abysmal desktop performance - good game performance - ubuntu 16.04 / Compiz - GTX 770


I have a really annoying problem - since I spend most of my time on my workstation doing actual work - desktop performance is abysmal, while gaming performance is great. (I have not enough free time to do any real gaming, but once in a while I have time - so I need the binary nvidia drivers as well)

I am running Ubuntu 16.04 with Compiz and the nvidia-367.57 driver

My rig consists of the following hardware:
Motherboard: Z87MX-DH3-CF
GPU: GK104 (GeForce GTX 770)
CPU: Intel(R) Core™ i7-4770
RAM: 32 GiB
And an SSD of 200GiB as root (default ubuntu setup)
(and some spinning HDD’s as secondary storage - but they are generally not in use)
Screen: BenQ 32" 4K UHD display connected via DVI to the nvidia outputs

Examples of things that are “sluggish”:

  • entering text - wherever - even in the terminal is somewhat sluggish
  • everything with Chrome or Firefox (scrolling, entering text, etc)
  • moving the mouse
  • resizing windows
  • moving windows

Here you can see how sluggish re-sizing a simple window is, and also moving the same windows:

If I play any games via Steam - they perform exactly how I would expect them to perform with the same hardware running Windows.

If I use the X.Org Nouveau display drivers on Ubuntu - desktop performance is great (some bells and whistles are turned off) - but gaming is of course impossible.

I have also tried with the latest Fedora 25 workstation - and the same problems occurred there. Fine desktop performance if I am running the X.Org Nouveau display driver - abysmal desktop performance when I switch to the nvidia binary driver.

Any suggestions would be helpful - I am at a loss here! I really need both excellent desktop performance and excellent gaming performance. As it is now I must choose one or the other.

Hmm… Your video looks like the nVidia binary driver isn’t even working.

Has your GTX 770 + BenQ 32" 4K (BenQ BL3201PH?) combo ever worked correctly in the past and if so at which resolution? IIRC DVI-D DL tops out at 2560x1440.

You should be using a Display Port cable to get 3840x2160 at 60Hz from your monitor:

“1 - 3840x2160 at 30Hz or 4096x2160 at 24Hz supported over HDMI. 4096x2160 (including 3840x2160) at 60Hz supported over Displayport. Support for 4k tiled MST displays requires 326.19 driver or later.”

GeForce GTX 770 | Specifications | GeForce

Notice regarding incompatibility of certain 3rd party DisplayPort video cables

How to Choose a DisplayPort Cable, and Not Get a Bad One! - DisplayPort

Have you installed compizconfig-settings-manager and turned off Animations and Fading Windows?

Anytime I check out the latest release of Ubuntu I do the above to speed up Unity so that its performance is somewhat closer to that of MATE.


“First version that includes the fix: 375.26”

Updated 12/14/2016
Security Bulletin: Multiple vulnerabilities in the NVIDIA Windows GPU Display Driver kernel mode layer (nvlddmkm.sys) handler for DxgDdiEscape and a vulnerability in the Linux GPU Display Driver kernel mode layer (nvidia.ko) | NVIDIA

Nvidia Support | NVIDIA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Proprietary GPU Drivers : “Graphics Drivers Team” team

A tip for Linux Mint (applicable to Ubuntu as well) users who find it desirable or necessary to change from one nVidia driver version to another:

  • Via Driver Manager install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

  • Reboot

  • Then install the desired version of the nVidia binary driver

  • Reboot

First of all: thanks for an awesome answer!

I misspoke wrt cable: I have a Display port and a Dual DVI cable connected to the screen. I am currently using the dual DVI. But will re-check at a lower resolution. (I am pretty certain I already have done that check, but I am currently out and about, and don’t really remember. Will check when I get home later)

Both at the same time? If so, why?

I’ve no experience with that monitor & card but I would assume that using either the Display Port cable by itself to get 3840x2160 or the DVI-D DL by itself to get 1920x1080 (I’d expect that 2560x1440 wouldn’t scale well) would be the two most viable options.

Two different computers on the same screen. But: You are totally right - Dual DVI only supports 2560×1600. I used the wrong cable when I moved my Home Office a while ago - and after that everything apparantly deteriorated. My bad. (When gaming - I reduced the resolution - which made dual dvi sufficient)

Switched to HDMI (1.4) and things improved a lot! However: When resizing a window - it it still far from as snappy as for instance in windows - but now everything else works fairly well. Consider this topic as closed - since I am now at liberty to try other things. The MAIN issue was me using wrong cables! (Duh!)

Will also upgrade wrt security fixes etc.

Anyway: thank you very much for a good and detailed response! :) (And sorry for wasting your time with basic stupid errors like this!)

And, yes, I had installed compizconfig-settings-manager - will see if there are more to disable than what I already have disabled.

You’re driving a 3840x2160 resolution monitor via a 2GB graphics card and Ubuntu’s Unity is a tad bloated & sluggish to begin with. A lighter UI would be worth considering.

Have you tried Ubuntu 14.04.x-based Linux Mint 17.3 MATE? MATE 1.12.0 offers a much snappier UI / updated and substantially polished fork of the old Gnome 2.3 desktop formerly used by Ubuntu in version 9.10 and earlier.

As well ia32-libs and a full compliment of codecs etc are included in Linux Mint 17.3 MATE.

The only modification the by now well polished and customizable Linux Mint 17.3 MATE requires is to update its lackluster stock Linux 3.19.x generic kernel via Synaptic Package Manager to linux-generic-lts-wily or linux-lowlatency-lts-wily (in both cases kernel 4.2.x which runs well with DDR3-era motherboards although kernel 4.4.x lts xenial is available as well)

IME it’s linuxmint-17.3-mate-64bit, 4.2.0-42-lowlatency FTW.

Download the 64-bit Linux Mint 17.3 MATE .iso from any of Linux Mint’s mirrors and its checksums should match these:


d02bfaae749db966778276a8ae364843c1ffb37b3e1990c205f938bda367ad2a linuxmint-17.3-mate-64bit.iso

Linux Mint 17.3 “Rosa” - MATE (64-bit) - Linux Mint

Note. Although Linux Mint 18.1 MATE (kernel 4.4.x) has been recently released I’ve found that it’s still a bit buggy and sluggish compared to Linux Mint 17.3 Mate whose support extends to April 2019.