bringing up *any* browser cripples system performance

Robert P. J. Day rpjday at
Sun Apr 6 10:24:29 UTC 2014

  (note: i'm starting a new thread for this since my original post
blaming firefox for system slowdown now seems inaccurate. the problem
appears to be more widespread.)

  the system: an asus g74s, quad-core i7 with 16G of RAM, so i'm
fairly confident that physical limitations aren't the problem. to
establish a baseline, i'm in gnome 3 with only a couple terminal
windows open, no browser. performance is snappy -- when i move the USB
mouse, the cursor moves appropriately, nice and crisp. and "top" shows
Xorg puttering along, using in the neighbourhood of 5-10%. all in all,
everything working just fine. oh, using the
3.15.0-0.rc0.git9.1.fc21.x86_64 kernel as well.

  now i start a single instance of epiphany, and i have a single tab
open on a page of my web site wiki which contains nothing but text --
that is, no gifs, no video, nothing like that. performance still seems
fine, but now i go to simply move the epiphany browser window and
response just plummets. simply dragging the browser window to a
slightly different location is painfully slow and jerky, and Xorg CPU
usage jumps to 50%. as soon as the move is over, Xorg CPU usage drops
back to normal.

  slightly different experiment -- just try to resize the browser
window by dragging a corner, again horribly slow and Xorg usage
briefly jumps to 88%. in fact, just moving the cursor *across* the
browser window causes it to slow horribly. and i tried this from a
throwaway guest account, same symptoms. (all of this matches what i
saw with firefox, which is why i switched browsers, but i see exactly
the same problems.)

  and trying to watch a youtube video is practically futile. i opened
up a second epiphany tab and popped over to interestingly, while audio
seems fine, i'm lucky to get one or two frames per second, the video
is that erratic. and while the video is playing, Xorg is up around 90%
CPU usage and keyboard response while typing this has a massive time

  this system has an nvidia chipset, and here's the relevant
nouveau-related "lsmod" output:

$ lsmod | grep nouveau
nouveau              1178761  3
mxm_wmi                12865  1 nouveau
i2c_algo_bit           13257  1 nouveau
drm_kms_helper         50413  1 nouveau
ttm                    85373  1 nouveau
drm                   288814  5 ttm,drm_kms_helper,nouveau
i2c_core               38734  6
wmi                    18804  3 mxm_wmi,nouveau,asus_wmi
video                  19456  2 nouveau,asus_wmi

  i have to think this is something related to nouveau since nothing
else seems to explain it. is there some kind of gnome setting i can
play with to see if that helps? i'm open to suggestions.



Robert P. J. Day                                 Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA


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