So I finally got to installing ubuntu on my PC at home.

Installation went fine, smooth and all. When I finally rebooted into the OS everything was terribly slow. I started by installing the latest NVidia drivers and using the processor microcode firmware setting. Rebooted again but that didn't do anything either. Opening the file manager for example takes about 3-4 seconds. Is there a driver I am still missing? Could it have to do something with it being a M2 SSD?

Performance on Windows is unfortunately fine.

Using Ubuntu 15.10

PC information:

  • I7-5820k
  • GTX980TI
  • 16GB DDR4 Ram
  • 512GB Samsung 950 Evo

Output of inxi-G:

Graphics:  Card: NVIDIA GM200 [GeForce GTX 980 Ti]
       Display Server: X.Org 1.17.2 drivers: nvidia (unloaded: fbdev,vesa,nouveau)
       Resolution: 1680x1050@59.95hz, 1920x1080@60.00hz
       GLX Renderer: GeForce GTX 980 Ti/PCIe/SSE2
       GLX Version: 4.5.0 NVIDIA 352.63

$ cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

$ sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/cpuinfo_cur_freq

The output of cpupower frequency-info. I've changed the governor to perfomance now :).

    analyzing CPU 0:
  driver: intel_pstate
  CPUs which run at the same hardware frequency: 0
  CPUs which need to have their frequency coordinated by software: 0
  maximum transition latency: 0.97 ms.
  hardware limits: 1.20 GHz - 3.80 GHz
  available cpufreq governors: performance, powersave
  current policy: frequency should be within 1.20 GHz and 3.80 GHz.
                  The governor "performance" may decide which speed to use
                  within this range.
  current CPU frequency is 434 MHz.
  boost state support:
    Supported: yes
    Active: yes
  • You are using the 64bit version, right? Also, please edit your question and post the output of inxi -G. You might have to install inxi first: sudo apt-get install inxi. Also show us the output of cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor and sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/cpuinfo_cur_freq.
    – terdon
    Nov 24, 2015 at 10:33
  • Thanks, i've added the information. Anything out of the ordinary?
    – Joost
    Nov 24, 2015 at 17:18
  • Wow that's a really low frequency! Nov 24, 2015 at 17:19
  • Can you add the output of cpupower frequency-info Nov 24, 2015 at 17:20
  • @Joost yup, you're throttling the CPU. Change the governor and you should be fine.
    – terdon
    Nov 24, 2015 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


An alternate answer which may be more appropriate for new installations of Ubuntu is to use the cpupower commands which control the intel_pstate governor system.

The command cpupower frequency-info will indicate on the first line, if intel_pstate is the diver being used, and in the current_policy seciton will indicate either 'powersave' or 'performance'

To change the policy issue the command

sudo cpupower frequency-set -g performance

This does not persist over reboot (for my laptop) but could be placed into /etc/rc.local or a similar initialization method.

On a side note: I also used the ondemand governor in prior releases of Ubuntu: if desired, intel_pstate can be disabled by use of the kernel variable "intel_pstate=disable"

  • Thanks for posting this. I hadn't realized it didn't persist across reboots though. If it doesn't, why not use the manual approach I describe in my answer?
    – terdon
    Nov 24, 2015 at 18:06
  • I liked the ACPI power manager better in several ways, but have found on my laptop that the pstate drivers do work pretty well. To use the older drivers, you would have to add the kernel variable, as described above, and then you could use the ondemand policy that you (and I) favored. Nov 25, 2015 at 1:40

Your CPU speed is very, very slow. On my system, with a Core2 Quad which is more than 6 years old, I get:

$ sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/cpuinfo_cur_freq

Yours is a far faster processor and yet is running orders of magnitude slower. The problem seems to be your CPU governor. This controls how the CPU behaves. Your options are:

  • Performance keeps the CPU at the highest possible frequency
  • Powersave keeps the CPU at the lowest possible frequency
  • Userspace exports the available frequency information to the user level (through the /sys file system) and permits user-space control of the CPU frequency
  • Ondemand scales the CPU frequencies according to the CPU usage (like does the userspace frequency scaling daemons, but in kernel)
  • Conservative acts like the ondemand but increases frequency step by step

You have it set to powersave so it's throttling the CPU in an effort to consume as little power as possible. Setting it to pretty much anything else will improve your performance. I recommend you use ondemand which gives the most flexible option, high speed when needed and low when not so as to not waste energy.

Run this command to change the governor to ondemand:

echo "ondemand" | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

NOTE @CharlesGreen points out in the comments that you might only have powersave and performance available. He also provided a link to a similar question, so if this approach doesn't work, I suggest you read the solution offered there.

  • 1
    If the user is running 15.10, would they not be running intel_pstate, which has only 'powersave' and 'performace' for governors? Nov 24, 2015 at 17:32
  • @CharlesGreen I have absolutely no idea. I've never heard of either. Still, the system gives an error if you try to add a non-valid value to the governor file, so let's see what the OP gets. Either way, powersave is likely the problem here.
    – terdon
    Nov 24, 2015 at 17:35
  • I believe that you are correct. This question talks about some earlier problems with 15.04 and intel_pstate, but I do not think the solution is applicable any longer. Nov 24, 2015 at 17:36
  • 1
    @CharlesGreen thanks, I added your warning and a link to the other question.
    – terdon
    Nov 24, 2015 at 17:44
  • As a 'just change the governor' approach, the appropriate command for the intel_pstate is sudo cpupower frequency-set -g performance Nov 24, 2015 at 17:47

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