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Old 01-02-2006, 05:47 AM   #1
Th3James
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jul 2005
Location: Sussex, England
Distribution: SUSE 9.3, Ubuntu Breezy
Posts: 14

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Ubuntu runs slowly on celeron-m IBM thinkpad


Hi

Im running breezy on an IBM thinkpad. Its hardly the highest spec ever:

celeron-M 1.3Ghz (i believe this is supposed to equate to a 2.4 desktop processor)
256 ram
64mb shared intel graphics
20 gig HDD

however, the performance its giving me is very poor in ubuntu, and its worse than i think it should be by a long way.
the performance is so poor i installed enlightenment, and integrated it into gnome in an attempt to speed it up, it still lags dreadfully.
Some examples of performance:
applications like konqueror and amaroK take about 30 seconds to start, with 100% CPU usage for the duration
the screen display lags poorly when switching apps, or desktops
sound crackles if it is being played when i try 2 perform even the simplest tasks e.g. switching desktops.

as you would expect, with such a small amount of ram, i am eating into swap, but this performance is still really poor
to test out if it was my installation, i tried a knoppix livecd to see if the performance was better, its performance was much faster, and alot closer to what i would expect from this spec. when i tried an ubuntu livecd, the performance was the same as it is for my ubuntu installation

i have ubuntu installed on two desktops, which are slightly more powerful, and the performance is immeasurably higher,

any suggestions as to whether or not this performance is normal, or any ways to improve it would be appreciated.

here are some readouts that may be helpful:

cox@teh:~$ sudo hdparm /dev/hda
Password:

/dev/hda:
multcount = 0 (off)
IO_support = 0 (default 16-bit)
unmaskirq = 0 (off)
using_dma = 1 (on)
keepsettings = 0 (off)
readonly = 0 (off)
readahead = 256 (on)
geometry = 62016/15/63, sectors = 58605120, start = 0
cox@teh:~$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/hda

/dev/hda:
Timing cached reads: 1948 MB in 2.00 seconds = 972.20 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 34 MB in 3.10 seconds = 10.97 MB/sec

thanks in advance
 
Old 01-03-2006, 07:17 PM   #2
Franklin
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Registered: Oct 2002
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,280

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I'm no expert on hdparm, but those numbers look strange to me. The cached reads are really high and the buffered reads are low. I would not expect such a spread. For example, my 80gig maxtor on an athlon 1100 with 384mb ram gives this:

/dev/hda:
Timing cached reads: 716 MB in 2.00 seconds = 358.00 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 134 MB in 3.04 seconds = 44.08 MB/sec

My "guess" is that, like many laptops, you have a very slow harddrive (saves battery). Additionally, X is stealing ram and causing you to use swap which, on a slow harddrive, will kill performance.

If you like the laptop, I would suggest a better (faster) drive and more ram.

You may have other issues regarding the shared video ram not being used correctly in linux as well - no way for me to know that though. If so, this might be decreasing the graphics performance on top of it all.

If you can only afford one upgrade, I would go for more ram to try to avoid using swap on that slow drive.

Also, if you got better performance from a different distro on the same laptop, that might indicate that the ubuntu kernel is not compiled with the drivers that best suit the hardware on this laptop. If you can do a lsmod whith knopix running and compare to lsmod with ubuntu you might see some clues to the difference. Also check dmesg for both and see what gets loaded at boot.

My 2 cents.

Last edited by Franklin; 01-03-2006 at 07:24 PM.
 
Old 05-07-2007, 08:36 PM   #3
xor
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Registered: Apr 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Distribution: Suse & Fedora
Posts: 20

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celeron-M 1.3Ghz (i believe this is supposed to equate to a 2.4 desktop processor)

Please I mean this in the nicest way possible; don't believe it, it's marketing hype.

Honestly, everything runs slow on a Intel Celeron Celerons are built for economy not speed, and P-M's are built primarily to extend battery life, not performance. There isn't much there in excess resources if the system gets loaded. I personally hate those chips, I've must have waisted 10 years of my life waiting on Celeron cpu's. The major problem with the P-M's in my opinion is that they have a huge L1 cache when compared with there tiny tiny L2 cache; which can create a bottle neck. I have an Dell Inspirion 8200 with the 2.2GHz Full P-M and it's painfully slow when running multiple applications. Unfortunately, used computer stuff usually isn't worth anything so you can either go out and get yourself an Intel Core 2 Duo (which I highly recommend very fast) and chalk up Celeron's to a learning experience. Or you could invest in a hard drive which may also be the root of your problem. If IBM has diagnostics try them on the disk and see if you are getting read errors. Another thing you could do is see if you can upgrade that laptop as I've done with numerous Dell's by sticking a faster cpu in there. Just do a google search to see if other people have done it.

xor

Ps Just thought of something; how's your cooling; how hot is your cpu getting? With my Dell I got a fan control program and had the fans run all the time on full and got significantly better performance though not stellar by any means, but noticeably better. If the chip is getting too hot than you will lose significant performance. There are laptop coolers out there and some gamers swear by them but I just don't get it. Seems like a waist of money to me. Another thing is your performance better or worst when the laptop is plugged into the wall vs while on the battery. Intel notebook chips use a program or BIOS routine called speed step which will reduce your processor performance by 50% to save the battery when running on batteries vs plugged into the wall. If you do get better performance when plugged into the wall than you are on the right track. Usually there are speed step setting in BIOS you can change to tell the system to override the speed step so instead of a battery saving model you can go with a performance model. Also, check to see if there is a BIOS update for your system that may correct this problem or improve it. Speed Step routines from my Dell experience have been constantly evolving, my 8200 had 11 BIOS updates before they either gave up or felt they had maximized the performance/battery life curve.

Last edited by xor; 05-07-2007 at 08:53 PM.
 
  


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