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So many Linux folks continue to ignore this reality. X11 is just plain slower than Windows. I have yet to use a Linux desktop that is snappier than Windows, even XP with all the eye candy turned on.
Did you use ATI driver on both Windows XP and a desktop manager to validate the comparison?
And when I drag windows, trails get left behind. I see flicker with Qt apps and sometimes with GTK apps.
Sound like a driver issue. Did you use generic or ATI driver?
Just to experiment, use only generic driver on both Windows XP and your favorite DE on your Linux distro and see if you statement is valid. Seen your laptops, it is clear vendors already include proprietary driver for hardware acceleration. Also, specify what kind of distro did you use on your laptop.
Addendum: ATI drivers for Linux distros users are known to perform poorly due to ATI lethargy AFAIR. Edited 2006-03-03 06:53