Performance issue (OS hangs for seconds at a time) with LMDE for the last month or so (details inside)

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LMDE 2 support ends on 1-1-2019
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Performance issue (OS hangs for seconds at a time) with LMDE for the last month or so (details inside)

Post by Dubslow » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:18 pm

For the last month, I've had issues where any sort of major change in rendered graphics on screen (e.g. changing tabs in browser, changing workspaces, or playing Dota) causes the entire system to freeze for several seconds. I can't click or type anything, the screen is frozen, and sound doesn't play. Depending on the exact workload involved in changing the display, the freeze lasts from 1s for a minor tab change to upwards of 30s+ for some rare occasions in Dota where there's a lot of high pace gameplay occurring on screen (or would be occurring on screen if the screen wasn't frozen).

The context is that I've been running LMDE on the exact same hardware since 2012, and although it's *possible* there's a hardware failure of some sort, I can't think of a way that a hardware failure would result in this set of symptoms. I have no idea if it's a problem with Cinnamon, Nvidia proprietary drivers (which I haven't touched in the slightest in years), or something with the underlying kernel/X/other-windowing-mesa-things-I-don't-understand.

Problems like this have been happening in Dota for around a month, but only once or twice an hour in Dota and only for a few seconds. A couple of days ago it got worse and started happening outside of Dota, e.g. tab switching as above, and in Dota the frequency went from ~20 minutes to any time anything happens on screen, so ~2 minute frequency (or longer if I try to avoid graphics-intensive parts of the game), as well as each freeze lasting substantially longer than they used to in Dota.

I hadn't made any sort of package upgrades in a month when the uptick occurred a few days ago, though I did try upgrading and restarting after the uptick in problems -- no dice. I had made an upgrade around a month ago, but I can't recall for sure if that's when the initial smaller problem started or not. I have a history of updates from the update manager, but I can't find a way to copypaste that here for the record. (Edit: Looks like a month ago I went from Cinnamon 3.0.5 to 3.0.6, and the upgrade a few days ago didn't change Cinnamon.)

Any ideas?

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