Linux running sluggish!
Hey guys, not sure if this is in the right area, but it seemed like the best fit (to me).
I have an Alienware M15x with:
Intel core i7 720qm
Mobility Radeon HD 5xxx series (forgot the actual card)
500gb WD Black 7200rpm 16mb cache HDD
I decided to ditch windows again (for multiple reasons). I've always been an Ubuntu guy, so I figured I'd go that route. So far I've tried:
Ubuntu 12.04 32 and 64 bit
Ubuntu 10.10 32 and 64 bit
Ubuntu 10.04 32 bit
Fedora 17 64 bit
Ubuntu server 12.04 with gnome-desktop installed manually
Every one of those distro's runs EXTREMELY sluggish out of the box. I mean I open the 'start' menu, and it takes 3-15 seconds to open. When I open Firefox, you might want to go make a sandwich and come back. From what I'm reading, ATI/AMD has almost completely dropped support for linux. I've tried the ATI proprietary drivers (both through the package, and manual install) as well as the open source on various distros. Absolutely nothing works. I thought maybe it was just an issue with the Debian base in Ubuntu, which was my reason for trying Fedora (RedHat) and Mandriva. What really stumps me, is Windows 7 runs just fine. In 2010, when I was deployed, I was running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with no issues. I was going to try installing Arch to see what that's like.
Anyone have any idea as to why Linux runs like poo on this computer? I also reset my BIOS (which is up to date) just in case that was causing linux to throw a fit, but no difference.
Forgot to mention, I also tried OpenSUSE. OpenSUSE actually didn't run too bad, but as soon as I tried running programs that I installed after installation, it started running like Ubuntu.
From the way you describe it something is wrong. Ive run a Linux Distribution on a machine far less powerful and never experienced a problem like that.
Originally Posted by sparky3009
What is your system temperature like? an i7 based machine might be throttling down because of heat.
If your temperature is fine then i would suggestion opening up top or system monitor (gnome) or what ever KDE / XFCE calls System monitor if you have those DE and i would spend a few minutes watching cpu and ram usage and see if it is being used when you say start firefox. Make note if CPU / Ram usage is abnormally high.
Also i would suggest testing out your system with the X server not started and use lynx to see if you can browse the web faster and try to open vi see if top changes much without X. If its X and your running the opensource Radeon Drivers i would check out fglrx
If your system is sluggish without X running then check your configurations and check to see if you have a bunch of daemons running that you dont need eg. having apache running when your not hosting a webserver or doing web development.
If absolutely nothing works try installing slackware or puppy linux or any linux made to run on low powered system and see if you have any improvement
That's why I'm so stumped. Naturally this laptop has always run on the warm side, but it's been MUCH hotter and never had an issue. I had the BIOS set not to throttle the CPU, that was about the only thing I had before I reset to factory settings. I normally use Gnome, but I tried Unity with Ubuntu and KDE with Fedora. Didn't seem to make a difference. The funny thing is, the cpu/memory usage is never over about 50% combined with everything running.
I'm not familiar with Lynx, but that's about the only way to tell if it's the desktop slowing it down. Command line seems to run smooth, but you can't run as much in a short period of time in command line. I haven't been running any servers, like Samba, or Apache on this machine. I use this as just a mild gaming and internet browsing laptop. The FGLRX drivers run like straight crap, always have for me.
While I was waiting for a response, I installed Arch. It ran smoothly, but I'm not familiar with arch at all so I decided not to use it. I just installed Debian 6.0.6 with X.org drivers, and it's running VERY smooth with the default gui. I don't know why I'm limited on OS's. I can get by with Debian instead of Ubuntu, it's just theres a few minute details that make me have to manually compile about half the programs I want to use. I'm wondering if whatever is hindering performance on the other distro's is affecting Debian too. I want to make sure I'm getting everything out of my laptop. After all it was $1,700 2 years ago.
I would think debians repo would have 99% of the software your using.
However your problem must be with your graphics card if you do not use that much ram or cpu... Thinking about it All the operating systems you mentioned run KDE 4 Gnome 3 or Unity as a DE and they are all made for eye candy where as Debian runs Gnome 2 which looks plainer but uses less resources.. You might need to play around with DE and window managers. Mate, Gnome2. XFCE. LXDE are all good DE and XDM or FVVM or openbox work well as low powered window managers
It sounds like a graphics issue to me also. Here is a fix for Ubuntu 12.04 which may still work. With regard to Debian, if you enable the contrib and non-free repositories there will be much more software available
Well, after a good chunk of time... I found out what the issue was with my computer specifically. When I was switching from Win7 to Ubuntu, I made a pit stop in my bios and disabled 'Intel Speedstep'. My bios said enabling it will improve battery life, disabling will improve performance. I did a little research on it to find out that it basically under clocks the processor to save power and heat when it's not needed. So I re-installed windows 8 and was getting 2.7 for a 'windows benchmark' score on my processor. I went back in the bios, enabled speedstep, just for grins. VOILA! Everything is fixed. The funny thing is, I had reset my bios. Apparently that won't reset the Speed Step function.