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Mods: this question is not a duplicate of others. While related in subject, this question is not a general specifications request, nor is it concerned with building kernels and whatnot. This question concerns the cause(s) of a degredation of performance on a netbook, and what remedies might be available.

My netbook:

  • Gateway NAV50
  • Processor: Intel Atom CPU N450 166Ghz x2
  • Memory: 991.4 MiB
  • OS type: 32 bit
  • Disk: 245.0 GB
  • Graphics: Intel IGD X86/MMX/SSE2
  • Chrome: Version 37.0.2062.94 Ubuntu 14.04 (290621)

(BTW, with regards to the processor, I don't know what the "x2" means. Two chips? Twice the speed?)

Out of the box, this computer ran Windows 7. I replaced Win7 with Ubuntu 12.xx. It was not a dual-boot situation. I completely removed Win7, leaving Linux/Ubuntu as the only OS/desktop on the machine.

A few weeks ago, Ubuntu automatically upgraded to 14.04. so, that's the system on my computer now.

Even prior to the upgrade, I had noticed degraded performance. The various tasks and programs would perform without error, but they would respond slowly. Bootup takes more than 60 seconds. The time between clicking the Chrome icon in the taskbar and the launch of the program is 30 seconds or longer. The loading of the startup tabs can be equally as long. In the browser, new pages load, and load, and load, forever before all elements finally are present. Even swapping between programs (alt+tab) is a slow-motion experience, with one program slowly fading from view as the other program window slowly fades into view, instead of an instantaneous snap from one window to the other.

There is a general lack of "snappiness" to the response to commands. Every launch of a program or app involves a spongy lag time that I don't experience on my Windows-based Dell XPS or Chrome-based Nexus 5.

My netbook has little beyond Ubuntu loaded on it, no graphics- or video-editing programs. I don't store my photos or music on this machine, and at most keep a dozen or so text documents on the drive. I store most of my files in the cloud or on an external drive.

I did not notice this laggy performance when I first replaced Windows with Ubuntu 12.xx. The response at that time was just as quick and immediate as it had been under Windows, from which I concluded that this machine, humble as it is, has the power necessary to handle Ubuntu. The draggy performance became evident only much later. So now I'm left to wonder what is causing it, and what I might be able to do to improve performance.

Thank you.

marked as duplicate by Eliah Kagan, Sylvain Pineau, Mitch Sep 14 '14 at 19:17

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Well, Ubuntu 14.04 is quite more resource intensive than many previous releases. I think with your specs, you are pushing the envelope when it comes to speed. I've used an Acer Aspire One (with the N455 Atom) the only problems I had were incompatibilities with with the Intel GMA. Ubuntu also runs a lot better with a minimum of 2GB of RAM. Also, even though your processor is 64-bit, you might wanna try 32-bit Ubuntu: that would be a less resource intensive option.

To get drivers for you intel GMA graphics, find your download here: https://01.org/linuxgraphics/downloads enter image description here

  • Thank you. BTW, how do I know that my processor is 64-bit? I don't detect anything in "Intel Atom CPU N450 166Ghz x2" that indicates whether it is 32- or 64-bit. Elsewhere, the "OS type" is labeled as 32 bit, which leads me to conclude that everything about my system, the processor included, is 32-bit. – Jeff Thomas Sep 14 '14 at 15:15
  • Here: ark.intel.com/products/42503/… – john kieran Sep 14 '14 at 15:16
  • Aha. Thanks. So what's this bit about "OS type" being 32-bit? – Jeff Thomas Sep 14 '14 at 15:18
  • It appears that my current installation of 14.04 LTS already is 32-bit: /sbin/init: ELF 32-bit LSB shared object, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked (uses shared libs), for GNU/Linux 2.6.24, BuildID[sha1]=c394677bccc720a3bb4f4c42a48e008ff33e39b1, stripped – Jeff Thomas Sep 14 '14 at 15:26
  • You can install 32-bit OS'es on a 64-bit processor, but you cannot install a 64-bit OS on a 32-bit processor. your processor is 64-bit but I would recommend a 32-bit install. if you are still having trouble with a 32-bit os, you might need to install graphics drivers. – john kieran Sep 14 '14 at 15:44

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