Ubuntu automatically changes the CPU frequency of the system (on systems supporting this feature only of course such as Pentium M), and it is set to a default value of "ondemand" which means that the CPU frequency is changed dynamically according to the running applications demand. I discovered that this slows the system down much - as well as preserve energy which is important on laptops only - and reduce your satisfaction with the system.
To manually change this setting, you should:
- Add the "CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor" applet on any of your panels
- open the terminal and type "sudo dpkg-reconfigure gnome-applets" to allow manual configuration of the CPU frequency.
- Left-click the "CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor" applet and choose the highest frequency (don't worry :), the displayed frequencies are only those supported by your processor).
- You can do the same using the "cpufreq-selector" command from the command line.
- Enjoy the new performance :).