mpg123 plays mp3 audio just as slow as when I'm using X.
presumably you are doing this from the console before running startx?
what's your system load straight after login?
uptime will tell you
% uptime 11:03AM up 33 mins, 6 users, load averages: 0.37, 0.26, 0.17
if any of your load averages are above one then you have some issues
% top -d1
will tell you which processes are consuming resources
if it's nothing out of the ordinary (i.e. one hungry process you can do without) then your choices are :
build a custom kernel (see handbook) man 7 tuning & buy more CPU power
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