Since I upgraded to Nvidia’s beta driver series which were supposed to improve performance for KDE 4 (including the now stable version 177.80), my GNOME desktop on my system with a Geforce 6600 GT graphics card, felt a lot slower. It was most noticeable when browsing the web with Firefox. When quickly scrolling a web page with my mouse’s scroll wheel, X started eating 100% of CPU time and the image on the screen started lagging behind a lot. Also just rendering a page seemed to be much slower. Disabling smooth scrolling in Firefox, did not help at all.
Searching on the web, I found out that I’m not the only one with this problem. However, setting the InitialPixmapPlacement to 0 made the Compiz/Emerald window manager crash. I found out that setting InitialPixmapPlacement to 1 also seemed to fix the problem, without compiz/emerald crashing.
So if you also suffer from bad performance in GNOME with the proprietary NVidia drivers, create a script called fix-broken-nvidia.sh in /usr/local/bin with contents:
/usr/bin/nvidia-settings -a InitialPixmapPlacement=1
Then go to GNOME’s System – Preference menu and start up Sessions. In the startup programs tab page, click on Add, and choose /usr/local/bin/fix-broken-nvidia.sh as the command. Save the settings, and restart X. Firefox now works a lot faster for me: web pages now appear instantaneous and I can scroll web pages without my CPU getting overloaded.
Thanks to NVidia for bringing me such great performance with their new drivers. Out of gratefulness, I’ll make sure my next graphics card is an Intel or ATI one.