Improve Slow Graphics on Intel Cards

By | 2009/09/11

Ubuntu 9.04 unfortunately had some significant regressions in regards to video on Intel based hardware. I have an onboard Intel GM965/GL960 and I noticed the video was a lot more choppy and glitchy after installing Ubuntu 9.04. This issue has been addressed and seems to be fixed in the latest alpha releases of Ubuntu 9.10, but if you don’t want to wait you can try to fix it yourself with the following steps. I just applied these fixes to my machine and I’ve noticed a significant improvement!

xorg.conf backup

To apply these changes you’ll need to manually update your xorg.conf file. It is good practice to make a backup of this file before you alter anything, as a broken configuration will result in a non-working graphical interface. The following two commands will 1) make a backup and 2) open the file for editing:

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg-$(date)
sudo vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Section “Device”

You’ll want to look for a section in the configuration that starts with Section “Device” and add some options within that block. The primary option you’ll want to add is the AccelMethod. You can see an example below:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Option "AccelMethod" "uxa"

You’ll need to re-login for the changes to take effect, but you should notice a difference.

Additional Options

I’ve also added a few other options to my configuration which you might want to try out. Below is the configuration I’m using:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Option "AccelMethod" "uxa"
Option "EXAOptimizeMigration" "true"
Option "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy"
Option "Tiling" "true"

Remember, before you apply any of these settings you should make a backup of the file. If one of your changes doesn’t apply properly, or isn’t supported you may end up with no graphical environment at all. You’ll only have the console available to fix / revert your changes. A backup will make “fixing” the problem much simpler.

6 thoughts on “Improve Slow Graphics on Intel Cards

  1. Karolis

    Wow! It did solve one of my most annoying bugs on Ubuntu (actually I use Linux Mint). I used to get these lines going across the screen when watching movies, especially at the parts where there's lots of action. It looked like someone has folded the screen. And now I don't get that any more. Thank you!

    Could you please explain line-by-line what each piece of code does?

  2. bob

    An easy way would be to buy a nVidia card.:)

  3. Alexw

    what if ur got a netbook?
    u cant replace a netbook videocard.
    BTW, most of the Intel videocards are in laptops

  4. brendan

    When i try and type the commands in at the top. it says target `2011′ is not a directory. and i know that i have the X11 directory because ive looked. i dont know what the problem is

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