I'm using Lubuntu on a reasonably OK notebook (Fujitsu Siemens w/ 2GB RAM). Still, browsing the INTERNET is a test of patience. Although there is no dedicated graphics card, I would've expected more. I mean, 2GB of RAM allows me to run the OS without a swap, and still the performance is mediocre (browsing Face book is sluggish, watching you tube is impossible).

I'm desperately trying to increase performance, even at the cost of reducing image quality. Is there a way to e.g. reduce color depth, resolution, or anything in that direction that would allow me to see an improvement in performance?

EDIT: Here is the output of inxi -SMCGxxx:

System:    Host: chris-AMILO Kernel: 3.13.0-87-generic i686 (32 bit, gcc: 4.8.4)
           Desktop: LXDE (Openbox 3.5.2) info: lxpanel dm: lightdm
           Distro: Ubuntu 14.04 trusty 
Machine:   System: FUJITSU SIEMENS product: AMILO Li1705 v: 20
           Mobo: FUJITSU SIEMENS model: AMILO Li1705 v: 0.4
           Bios: FUJITSU SIEMENS v: 1.0C-2308-8A20 date: 02/15/2007
           Chassis: type: 10 v: A1705
CPU:       Single core Intel Celeron M 520 (-UP-) cache: 1024 KB
           flags: (lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3) bmips: 3192 speed: 1596 MHz (max)
Graphics:  Card: VIA CN896/VN896/P4M900 [Chrome 9 HC]
           bus-ID: 01:00.0 chip-ID: 1106:3371
           Display Server: X.Org 1.17.1 drivers: openchrome (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1280x800@60.0hz
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.6, 128 bits)
           GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.5.9 Direct Rendering: Yes

To clarify (because some comments implied it): My problem is not related to d/l speed or anything of the sort. It's clearly related to graphics rendering. Pages that are full of graphics (or, worse still, video) are very difficult to view. Youtube stutters heavily at 360p and is impossible to watch at 480 or higher.

Disabling javascript obviously helps, but it's impossible to use the net without it. Another thing: Using Midori improves the situation. But again, I can't understand how Firefox can be choking with 2GB of RAM. That's why I tend to believe there's some issue with my graphics drivers or rendering, I don't know. Or with RAM manipulation?

  • 2gb? did you try to use only one browser tab while browsing the web? – strangeqargo Jun 5 '16 at 6:17
  • Does chromium-browser or Google Chrome work better for you? – jarno Jun 5 '16 at 6:49
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    For YouTube: you can play YouTube videos in VLC (File > Open network stream), which will give much better performace than doing so in the browser. – JonasCz - Reinstate Monica Jun 5 '16 at 8:33
  • I've tried chrome, same thing. And it's sluggish even with only one tab. It's as if Lubuntu doesn't take advantage of the ram or something (I've checked, it does show the 2GB -or slightly less - expected, it just doesn't act like it( – Digital Dracula Jun 5 '16 at 8:48
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    Can you include the output of inxi -SMCGxxx command so that we know your system better? – Thanos Apostolou Jun 5 '16 at 9:43

In YouTube you can reduce quality from the gear icon in its user interface. You could also try lowering display resolution in Monitor Settings.

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  • I'm aware of this, I'm not talking about HD videos. Even 320p stutters. It's as if I had only 256MB Ram or something – Digital Dracula Jun 5 '16 at 8:43
  • @DigitalDracula 320 stutters? Is your graphics card actually a potato? Are you sure you're not in low graphics mode? It happened to me when I installed Lubuntu on this old Netbook the other day. I couldn't even watch videos. Then I installed Xubuntu and the problem was gone. I could suddenly watch 1080p just fine. – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Jun 5 '16 at 17:53
  • How can I find out if I'm in low graphics mode? The computer worked fine with its original Windows Vista, so I tend to suspect it's a drivers or Ubuntu issue – Digital Dracula Jun 6 '16 at 5:28

I would try in that order:

  • Check your raw internet speed: download some big file (~10MB or more) using wget/curl.
  • If this is not what you expect, check your connection to your router (Wifi can be slow if there is a lot of channel crossover).
  • Check your swap usage, when you use the browser, a system with more that 5% swap gets slow
  • See if disabling JavaScript improve things
  • Install Adblock+ or equivalent
  • Web page debuggers (Firebug extension for Firefox, for instance) can show you load times for each page element, so you can check if some specific element comes from a slow server (for instance, some tracker image/js).

In any case, you cannot change anything to images until you have downloaded them.

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VIA graphic cards are really weird. I guess your trouble has something to do with the graphic part. Try to replace the VIA card with a Radeon or a nVidia. Even a super old one could do better than VIA. Or LXDE/Lubuntu is too much for your laptop. Try a micro linux (Puppy, Slax, DamnSmallLinux, etc). Firefox is the T-Rex of all browsers. Don't use that on old PCs. Use K-meleon, Reconq, Midori or Lynx.

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  • But Chrome has the actual T-Rex game in it though :) – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Jun 5 '16 at 17:41
  • Unfortunately I can't add a graphics card. It's a laptop... I have indeed tried Puppy Linux. Same thing. The OS runs fine (as does Lubuntu, btw) but Firefox and Chrome are impossible to use. I'm afraid though they are also the only ones with reliable operation. To bypass the problem, I'm using Midori to watch videos and Firefox for everything else (alas, still with problems) – Digital Dracula Jun 6 '16 at 5:30
  • @Digital Dracula: Have you tried SMPlayer Youtube browser?? SMPlayer is more agile than VLC because it doesn't have all codecs included, just the most used ones. Also, switch Youtube site mode from Flash to html5. Flash is most likely killing your video experience. Here is a native Youtube player for Ubuntu: noobslab.com/2015/05/… – ipse lute Jun 6 '16 at 9:53

Wow, that sounds pretty bad. It sounds almost like you are in limited graphics mode or something. (I'm not suggesting you are.)

Use this Firefox extension to get the mobile versions of websites. Mobile versions are typically much more lightweight. If you're a Chrome user, use this. There are also lots of other alternatives that do the same.

Also, use Adblock, No-Scripts and Flashblocker extensions for your browser. Disable these on a per-site basis when it's needed for a particular site to work.

You can use a browser called Dillo. It runs like a dream. The words "slow" and "Dillo" don't belong in the same sentence. The obvious drawback to Dillo, though, is that many websites will not work like they should. (Especially interactive ones.) But when I'm on a very slow computer and browsing newspapers, blogs, and other such content, I like to use Dillo.

Midori is also lightweight and fast, and has full compatability, unlike Dillo.

You can run Opera Mini on Ubuntu. It's made to work with Facebook, Gmail, etc. and is extremely lightweight. My friend had this stone-age laptop, and he loved using Opera Mini. Not because the interface is great (it truly isn't) but because is as snappy as it gets and is compatible with lots of popular interactive websites. Opera Mini also supports reducing image quality.

I hope this helps!

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