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Old 04-29-2011, 07:45 PM   #7
Rob Williams
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
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Does unity feel faster?
Compared to GNOME 2.x and KDE 4.x, no, not at all. The performance is acceptable, but the draw rates of the windows, for example, when moving them around the screen, doesn't seem to be as fluid as with other DEs. To be fair, though, part of this could do with the fact that AMD Radeon graphics (and perhaps NVIDIA, I haven't tested), aren't agreeing 100% with Compiz + Unity at the moment. Wobbly Windows, for example, doesn't work well at all, and tends to crash Unity entirely (once again, something else I was going to tackle in next week's article).

Even when logging out of Unity, the transition from desktop to the login screen background is not fluid, telling me that there do exist issues that either Canonical, or the GPU vendors via an updated driver, need to fix. I am confident this poor performance is related to Unity specificially, because on my native Gentoo+KDE install, AMD's drivers accelerate both KDE and Compiz just fine.

Again, NVIDIA's drivers might prove a bit better for Unity, but I wasn't able to test this out, due to sheer inconvenience of messing with my rig (I may test it out before my follow-up article next week). Aside from Compiz, though, games and other GPU-accelerated applications ran for the most part fine, with no noticeable detriment to performance.
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