First off, the relevant specs:
Slackware 10.1, custom 2.4.29 kernel with lowlatency scheduling
P3 450 Mhz, 384 Mb memory
Nvidia Geforce2 MX video card
I've noticed that starting from recent distros (from 2002 and later), the performance of X11 and graphical apps have steadily gone down, to the point where it can be downright sluggish; i.e., window updates and redraws are not snappy and instant. Raising and lowering windows and switching virtual desktops is even worse.
Now, i don't really think my box is too underpowered to perform graphical functions smoothly. Sorry for the comparison, but m$ windows on the same box is so snappy graphically, even with many applications visible at once. The low-latency kernel helps very minimally. I'm even using XFCE, which is supposed to be a lightweight desktop environment.
I'm just trying to figure out what could be the possible culprit. I'm guessing it could be one or more of the following: Gnome2 and co., kernel 2.4.x, XFree 4.x, etc., etc.
Have you guys ever had to deal with this?