slowing during session

  • Thread starter J. P. Gilliver (John)
  • Start date

J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

XP Home, netbook (Samsung NC-20).

The machine is more than adequate for my needs - the only time I notice
otherwise is when rendering video (doing a save from VirtualDub with
compression on). In particular, it renders videos - from hard disc or
YouTube - perfectly smoothly.

At the start of a session. However, _something_ eats processor power, so
that I find video playback (from disk or website) slows, to the point of
unusability. Usually it does it by dropping frames - i. e. plays at the
correct speed, but in jerks (the sound is usually fine). Restarting the
PC fixes it - for a while.

Task Manager doesn't show anything unexpected present. I have complete
system scanned (Avira) for viruses. I recently got round to putting in
the 2G memory module to replace the original 1G (I bought it at the same
time as the netbook, being under the impression that XP needed more than
1G - most of the time however I think it doesn't), but it doesn't seem
to have made much difference; Task Manager shows usually well under a
third of it (few hundred M) in use anyway, even when the slowdown
occurs, so I don't think it's a memory leak, which I'd thought it was.

Skype with Teamviewer also grinds down after a few minutes (I use this
combination to help various blind friends): oddly, it's Skype that seems
to suffer, Teamviewer not doing too badly.

Thoughts?
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G.5AL-IS-P--Ch++(p)[email protected]+Sh0!:`)DNAf

New research shows that three to five cups of coffee a day will cut the risk of
Alzheimer's by about 60 per cent. There is also good evidence that tea is good
for memory. - Michael Mosley interviewed in Radio Times, 7-13 February 2009
 
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T

Tim Meddick

You could try opening your Window's Task Manager (right-click on an empty
area of the Taskbar and choose Task Manager) and keep it open at the start
of your session.

Click on the "Processes" tab and then on the column-heading "Mem Usage" so
that it arranges the values under it from the largest at the top, downward.

In this way, you can do your own investigation on what processes are taking
the most memory at any one time.

It may seem obvious that it is going to be your Video rendering software
(when in use) that takes up the largest proportion of memory, but by
analysing the output of Task Manager in this way, you may see what other
applications / processes are directly in competition with it - and if that
process is an essential one or one that you could either do without or
postpone in some way...

==

Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

Tim Meddick said:
You could try opening your Window's Task Manager (right-click on an
empty area of the Taskbar and choose Task Manager) and keep it open at
the start of your session.

Click on the "Processes" tab and then on the column-heading "Mem Usage"
so that it arranges the values under it from the largest at the top,
downward.

In this way, you can do your own investigation on what processes are
taking the most memory at any one time.
That's exactly what I do, except I click (twice) on the "CPU" column -
or try to (it's sluggish to respond when CPU usage is "100%") - you'll
see mention of Task Manager in my original post below. When I said "Task
Manager doesn't show anything unexpected present", I was looking at Task
Manager.

Sorting by the Mem Usage column, as you suggest, doesn't show anything
that unexpected: at this moment it's showing Firefox 135M, Skype 60M,
plugin-container (I presume part of Firefox) 58M, explorer 46M, RTHDCPL
24M, svchost 24M, Connect (part of my internet software) 12M, svchost
(yes, again) 12M, and nothing else over 10M - if I look on Performance
tab, the PF Usage column is sitting at a total of about 626M, rising to
about 631M or 632M when the CPU Usage column goes up to 100% - and I
have 2G installed (1833320 K total [I guess that's shared video memory
accounting for the 1.8 rather than 2M], 1053xxx available, according to
the Performance tab bottom), so I don't _think_ it's a memory usage
problem.
It may seem obvious that it is going to be your Video rendering
software (when in use) that takes up the largest proportion of memory,
It's not actually a problem; I don't often actually do much video
rendering, so when I do I just leave it to it. (Though if we do discover
that something else that doesn't need to be running is responsible,
obviously it will be nice if VirtualDub runs more quickly.) It's when
videos _playing_ (I use VLC for that) grind to a halt, or the
Skype/Teamcenter combination does so, that it's a real pain. (When it
gets really bad the PC becomes unusable for practical purposes - it's
even quite difficult to restart.)
but by analysing the output of Task Manager in this way, you may see
what other applications / processes are directly in competition with it
- and if that process is an essential one or one that you could either
do without or postpone in some way...

