Mailing List Archive

Re: Bad desktop performance, I think
Oh, well. It's been quite a while. I wanted to reply earlier, but then
kmail crashed and I lost the mail. ThenI was quite busy with other things,
and so on.

Mansour Moufid wrote:

> Hello all,
> On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 6:07 AM, Alex Schuster <>
> wrote:
> > I am a little disappointed by the performance of my system. mplayer
> > sometimes stutters a little during the calculation phase of emerge
> > -DpN @world, swfdec-player does so even more. Well, sometimes even
> > without emerges, I guess this flash player is not coded so well.
> >
> > My system is not the fastest, silence and low power consumption was
> > more important for me. Still, it should be fast enough I think. I
> > have an AMD Athlon(tm) Dual Core Processor 4850e CPU (using -march),
> > 4GB of memory, an 1.5 TB drive. The whole system is encrypted
> > (aes-xts-plain) and LVMed. While the LVM overhead should be small,
> > encryption of course creates some extra load. /var/tmp/portage is an
> > unencrypted tmpfs volume though. kernel is 2.6.31-tuxonice. I'm
> > running KDE4 with desktop effects enabled (running ati-drivers), X
> > itself takes about 30-40% of CPU time according to top. mplayer
> > itself needs less than 20%.
> I also use LVM encryption, and mplayer plays 720p at 30 fps just fine
> with only the integrated Intel graphics and 1 GB of RAM. So, I suspect
> you are just not using the full potential of your CPU.

Yeah, playing movies without stuttering should be no problem nowadays.

> If you haven't already: grep flags /proc/cpuinfo; add any of the
> {mmx,mmext,sse,sse2,ssse3,3dnow,3dnowext} flags there along with
> "custom-cpuopts" to your mplayer line in /etc/portage/package.use;
> then re-emerge of course.

I did that, but did not see much of a difference.
Anyways, this would be a workaround only, the real problem must be
somewhere else. With movies it's only most annoying. But also amarok is
interrupted. Any playing Quake3 when updatedb kicks in is no joy, too.

> With 4GB if RAM you should probably also set swappiness to a lower
> value than default.

Thanks, that was a good idea! This made the system more responsive when
switching desktops. The drawback, however, is when starting memory-
intensive applications, this takes really really long then.

> That's all I can think of for now, good luck!

This weekend I installed Gentoo again, this time with 64bit. And all those
problems are just gone. Even with [io]nice, emerges do not make mplayer
stutter in any way. Weird, because the setup is nearly identical - same
packages, same make.conf (except for compiler flags), nearly identical
kernel .config. I just removed 2GB, with the remaining 2GB the system is
running much better than with 2.75GB and 32bits.

Whatever - I'm happy now.