Manjaro becomes slow, unresponsive, seemingly at random, possibly due to video

I’m running Manjaro XFCE. When using the computer, it becomes very “choppy”. The entire screen will freeze up for a few seconds, unfreeze for a second, and so on. It makes the computer completely unusable. This has happened many times. A reboot will fix it until it happens again.

I’m having trouble pinning down the problem. When the system freezes up like this, I’ll SSH into it from my laptop and have a look at htop. Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary. According to htop, the computer is just idling. There are no processes run amok, nothing hogging CPU or memory. I can work through SSH, run CLI programs and everything runs smooth, no freezing when working from a terminal like this. Yet, trying to use the DE is impossible because of its mostly-frozen behavior.

The only lead I have is that this seems to happen when I’m watching videos: either from disk or from youtube.

$ inxi -CGm
Memory:    RAM: total: 7.72 GiB used: 1.22 GiB (15.8%) 
           RAM Report: permissions: Unable to run dmidecode. Root privileges required. 
CPU:       Info: Quad Core model: Intel Core i5-3570K bits: 64 type: MCP L2 cache: 6144 KiB 
           Speed: 2059 MHz min/max: 1600/4100 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 2089 2: 1740 3: 1680 
           4: 1771 
Graphics:  Device-1: NVIDIA GF116 [GeForce GTX 550 Ti] driver: nouveau v: kernel 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.10 driver: nouveau unloaded: modesetting 
           s-res: 1920x1080 
           OpenGL: renderer: NVCF v: 4.3 Mesa 20.2.3

Try to install the Nvidia drivers:

sudo mhwd -a pci nonfree 0300

Afterwards, reboot and run

mhwd -li

to check if it has been installed properly.

Further information for configuration can be found here:

Thanks, @Wollie! I didn’t get any errors, seems to have installed with no issues. I’ll give it a few days and see if the issue is truly resolved. Funny thing is, I tried installing Manjaro with non-free drivers initially but the live image wouldn’t boot when I selected non-free drivers.

$ mhwd -li
> Installed PCI configs:
                  NAME               VERSION          FREEDRIVER           TYPE
    video-nvidia-390xx            2020.10.04               false            PCI
           video-linux            2018.05.04                true            PCI

Warning: No installed USB configs!

Also, a look at inxi output confirms…

$ inxi -G
Graphics:  Device-1: NVIDIA GF116 [GeForce GTX 550 Ti] driver: nvidia v: 390.132 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.10 driver: nvidia s-res: 1920x1080 
           OpenGL: renderer: GeForce GTX 550 Ti/PCIe/SSE2 v: 4.6.0 NVIDIA 390.132

Looks good, please let us know if it’s solving your issue.