I've posted this a while back on the subreddit, but thought I may gain additional responses if I post here;

I dual-boot OpenSUSE Tumbleweed and elementary OS Freya. They both have a separate BTRFS root partition on the same drive (a SSD), and share a BTRFS home partition. SuSE runs a 4.4.3-1 kernel. Both have the same NVIDIA driver installed. In normal use, elementary OS runs just fine.

I have the game Ark installed on Steam. It runs the same binary from the shared /home regardless of which distro I boot. The game loads waaaay times slower in elementary and is noticeably jerky when played. It's smooth in OpenSUSE.

Load times:

elementary OS 13 minutes 23 seconds.

OpenSUSE 1 minute 44 seconds

Do I put this down purely to the kernel version, or do you all have some other ideas I can check to see what's holding up elementary OS?

I'm considering the version of BTRFS may be older (less efficient?) on elementary OS? I see OpenSUSE has 'Skinny Extents' enabled which I don't believe are enabled on the elementary OS installation. BTRFS on both distros detects it's on a SSD.

I've done some filecopies back and forth from /home to the various root partitions whilst on both distros, If anything, they show it's slightly slower with opensuse.

This is for a 2GB file copied from /home to /usr/bin and back

OpenSUSE timings;

  1. real 0m6.538s user 0m0.008s sys 0m3.340s <-from /home to /usr/bin

    real 0m23.147s user 0m0.016s sys 0m3.608s <- from/usr/bin to /home

  2. real 0m40.092s user 0m0.020s sys 0m3.228s

    real 1m26.616s user 0m0.012s sys 0m3.460s

  3. real 0m15.199s user 0m0.012s sys 0m3.372s

    real 0m26.966s user 0m0.008s sys 0m3.688s

  4. real 0m20.658s user 0m0.016s sys 0m3.316s

    real 0m28.842s user 0m0.008s sys 0m3.620s

elementary OS

  1. real 0m14.704s user 0m0.016s sys 0m2.416s <-from /home to /usr/bin

    real 0m22.019s user 0m0.016s sys 0m8.808s <- from/usr/bin to /home

  2. real 0m19.342s user 0m0.008s sys 0m2.864s

    real 0m26.777s user 0m0.008s sys 0m3.548s

  3. real 0m20.306s user 0m0.020s sys 0m2.832s

    real 0m34.527s user 0m0.016s sys 0m8.420s

  4. real 0m16.994s user 0m0.012s sys 0m2.636s

    real 0m17.889s user 0m0.008s sys 0m4.124s

What else can I usefully check?

  • just to update; 1. have enabled skinny extents and run fstrim on Elementary. Probably makes no difference, but Ark then loaded in 7 minutes. Haven't done repeated tests though. 2. I/O schedulers I expect will be different - I have deadline scheduler in opensuse and I believe Elementary will have CFQ.. so will change that to match next and retest..
    – RussH
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 16:26
  • OP, I'm not sure this post works in the StackExchange format. Can you narrow it down to just one question? It's a bit unclear what exactly you're asking. Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 18:52
  • Okay, so maybe this question doesn't fit too well. But it's a straightforward question, albeit not nicely packaged into 'problem with xxx subsystem'. Possibly I need to compare Elementary OS to Ubuntu 14.04 - possibly that's the only comparison that'd lead to anything useful. That said - I'm never going to install Ubuntu, waste of space distro..
    – RussH
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 19:56
  • could be the kernel? your Suse is a rolling release so the kernel is more recent than the one in Elementary
    – Alexandr
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 15:44

2 Answers 2


Okay, I updated the system ram from 4Gb (actually 5Gb, don't ask) to 8Gb and now my test case (load the steam game Ark) provides the same results - it loads in 1min 40 on both ElementaryOS and OpenSUSE.

Seems like OpenSuse just handled 'low memory' conditions better - however now they both have some legroom they're performing the same.


When a game starts up, it usually loads all relevant game textures etc. into the RAM of the GPU.

Are you absolutely sure that you got that video drivers right? I had the same issue with a Toshiba laptop. Where elementary OS was running perfectly fine, Arch was very slow. I later found out that my APU drivers were not working on the Arch's 4.3 Kernel but Ubuntu's way older kernel it worked perfectly fine.

  • Hiya, yep - the drivers are identical across both distros - the latest proprietary Nvidia driver, using DKMS. as you say, maybe there's some change to the memory management under Elementary vs OpenSuse - as the long load times would seem indicative of swapping out allot. The system only has 4Gb - will increase the memory and retry.
    – RussH
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 19:59
  • Hey, the GPU has it's very own RAM, i wasn't talking about the system ram itself. Certain GPUs use the system's RAM too, but that's not the case here, I think. If you don't really care about your elementary system, you can try to update the kernel, in the hope, that it'll fix the issues. Detailed instructions on how to do so are all over the web. Or probably change the partition system? Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 22:52

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