Saturday, August 29, 2015

Embarrassing window movement with nVidia card under Gnome 3

For a graphics card I have a nVidia GeForce GTX 660Ti. It's not hot shit new by any means but it normally does well for what I need it to. For my operating system I run Fedora 22 Linux with the Gnome 3 desktop (version 3.16.2 actually). So far nothing special, lots of people use nVidia graphic cards and lots of people use Fedora Linux. But for me this combo is downright embarrassing.

For the record I'll say games run great, emulators run great, videos play great, just about everything is great... except for the what seems to be trivial task of window movement. Window movement on my system is a gosh darned disgrace. Be it a small Gnome Terminal window or a big Google Chrome window the movement is horribly choppy. It is so choppy it makes my system as a whole look like a total slug, not the kind of thing you want to show off to your friends. This makes me so very sad. Sans video card I upgraded my entire system in March 2015. I would like to think a new system wouldn't have trouble doing something as basic as moving a window smoothly. But it does :(

OK, enough whining and complaining. I'm done bitching.

I set out to find what was wrong with my system, be it hardware or software, which leads to it's dismal desktop graphics performance. About the only thing I found was an unanswered post on and a thread on reddit about the exact problem I am having. Both were fairly current, from August 2015. I set out to dive into the reddit post so I could extract what knowledge was there. It turns out (kinda) to be a card clocking issue, where as on the desktop the card is running at it's lowest speed. I suppose this makes it impossible to get smooth window movement.

As a stopgap reddit user MAH0 posted a few lines of text to add to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-nvidia.conf file. Normally I wouldn't go about adding configuration options to my system because some dude said it would work. But after checking out MAH0's reddit overview page I was pretty confident they knew their Linux shit.

And as if a gift from the heavens the few configuration options worked as it seemed they should. My window movement was quite a bit smoother and snappy. The reddit thread can be found here and is also referenced a couple of paragraphs above.

As far as I can tell there isn't any undesirable side effects thus far. The card does run warmer as the clock speed is always set to 'Performance'. This can have an adverse effect on your video card in the long run. But as of right now I'm finally pleased.

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