Did you know that setting the GDK_USE_XFT environment variable to 0 will actually make VTE run slower? In pretty much all cases Xft will be faster than core fonts if you disable antialiasing, so most of the work goes into the default font rendering technology (which is now the only available font renderer for GTK in 2.4). So you actually deoptimised gnome-terminal for your tests.
If you prefer monochrome glyphs for a particular font, try putting something like this in your ~/.fonts.conf file:
<match target="font"> <test name="family" compare="eq"> <string>Terminal Font Name</string> </test> <edit name="antialias" mode="assign"> <bool>false</bool> </edit> </match>
You will probably need to restart gnome-terminal after the change in order for it to take effect.
Alternatively, you can just copy a bitmap font in uncompressed .pcf format to ~/.fonts and use that (the bitmap font will actually be faster to render too, which should improve performance). This should make it usable from gnome-terminal and any other terminal that can use Xft/fontconfig (such as xterm).
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