubuntu, also made all Ubuntu One Accounts and so.

Now I only want to make it running fast! Please help me.

  • I totally agree with you on the issue of language packs. it took me more than half an hour to download and install them. – Laphanga Jul 19 '12 at 22:02

The short answer is: get an Nvidia card.

The long answer: as the proprietary drivers as made available by AMD do often vary in quality with every GPU they make, one can't really rely on them. Ubuntu ships with opensource drivers that are developed as a component of the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, they have not reached a state that is anywhere near finished, nor can you expect them to perform like the AMD drivers.

I find your CPU to be slightly underpowered as well, especially when you're looking into virtualization.

Those hours your computer spent downloading language packs may indicate a slow internet connection.

Consider switching to a desktop environment that is less graphically demanding. First try, select "Ubuntu 2d" from the menu that hides behind the Ubuntu logo button.


You may be better off with a 32bit installation. With only 2GB of RAM, you're not actually benefiting from the 64bit system. It's likely that applications and Ubuntu itself have larger memory footprints which further minimize available RAM than they would if you just had a 32bit install.

From: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/32bit_and_64bit#Which_is_Better_-_32_or_64_Bits.3F

If you are doing heavy work where you have started to hit the 4GB memory barrier, then 64-bit is for you. Certain intensive tasks such as encoding video or audio also run significantly faster on 64-bit operating systems (NOTE: this is implementation specific).

Some applications such as Flash do run slower in 64-bit mode, however work continues to improve on this.

There's further discussion available here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/64BitTeam/64BitAdvantages

Lastly, if UI responsiveness is your primary concern, consider using an alternative shell like XFCE instead of Unity as this is also an area where memory usage is high.

On my system, watching a movie and having firefox open on a 32bit install with a few indicator apps and dropbox is using 2GB of RAM (Your memory limit).

Alternatively, consider installing more RAM it would probably be a good "bang for the buck" upgrade.


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