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Old 08-14-2003, 01:47 PM   #1
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Unhappy Why is Linux so Slow ?

I am not saying in anyway that Windows is faster than Linux. I am just having a hard time speeding it up. I am running Mandrake 9.1 and I think that has something to do with it. A little background first. I have been using M$ XP and 2000 for a long time and in my experience it runs a lot faster than my Linux Install. In linux, I have a hard time opening media files, it just lags so much and some of them I can't even open. I also noticed when I open the file manager it takes a while to read the current directory.

My System:
AMD Athlon XP 2000
512 megs PC2700 RAM
20 gig Western Digital 7200 RPM HD
16 meg ATI Radion Video Card (AGP)
4 fans in an alluminum case (so I know that the system is not running hot)
Dual Boot WinXP and Mandrake 9.1

Now I thought about a few possibilities that might be slowing my system down. I am looking for advice on these possibilities and I am also looking for any insight at all that may help me in my quest to finially get rid of M$ from my computer for good. I have tried this many times over the years and I just can't seem to give up my M$ partition. Please help.

1. I used the program "top" and looked at my current processes to try to kill some that might be hoging memorey or to locate a run away process.

2. Looked for better drivers for my hardware, specifically my video card. I am using the ones included with the install.

Well, I am all out of Ideas. I hope you experienced Linux Gurus can help me out.

Old 08-14-2003, 01:52 PM   #2
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What does hdparam -t give you? (man hdparam).
You should turn on DMA for your harddisks, otherwise
it is reading with say 5 Mb/s only.

On RedHat you do that by editing /etc/sysconfig/harddisks
and setting


Last edited by alaric; 08-14-2003 at 05:27 PM.
Old 08-14-2003, 02:04 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: SuSE10, Mepis,
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What file system are you using? I have found ext2/3 sometimes slower. Try JFS of Reiser
Old 08-14-2003, 02:14 PM   #4
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Gentoo
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Have you tried closing some unneeded services?
Old 08-14-2003, 02:26 PM   #5
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 Sid, OpenBSD 3.5
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Are you using KDE or GNOME? These desktops are bulky and sluggish. Try Fluxbox.
Old 08-14-2003, 03:18 PM   #6
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Hi Choad

You can disable services from the Mandrake Control Centre - this might help a little.

You can always start a session with a lighter Window manager such as IceWm.

There are faster distributions such as Vector 3.2 or Slack 9
Old 08-14-2003, 08:25 PM   #7
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: south florida
Distribution: red hat 8.0
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make sure you set a host...When i first installed i didnt and my linux was super slow.
Old 08-14-2003, 08:39 PM   #8
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
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what do u mean by "slow"?

is it slow starting up? slow reading files in a directory (this is normal, linux is just figuring out what all the files are and windows does this too)

what do u mean by slow opening a media file? (u usually are not going to be able to double-click to open anything up, mandrake let's u do this sometimes and it ticks me off and throws many new users off track) using a command prompt, type xine and see if u can get anything to work with that (to use dvd's download the latest xinelib and then use the gxine frontend)

with your specs you should have no problem getting things to work correctly (maybe the radeon is causing problems? but if mandrake detects it, it should work fine but u may not get hardware acceleration, try running tux racer from your mandrake's amusement menu)

other than that, i can say that it takes me 1 min 40 sec to get mandrake running from powering on the pc to full login with kde gui and i've got all the processes that a near-full install (without webservers) automatically initiates and my pc is about the same as yours, less ram though

o, make sure u have a 1 gig swap partition
Old 08-14-2003, 08:55 PM   #9
Registered: Aug 2003
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Something else that no one else has mentioned is compiling your own kernel.

Although this does take some practice, it is worth. You end up with a clean kernel(only what you need and nothing else) plus you make sure it has all the cpu optimizations for your particular system.
Old 08-14-2003, 08:58 PM   #10
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
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well, mandrake is built for i586 (at least that's what all their rpm's are) and he is using i586 (at least i'm pretty sure) and i don't think that even if he is using i686, it wouldn't do him much good as to speed at this point, we will definitely need more info from him
Old 08-14-2003, 11:59 PM   #11
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Reinstall it all whit all depenteties satisfied. Try to use distibution software only.
Old 08-15-2003, 01:31 AM   #12
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The reason why Windows is fast is because it loads library files to memory before you run any programs. If you have used Windows 3.1, you will see the same performance as a LINUX box. In LINUX, you can run all the programs that you use most often as a daemon. When you load the program, it will instantly load up just like Windows.

You can put all the library files in RAM disk and then LINUX will load programs much faster. Though RAM disk eats up memory. You can get a hardware SCSI controller and setup RAID with 10000 RPM hard drives. Then copy all the contents under /usr to your RAID array. This will give you lower latency and lower waiting times.

You can get a solid state disk. That will surely speed up your system by 100 times.

The number one thing that is the bottleneck when it comes to accessing files is the hard drive. Transporting a 7200 RPM hard drive from a Pentium 100 to a Pentium 4 3.2 GHz will not make a difference. Both systems are using the PCI bus (32-bit/33 MHz).

AMD processors are not as picky as INTEL processors when it comes to instruction set. INTEL processors slows down when they have to run older instruction sets. AMD processors were optimized to run any instruction sets below of its instruction set with out any penatly. Compiling the kernel with i686 optimization for a AMD system will not make a difference from i586 optimizations. It might for a Intel processor. Compiling the kernel for i486 and making most of the devices as modules will make the kernel lighter and probably faster. Make different kernel optimizations and benchmark each one to see which one is best for your system.

I wouldn't say Slackware and Vector are faster. They just run fewer scripts at startup than other distributions.
Old 08-19-2003, 03:00 PM   #13
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I am having the same problem with Mandrake 9.1. Just installed it a couple of days ago, and I am still getting used to the new OS, but it runs SO MUCH slower than windows, that I am almost ready to put win 98 back on the machine. Should OpenOffice take 53 seconds to load up? Pretty much everything is slow on the system. It seems hard to believe that linux is THAT much slower than windows. I will try some of the suggestions and report back on progress.
Old 08-19-2003, 05:20 PM   #14
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What is your cpu speed? How much RAM?
Old 08-19-2003, 05:48 PM   #15
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Location: Detroit, MI
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I put my CPU speed and my ram speed on the first post.

It is a AMD Athlon XP 2000
RAM is 333 bus and I have 512 Megs of it.


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