Use st -- a simple terminal
Stock xterm flickers and doesn't keep up. Martin Ankerl has posted the results of a terminal shootout, however he didn't include st.
Granted, he couldn't have, since he wrote the entry back in 2007. st has been the target of much dev-suckless traffic, so the 0.5 release seemed likely to be usable.
The Martin Ankerl speed metric for st and xterm on my box are:
# st time cat ~/var/st-0.5/rfc3261.txt real 0m0.076s user 0m0.000s sys 0m0.000s # xterm real 0m0.810s user 0m0.000s sys 0m0.000s
Granted, this seems similar to the ricing over at /r/unixporn; is terminal speed really important? Seems like there might be other things to optimize, unless you're having fun and learning.
Now, I try to use whatever is available, whatever is easy, whatever is default.