I realized what he meant after I asked... DOH
Ran top, according to that, x is using 59-60% of the cpu even at idle. Compiz is using 20%
Its a nvidia card in this box, but an older one. I can find the exact model but the box is kinda buried, couple a year old card, I think 64 megs ram on it.
All I can think is that toothandnail is right,the gpu sucks so the system is sapping the cpu.
Interestingly, If I switch window managers from compiz to xfce4, the x now takes 3% cpu instead of 60%.
I've never seen this happen before with any other machines I've tried vector/compiz on.
My newer 512 meg nvidia card won't fit in this machine, its a dell gx260, it will only fit a low profile agp card.
Any suggestions before I trying a balls to the wall fast low profile agp nvidia card?
Kinda pissed to go from 3 to 2ghz machine, and on top of it worse video I guess. at least I saved the ram and hard drives from the dying beast.