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I'm having serious desktop performance issues on my new (used) laptop. Most of the small GUI utilities work well, or I at least cannot see any problems, but some more or less heavy applications like Firefox or IDEs lag a lot. For example, opening new empty tab or closing a tab in Firefox takes about 5-10 seconds, loading very basic pages like google front page may take 10-40 seconds, no matter if it was cached and loaded 5 minutes ago. While opening, tabs show up slowly and then Firefox is not responsible for several seconds while tab content is loading. Complete Firefox UI has hardcore lags. Even on my previous mid-level laptop from 2010 it all ran fluently. IDEs from Jetbrains show similar behavior. Coding in IDE, using Firefox for browsing and tests and doing something in parallel makes laptop literally useless.

I've tried to create a fresh user account to exclude possible desktop configuration issues. Didn't help. I've tried to run Ubuntu live USB and it was also very laggy, which should mean it's not because of probably slow HDD. I've also tested how Firefox runs in Windows on this laptop and it (and complete Windows environment) was fast as hell, so I believe it's not a hardware issue, but probably some driver doesn't want to play well.

CPU, RAM and HDD usage stays very very low even when Firefox "works hard" on opening tabs, but CPU usage is high while loading page contents (which is kind of ok if it didn't last for 30 seconds for a very basic website each time).

Are there any tools to help me to find out what is the reason of performance issues? Any way to profile it?

  • Laptop is Dell Latitude.
  • Latest kernel and software for Xubuntu 16.04, Xfce desktop.
  • CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2520M CPU @ 2.50GHz
  • RAM: 8Gb
  • GPU: Nvidia NVS 4200M (tried both open source and proprietary drivers)

Thanks.

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As result I turned on and off various features in BIOS and disabling

Intel SpeedStep

did the trick. I also found out that "damaged AC adapter" POST message was disabled, thats why I didn't see any information regarding the broken AC adapter and reduced CPU clock speed because of it.

However, this problem can also be fixed by setting a property in /proc in Linux, more information about it in this question: Ubuntu is very slow when Intel SpeedStep is enabled (CPU is not used in full speed)

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