==

Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)
Indeed: thanks for trying to help.One of the things that doesn't help of course is that switching the
focus from and to Task Manager seems to itself affect CPU usage (leaving
Task Manager running visibly).Stop press: I've just discovered that viewing the page
http://www.flixxy.com/traverse-city-lipdub-2011.htm (in Firefox) pushes
CPU usage to 100% - even if I pause the video embedded in it, it stays
around 80%, and things are sluggish (keyboard, mouse clicks); closing
that page (leaving Firefox open) drops CPU usage to mostly below 10%.
However, saving that video to local disc and playing it (and typing
this), the video plays perfectly smoothly, and CPU usage is between 5x
and 6x%, with everything (keyboard etc.) responding quickly enough. (I
get no sound, either when viewing the video in the web page or as a
downloaded file, but I suspect that's a separate matter and particular
to this file. Sound is working - including from videos - OK otherwise.)

It's not just web pages that seem to kill the CPU, but they often seem
to be the culprit. But I don't think that's the whole story!

--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G.5AL-IS-P--Ch++(p)[email protected]+Sh0!:`)DNAf

"So, I take it you've ... been with a man before?" "I'm a virgin. I'm just not
very good at it." Topper Harley & Ramada Thompson (Charlie Sheen & Valeria
Golino), in "Hot Shots!" (1991).
 
T

Twayne

In
J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
XP Home, netbook (Samsung NC-20).

The machine is more than adequate for my needs - the only
time I notice otherwise is when rendering video (doing a
save from VirtualDub with compression on). In particular,
it renders videos - from hard disc or YouTube - perfectly
smoothly.
At the start of a session. However, _something_ eats
processor power, so that I find video playback (from disk
or website) slows, to the point of unusability. Usually
it does it by dropping frames - i. e. plays at the
correct speed, but in jerks (the sound is usually fine).
Restarting the PC fixes it - for a while.
Task Manager doesn't show anything unexpected present. I
have complete system scanned (Avira) for viruses. I
recently got round to putting in the 2G memory module to
replace the original 1G (I bought it at the same time as
the netbook, being under the impression that XP needed
more than 1G - most of the time however I think it
doesn't), but it doesn't seem to have made much
difference; Task Manager shows usually well under a third
of it (few hundred M) in use anyway, even when the
slowdown occurs, so I don't think it's a memory leak,
which I'd thought it was.
Skype with Teamviewer also grinds down after a few
minutes (I use this combination to help various blind
friends): oddly, it's Skype that seems to suffer,
Teamviewer not doing too badly.
Thoughts?
There are some rules of thumb when doing video work to keep in mind. The
more physical disk drives you have, the better if this is professional
software.

Put scratch pads and the pagefile on a drive other than the one the program
itself is running on. Put them each on a separate drive if you have enough
physical drives; it allows more parallel-like work to get done faster.
The other thing is, pay attention to disk fragmentation. Wherever the
scratch-pads/work files are located fragments at a very fast speed. In my
case, a home movie type thing will push the fragmentation well beyong 50%
sometimes, making it necessary to defrag after each rendering run.

If you're using MS Movie Maker it won't be as bad, nor will it if all you're
doing are short runs or streaming video where you deviate from the 30 or
29.xxx frame rates. I've played with Movie Maker a couple times and was
surprised, though it has a lot fewer features, at how well it didn't
fragment the drive.
Here, I have three drives inside the case and three external drives, one
for backups, the others for movie staging. 1 hr hi res videos can eat up a
terabyte in a surprising hurry. Someday I'll have to look into blue ray I
think.

