Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

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munim
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Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

Post by munim »

I am a newbie in Linux and installed Linux Mint in my really old laptop Dell Vostro 1500. Everything seems to be working fine except the graphics driver. Initially, I didn't understand that Linux is using the default driver as all colours were looking good however the UI looks very slow and sluggish and very hight CPU usage . Moving window or any new popup comes up so late.

System configuration:
Intel Centrino 1.7GHz dual-core
3 GB RAM
320 GB HDD
NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS
Linux Mint 16 (Cinnamon)

Firstly I tried to install with the latest Ubuntu provided NVIDIA driver, but it didn't work and caused x-server to crash. I used

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sudo apt-get install nvidia-latest
Also tried installing the recommended driver from Device Manager, that didn't work either. I ended up with 640x480 resolution.

After lots of Googling, I came up with unofficial NVIDIA drivers from x-swat which seems to fix my resolution and a loaded NVIDIA driver. I used the command below

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sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current
sudo nvidia-xconfig
I have also checked if NVIDIA is loaded using

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lsmod | egrep "nvidia"
which resulted
nvidia 10304704 44
I have also checked the driver version from NVIDIA X Server Settings from start menu which resulted 304.117

I have also black-listed the following in

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/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

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blacklist intel_agp
blacklist nouveau
blacklist lbm-nouveau
I have also tried to tweak NVIDIA settings with these following commands:

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nvidia-settings -a InitialPixmapPlacement=2 -a GlyphCache=1
and also added:

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Option "PixmapCacheSize" "300000"
Option "OnDemandVBlankInterrupts" "True"
to my xorg.conf Device section.

Still, everything is slow, resizing/moving windows, scrolling, and also deserves mentioning video playback is extremely choppy.

It would be lovely to have a response from Linux gurus :)
computerbob
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Re: Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

Post by computerbob »

"Really old laptop" to me means "not very much video ram". I wouldn't put Cinnamon on that. You might be happier with a lighter weight OS like Mate or Xfce.
munim
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Re: Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

Post by munim »

Its GeForce 8400 GS and it has 256 MB RAM. It may be old enough but not that old to support an UI system. Btw, it works flawlessly in Windows 8.
computerbob
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Re: Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

Post by computerbob »

From experience, I've found that I need 1GB of video ram. It's not fair to compare Win8. NVidia will not share their source code with the linux community, that we may fix their proprietary drivers, and this is a major problem.
Hitchhiker
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Re: Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

Post by Hitchhiker »

I have a Dell Vostro 1500 laptop. The Nvidia graphics are either 8400M GS or 8600M GT. The 8000 series Nvidia are the oldest ones supported by the latest drivers. There are drivers for older graphics but the 8000 series is not that old. I use Mint 15 right now and have no problems with the Nvidia graphics. Mine has the Nvidia 8600M GT graphics. I haven't tried Mint 16 on the laptop yet but I do have it on a desktop computer with Intel graphics.

For the Dell Vostro 1500 I updated to the latest BIOS which is A06. This BIOS supports 6 GB of memory but not 8 GB. One 2 GB and one 4 GB 667 Mhz module. Samsung memory works best. Kingston will usually work. 800 Mhz DDR2 memory often will not work. The additional memory is not required though. The Core2Duo is faster than the dual core Pentium but there is little difference between all of the Core2Duo processors with 800 Mhz front side bus. The slowest is nearly as fast as the fastest due to limiting memory access of the chip set.

I got the Nvidia drivers from the software graphical interface. Whatever the default was. When my Vostro 1500 boots it shows a Nvidia splash screen. Everything works fine.

I'm not sure how much difference there is between the 8400M GS and the 8600 GT. There may be a difference for laptop drivers than desktop drivers. The frequency is higher in the 8400M GS than the 8600M GT and there have been overheating problems. The big problems are in the 14 inch Vostro 1400 that has the Nvidia 8400M GS built into the main board instead of a separate unit and heat sink used in the Vostro 1500 and Vostro 1700. The latest Vostro 1500 BIOS does address the high Nvidia temperatures though.
Hitchhiker
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Re: Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

Post by Hitchhiker »

The Nvidia Linux drivers were starting to outperform the Windows drivers. With the latest drivers Nvidia has scaled back performance in Linux to not exceed that or their Windows drivers. With older graphics cards that shouldn't matter though. The 8400M GS has 128 MB of memory and the 8600M GT has 256 MB of memory. Either one should be plenty though and work well. With the Pentium processor there really isn't any reason to use more than 3 GB of system memory, even with a 64 bit system. with the Pentium some processes run slower with 4 GB and some do not run any faster than they do with 3 GB of memory. The Core 2 Duo can make better use of more memory but due to the chip set limits, the cheapest, slowest Core 2 Duo performs nearly as well as the fastest Core 2 Duo that will work in the Vostro 1500. Especially with the ones with maximum L2 cache size.

I'm running Mint 15 right now with an external monitor hooked up through the VGA connector with a USB keyboard, mouse and printer.
Ordas
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Re: Sluggish UI/video performance on NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS

Post by Ordas »

I have the same problem with my 7800GT. How did you solve the problem?
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