Originally Posted by apaige
If you're using a compositing window manager (Compiz, KDE4, etc…), you can't really talk of 2D performance. If you're not, disable the Composite extension, just in case. Also, do you run "nvidia-settings -a PixmapCacheRoundSizeKB=65536" after starting X? That helps a lot with 2D performance. The value I'm using (64 megabytes) is probably overkill, but I don't feel like testing for hours to find the sweet spot.
I have a GeForce 8300 IGP, running Openbox and GTK2 apps, and with the recent optimizations added to the driver (among which, the aformentionned parameter), performance is pretty good. gtkperf -c 1000 runs in less than 80 seconds, scrolling in Firefox is smooth (even on pages with fixed backgrounds), etc… There's still a couple of bugs remaining of course.
can you play video from hulu.com/hd ? Can you play The Daily show episodes at full-screen?
I can under 173 .. changing nothing else, this breaks miserably with 177, 180. So the problem seems independent of window manager, cache size, etc.
Again, the only thing you need to do to massively impact performance is to swap between 173 and 177/180.. that rather definitely suggests that the nvidia driver has introduced a massive performance decrease.
Other changes may or many not help as well, but the driver itself needs fixing.