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Performance drop off over time + high memory usage

Ubuntu @ July 1, 2011   Views:0


Bit of a subtle problem I've got with Ubuntu on laptop - it's been present since installing 10, and remains with 11. I've tinkered and fiddled and played around with it, but to no avail, so hoping someone can give me a steer as to improve things.

Using an ancient IBM T41 with Intel 1.7ghz, 512mb RAM, and ATI card. When it had XP performance was pretty constant over any given period.

On Ubuntu, however, performance degrades over the course of several hours - runs beautifully at start up in the morning, but after four or five hours it's like the chain has fallen off.

For example, if I have the laptop on all day, then want to listen to Internet radio or music library in the evening, I have to restart it - otherwise Banshee just won't play smoothly. Jittering, repeating 1/2 second bits of music (sometimes for 60 seconds or more). Problem is worse if I have put the laptop into hibernate at some point.

Sometimes it gets so bad that the machine just hangs. It will eventually start running again, but it can take 20 minutes or more for it to sort itself out.

One thing I've noticed when trying to figure out why this is happening is that System Monitor reports a typical Memory Usage of 84% at idle! For example, right now, with just five tabs in Firefox open, Thunderbird, and System monitor it's showing 88.8% usage. On XP it was rare to exceed 75% unless playing games. CPU usage is broadly similar to XP under most conditions - about 30% right now, spiking to 60% when flicking between programs.

The other point on Memory usage is that it remains almost entirely stable - i.e. between 84 and 92% under almost any conditions.

It seems to my simple mind that the system isn't using the RAM efficiently, or is caching badly (hence the restart restoring performance).

Programs which appear to make it worse are Banshee (much worse), but if I open Banshee and connect to a radio stream, the performance noticeably drops off when changing tabs on Firefox, or swapping to Thunderbird from Firefox - but the Memory usage remains at 85%

Very confused!

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance



Moved to General Help at OP request.



It's really frustrating because Ubuntu is running slower the XP SP3 - which is ridiculous.

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