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XPS 13 9360 Very Slow Graphics with Ubuntu 17.04 Gnome

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XPS 13 9360 Very Slow Graphics with Ubuntu 17.04 Gnome

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Hey everyone, first post here. 

I have been looking for a new laptop for a while and decided to get the new XPS 13 9360 (i7 version) a few weeks ago. As this version comes with Windows, as soon as I got it I ran all updates (hoping to get the latest BIOS updates) and then wiped the HD clean and installed Ubuntu 17.04 Gnome. 

However, I'm having issues where Gnome either becomes unresponsive, or extremely slow. Changing workspaces, opening programs (like nautilus) or going into activities is painfully slow, and I cannot figure out what is causing the issue.

I have tried disabling all Gnome Shell extensions, but the problem eventually appears. When the problem appears the fan turns on, however I cannot see any high CPU process, and memory use is a little over half. 

Any ideas? Am I missing some important software/driver? My understanding is that all drivers for the XPS are upstream and being up to date is enough. 


All Replies
  • What kind of fps rate do you get if you run this command?

    vblank_mode=0 glxgears

  • So here's the output of glxgears

    => No issue
    29884 frames in 5.0 seconds = 5976.656 FPS
    27424 frames in 5.0 seconds = 5483.564 FPS
    32242 frames in 5.0 seconds = 6448.165 FPS
    31880 frames in 5.0 seconds = 6375.977 FPS
    32965 frames in 5.0 seconds = 6592.859 FPS
    31371 frames in 5.0 seconds = 6274.177 FPS
    32569 frames in 5.0 seconds = 6513.748 FPS

    => During issue
    21791 frames in 5.0 seconds = 4357.365 FPS
    14920 frames in 5.0 seconds = 2983.949 FPS
    14787 frames in 5.0 seconds = 2957.378 FPS
    10149 frames in 5.0 seconds = 2029.799 FPS
    27535 frames in 5.0 seconds = 5506.958 FPS
    29433 frames in 5.0 seconds = 5881.640 FPS
    28451 frames in 5.0 seconds = 5690.139 FPS

    And to give an idea of how slow it is:


  • So, after posting this I was investigating a little bit more and I noticed that the slow down seems to happen when I have electron apps running (Nylas mail and Facebook via Nativefier). I saw my FPS go down from 8k to 1k when I opened both apps together. 

    So I decided to try and change my resolution from 3200x1800 to 1080, and my laptop is now flying (as I would expect from a brand new machine). It looks like my Gnome-shell extensions stopped crashing, and I can open Electron apps without seeing any performance difference, or the CPU fan kicking in. 

    Not sure if this should be reported here, or at Gnome or Ubuntu... but it seems like an issue with HPI. 

  • Yes. I am seeing a very big slowdown too if I run xrandr to get the resolution of a true 4k on the laptop internal (from 8k FPS to 4.5K). Problem grows much bigger if I plug an external 4K monitor and size it to scale 1.2 from the original 4k resolution, I drop to 1K FPS, which makes the redraw so painful that it is not really workable.

    The 620 intel graphics doesn't have dedicated ram either, compared to the 650 pro, I am wondering if that plays a role. Moreover, I am not sure the i915 kernel module is actually optimized either... I don't see such problems on mac ;-)

  • So how are the people that are buying the developer edition of XPS 13 running Ubuntu? Dell also has the QHD model available and supported with Ubuntu.

  • Not sure if this helps but I run Ubuntu 16.04.3 on my XPS developer edition and it is very smooth. Zero problems. I did a clean install, so everything I use is upstream. Good luck!

  • I don't. I just got the laptop the "regular" way, and I am running opensuse tumbleweed (rolling distro).

  • That's a bummer. This is the first time I buy a laptop that sells with Linux, and it's the first time that I have so many issues with Linux on a laptop.

    What's the point of having high DPI if you can't use it. :-/