HTH,

Twayne`
 
T

Tim Meddick

From what you've said, there are two suggestions that come to mind -

1). Download and use Sysinternal's Process Explorer - it's a similar
program to Window's Task Manager, but far more detailed. For instance,
when viewing the equivalent to the "Performance Graph", you can hover the
mouse over any point in the CPU Usage graph and it will tell you which
process was using the most CPU at that point in it's recent history.

2). Add " *path*\Firefox.exe " to your "exclude processes" list in your
installed Anti-Virus software - plus any other files and processes that are
normally found in your Task Manager list at the time you are
experiencing the problem.

The fact that you mention the impact in performance just switching to Task
Manager incurs, is not something you would expect to have to accept as
normal operation - given that you have 2GB of RAM installed. You should
only be experiencing such problems if you are running XP with only 512MB of
RAM (documented*)


Download "Process Explorer" from the link below :
http://download.sysinternals.com/Files/ProcessExplorer.zip


*Known Issue - XP, WUpdates with 512MB RAM
http://www.windowskb.com/Uwe/Forum.aspx/windowsxp/280275/Win-up-date-uses-so-much-Ram-my-computer-becomes-un-responsive
MowGreen - 19 Aug 2010 17:51 GMT


==

Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)




J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
Tim Meddick said:
You could try opening your Window's Task Manager (right-click on an empty
area of the Taskbar and choose Task Manager) and keep it open at the
start of your session.

Click on the "Processes" tab and then on the column-heading "Mem Usage"
so that it arranges the values under it from the largest at the top,
downward.

In this way, you can do your own investigation on what processes are
taking the most memory at any one time.
That's exactly what I do, except I click (twice) on the "CPU" column - or
try to (it's sluggish to respond when CPU usage is "100%") - you'll see
mention of Task Manager in my original post below. When I said "Task
Manager doesn't show anything unexpected present", I was looking at Task
Manager.

Sorting by the Mem Usage column, as you suggest, doesn't show anything
that unexpected: at this moment it's showing Firefox 135M, Skype 60M,
plugin-container (I presume part of Firefox) 58M, explorer 46M, RTHDCPL
24M, svchost 24M, Connect (part of my internet software) 12M, svchost
(yes, again) 12M, and nothing else over 10M - if I look on Performance
tab, the PF Usage column is sitting at a total of about 626M, rising to
about 631M or 632M when the CPU Usage column goes up to 100% - and I have
2G installed (1833320 K total [I guess that's shared video memory
accounting for the 1.8 rather than 2M], 1053xxx available, according to
the Performance tab bottom), so I don't _think_ it's a memory usage
problem.
It may seem obvious that it is going to be your Video rendering software
(when in use) that takes up the largest proportion of memory,
It's not actually a problem; I don't often actually do much video
rendering, so when I do I just leave it to it. (Though if we do discover
that something else that doesn't need to be running is responsible,
obviously it will be nice if VirtualDub runs more quickly.) It's when
videos _playing_ (I use VLC for that) grind to a halt, or the
Skype/Teamcenter combination does so, that it's a real pain. (When it
gets really bad the PC becomes unusable for practical purposes - it's
even quite difficult to restart.)
but by analysing the output of Task Manager in this way, you may see what
other applications / processes are directly in competition with it - and
if that process is an essential one or one that you could either do
without or postpone in some way...

==

Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)
Indeed: thanks for trying to help.One of the things that doesn't help of course is that switching the focus
from and to Task Manager seems to itself affect CPU usage (leaving Task
Manager running visibly).Stop press: I've just discovered that viewing the page
http://www.flixxy.com/traverse-city-lipdub-2011.htm (in Firefox) pushes
CPU usage to 100% - even if I pause the video embedded in it, it stays
around 80%, and things are sluggish (keyboard, mouse clicks); closing
that page (leaving Firefox open) drops CPU usage to mostly below 10%.
However, saving that video to local disc and playing it (and typing
this), the video plays perfectly smoothly, and CPU usage is between 5x
and 6x%, with everything (keyboard etc.) responding quickly enough. (I
get no sound, either when viewing the video in the web page or as a
downloaded file, but I suspect that's a separate matter and particular to
this file. Sound is working - including from videos - OK otherwise.)

