I have an old PC with 2gb DDR2 ram, 3.0ghz Pentium 4 processor and Fujitsu/Siemens D1901 motherboard with 64mb built-in graphics memory. I've tried 12.10 on this configuration but it was laggy probably due to limited graphics memory. So, I am wondering if I can install 12.04 or any other version that is less hungry for graphics memory.

If there are any tricks to make 12.10 run faster please let me know because it wasn't running that bad I think few tweaks could work. The thing that annoyed me was the Dash it was taking around 3-4 seconds to open.

Please, tell me if I can make 12.10 work on this configuration or 12.04 is better option.



64MB video memory is plenty for running even the newest version of Ubuntu with all desktop effects. What's more, 2GB is plenty of main RAM to run a full Gnome/Compiz/Unity graphical desktop.

If you are experiencing slow performance it's probably not so much the amount of video memory but the overall performance of the system. A Pentium 4 is pretty old, your onboard graphics is also probably quite slow, and you may also have a slow hard drive if it's from a similar era.

Alternatively, it could be that your system is not running in accelerated graphics mode because of a problem with your system, which in 12.10 would mean that you're running software-emulated (which would be slow).

12.04 and 12.10 are not different enough architecturally that you should notice any significant difference in performance from them on the same hardware. One notable difference however is that 12.04 has an optional "Ubuntu 2D" mode whereas 12.10 doesn't. Ubuntu 2D may work better on systems without 3D acceleration (or with buggy/poorly supported 3D acceleration) than 12.10.

Things you could try:

  • Switching from Gnome to XFCE.

    This can be done by installing Xubuntu, a version of Ubuntu which pre-selects XFCE for you, or by switching desktop environments on an already installed Ubuntu.

    XFCE is a lot more light weight than Gnome, but most of this light weight is in the form of memory and resource usage (and with your 2GB of RAM, that's probably the area where you have the least problems). So you may or may not notice a huge difference.

  • Run Ubuntu 12.04 in Ubuntu 2D mode.

    Ubuntu 2D mode has been removed from subsequent versions of Ubuntu. It is an alternative mode which doesn't make any significant use of graphics hardware, yet still has pretty much the same usability and compatibility with Ubuntu Unity. If it's a graphics card problem, this will at least work.

  • If it gets faster, it was your 3D graphics being poorly supported or too slow. If it actually gets slower then it was unrelated to your 3D graphics. :) – thomasrutter Feb 19 '13 at 0:14
  • Yes, you're right. It was 3D graphics. I'm running 12.04 in 2D mode and its faster in sense of multi-tasking but still Dash is taking 1-2 seconds to open (better than 12.10 it was taking 3-4 seconds). Is there anything I can do about it? – user133112 Feb 19 '13 at 7:17
  • Unfortunately, Unity 2D dash is just really slow to open - it was like that for me on an older laptop too. I managed to speed it up by making it full screen rather than a little window (or was it the other way around?). If you want much better performance I think you'd need either a hardware upgrade or a different shell or desktop environment. You could try Gnome 3's gnome-shell if you didn't want to commit to XFCE... – thomasrutter Feb 20 '13 at 0:21
  • The other possibility is that your 3D graphics might work, they just aren't configured or working properly. I don't know that graphics card or motherboard though so I wouldn't know how to help. – thomasrutter Feb 20 '13 at 0:23
  • 1
    Thank you, I've installed gnome-shell and using Gnome Classic. I'm loving the performance and expierence. – user133112 Feb 22 '13 at 0:20

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