OpenSuse 12.1 - ATI Radeon HD 4350 - terribly slow

Recently I did a fresh install of openSuse 12.1 32-bit with KDE both at work and at home.

Both pc’s use the opensource graphicsdrivers installed by Yast during installation.
Both pc’s have desktop effects enabled.
Both pc’s have 4GB of RAM.

At work I’m using an Intel Core2duo with Intel onboard graphics.
Everything is fast and snappy, Firefox starts in a couple of seconds,
it’s ajoy to work with this pc.

At home I’m using an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Processor and an Ati Radeon HD 4350.
KDE is terribly slow, Firefox needs 16 seconds to start, also when I start it
for the second of third time.

Under the hood, everything is fast, for example using GCC in the console.
Boottime is less than 11.4.

Fortunately, I have still 11.4 installed on a separate partition but I like
the newer KDE and also the newer GCC.
With 11.4, KDE is much more responsive, though not as snappy as the cheap
onboard Intel graphic chips…

I guess there are some regressions in the opensource radeon driver but I don’t
want to install the proprietary driver.

So, any advice apart from buying a cheap (fanless) NVidia card?
Disabling desktop effects makes (almost) no difference.

I always bought NVidia cards in the past but I switched to Ati when
they became more opensource-friendly and provided technical details to the community.
NVidia never did.

Now I’m stuck with a sluggish 6-core…

Moral of the story, next time I buy a mainboard with Intel onboard graphics…

Display info:

Vendor: ATI Technologies Inc
Model: ATI RADEON HD 4350
2D driver: radeon
3D driver: Unknown Gallium (7.11)

System:

3.1.10-1.9-desktop #1 SMP PREEMPT Thu Apr 5 18:48:38 UTC 2012 (4a97ec8) i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux

Seriously, why would you even arrive at the conclusion that the sluggishness of your home system has anything to do with the Radeon driver??

There is absolutely zero in your post description that would lead me to think that the graphics system (and by extension, and your whipping boy, the Radeon driver) were the primary suspect for your home system’s woeful performance problem(s). Let me also add to your current sample size, of n=1, by noting that I run a 12.1 system with a much lessor AMD cpu and slightly older gpu* and the system is HIGHLY RESPONSIVE**.

You haven’t elucidated what comprises the underlying disk hardware in the two systems. For example, does your work machine have an SSD, while your home system runs on an old PATA HDD from 2002?? What about the output of dmesg or other log files – what clues have they provided you that something might be seriously amiss in either software or hardware ??

  • Though, offhand, I’m not sure of the actual underlining RVxxx family of your gpu, and it may actually be an equivalent rebrand to my own

** I do run with DE off, as, amongst finding a few bugs with some apps I run, I did find some performance degradation with it enabled, though it was of a level of perception that was quite minor and not anywhere near 16s type delays that you described, nor do I believe most people would have even been bothered by it – they’d be more content with the fancy DE stuff on.

With 11.4, KDE is much more responsive.
On my home pc, 12.1 is much slower than 11.4.
Hardware is the same, both are using the opensource radeon driver, both are 32-bit versions of openSUSE.
(I installed them on separate partitions so I can still boot 11.4.)

So, my question is, why is 12.1 much slower than 11.4 on a particular pc?