It's not just web pages that seem to kill the CPU, but they often seem to
be the culprit. But I don't think that's the whole story!

--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985
MB++G.5AL-IS-P--Ch++(p)[email protected]+Sh0!:`)DNAf

"So, I take it you've ... been with a man before?" "I'm a virgin. I'm
just not
very good at it." Topper Harley & Ramada Thompson (Charlie Sheen &
Valeria
Golino), in "Hot Shots!" (1991).
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

Twayne said:
In
J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
XP Home, netbook (Samsung NC-20).
[]
There are some rules of thumb when doing video work to keep in mind. The
more physical disk drives you have, the better if this is professional
software.
The slowdown I suffer is _not_ when rendering video: that does indeed
occur slowly, but I expect that based on the limited power of the
machine. I shouldn't have mentioned it; I should have stopped at "the
machine is adequate for my needs", but my honesty demanded that I
_mention_ that I am aware it is underpowered when I'm rendering video,
since that _does_ occur slowly. But rendering video is something I don't
do much of. The problem I'm posting about is that it sometimes slows
down in all _other_ applications, such as just _playing_ video files
(from the 'net, such as YouTube, _or_ from a local file) - _which it can
normally [such as after a reboot] manage fine_.
Put scratch pads and the pagefile on a drive other than the one the program
itself is running on. Put them each on a separate drive if you have enough
physical drives; it allows more parallel-like work to get done faster.
The other thing is, pay attention to disk fragmentation. Wherever the
scratch-pads/work files are located fragments at a very fast speed. In my
case, a home movie type thing will push the fragmentation well beyong 50%
sometimes, making it necessary to defrag after each rendering run.
I did say it was a netbook (-:! [Single core processor. 2G RAM.]
If you're using MS Movie Maker it won't be as bad, nor will it if all you're
doing are short runs or streaming video where you deviate from the 30 or
29.xxx frame rates. I've played with Movie Maker a couple times and was
surprised, though it has a lot fewer features, at how well it didn't
fragment the drive.
I'm in the 25 frame rate world (-:. [Though a lot of files _are_ at 30
odd, of course.]
Here, I have three drives inside the case and three external drives, one
for backups, the others for movie staging. 1 hr hi res videos can eat up a
terabyte in a surprising hurry. Someday I'll have to look into blue ray I
think.
[]
If I ever get into doing a lot of video work, I won't be trying to do it
on this netbook!

Thanks for trying to help though! Off to try Tim Meddick's suggestions
....
 
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J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

I've just discovered )-: that YouTube videos (possibly only some) now
won't play smoothly from the web: the sound is fine, but the video is
jerky. If I download them, the files play fine and smoothly. This is a
change: they used to play OK on the YouTube page on screen. So it's
obviously something I've done recently. I've upgraded from Firefox 3.x
(3.6.something I think it was) to 5.0.1, though I was told that was
actually faster. Certainly, Process Explorer's System Information tells
me it's Firefox (and/or plugin container) that's pushing the CPU usage
up to 100% when I am viewing such a page.

I wondered, is it the Flash plugin - I have "Shockwave Flash
10.2.152.26", last updated 2011-February-19, and I think the slowdown is
since then, so I don't _think_ that's it, unless it interacts badly with
Firefox 5. (I also wondered if there's any alternative plugin for
Firefox to play Flash, but I can't see one.)

This is depressing: I now have to download any video clip I want to see
smoothly.
 
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T

Tim Meddick

Try disabling Flash content in Firefox, primarily just to see if by doing
so, you avoid these CPU-locking events...

You could always then, maybe, use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome on the
odd occasions that you want to view a site that depends on Flash video
(e.g.; You-Tube, etc.,).

There's no actual setting in FireFox to disable Flash, however, you might
try this free Add-On available as a quick download (it gives you the choice
to view (override) any particular Flash video object).

Flashblock 1.5.15.1 download:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flashblock/

==

Cheers, Tim Meddick, Peckham, London. :)
 

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