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Thread: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

  1. #1
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    NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    Problem description:

    I use a four year old laptop as a media center to playback movies on my TV Screen. It shows fine at the beginning, but after about 20 or 30 minutes the movie starts to stutter more and more.
    I usually use the standard movie player (totem) or VLC for playback. Both show the same symptoms. When I check with top, the movie starts with VLC or totem showing around 25% CPU usage, after 20 Minutes it suddenly surges to 80%, then later to around 120% (using the second CPU), and the stuttering begins. Killing the movie player and restarting the movie does not help. I have to reboot to get again the normal performance.

    As the movie plays all right for about 20 minutes, I think the hardware is generally powerful enough to do the job. I read a few threads about similar problems (but there, Xorg eats the CPU) for example here: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/u...in-nvidia.html , but those vblank etc. settings did not solve the problem.

    Two things I have in mind that could cause this, but I'm not wise enough to narrow them down:
    - thermal problem, leading to reduced speed at the graphic card, in turn increasing CPU load
    - Software problem, in analogy to a memory leak a "CPU-leak" ?

    Software:

    • Ubuntu Precise 64 bit
    • NVIDIA post-release updates driver (I changed to that one to see if it helps, but did not change anything)
    • VLC or totem for movie playback
    • using Xinerama to extend to both screens - I could not get the external screen working via HDMI without Xinerama.



    Hardware:

    Lenovo N500 with NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS , using an external SAMSUNG TV via HDMI

    Any help, infos, input or tests I could do are appreciated

  2. #2
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    When the stuttering begins, anything interesting in /var/log/messages or dmesg? Did you consider polling memory/cpu/disk usage every 30 sec to see what gives? Can you monitor the card temp when playing?

    Dedoimedo
    Linux Systems Expert / Systems Programmer, LPIC-1, LPIC-2(WIP), GSEC, CCHD, CCHA
    http://www.dedoimedo.com - A place to learn a lot about a lot!

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  3. #3
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    Are the players configured to use "VDPAU?"

    You can try installing smplayer from the repositories and go to Options > Preferences > Video and choose "vdpau" as the output driver. Does that help?
    If you ask for help, please have the courtesy to check for responses and thank the people who helped you.

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  4. #4
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    Thanks Dedoimedo, I will try that - just, I'm not a real linux crack.
    I know how to use top or sysmon to check on CPU and Memory consumption. Disk usage I did not consider important, but is a good hint.
    I have no clue however how I could monitor the card temperature - any idea of the command necessary to get to that info?

  5. #5
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    Thanks also, SeijiSensei

    I will try to download it and test, but I hope it is not too big, as internet where I live is not exactly speedy. I will come back with more info then.

  6. #6
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    This should work:
    nvidia-settings -q gpucoretemp

    Dedoimedo
    Linux Systems Expert / Systems Programmer, LPIC-1, LPIC-2(WIP), GSEC, CCHD, CCHA
    http://www.dedoimedo.com - A place to learn a lot about a lot!

    Pangolin Review | Ringtail Review | Linux Games | My books

  7. #7
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    I watched a movie yesterday and managed now to analyze in more depth:
    During the movie playback:

    • CPU load starts at around 25 % for totem, the rest of programs together <10%
    • GPU temperature starts at about 70 C and rises till about 90 C in 10 minutes, were it stabilizes
    • I do not know if it stabilizes because of thermal equilibrium or because it starts to offload work to the CPU
    • CPU load increases at this point to around 80%, movie still runs fine
    • but then after around 20 minutes, CPU-load goes through the roof: I saw totem at 110% and pulseaudio at 80%. Of course the movie is not enjoyable anymore at this point and the machine is very sluggish.
    • dmesg (see attachment) shows throttling back of CPU because of overheat condition
    • I put a pack of frozen peas under the laptop which reduced CPU-load of totem to a (still high) 80% and thus was able to watch the movie till the end.



    Conclusion: It looks like this is not a software problem after all. I guess the CPU cycles needed to playback the movie do not change at all, just the CPU gets throttled more and more.


    Now I will have to check the cooling of my laptop... where I live, humidity is often as low as 5%, and I guess this makes it harder to transport heat by air. I will see if there is any dust accumulated inside.

    Any comments to my dmesg? There are a few things I don't understand there: hpet increased? Where can I find that machine error log?

    And one last thing: Is there a command that shows CPU temperature similar to the one above for the GPU?


    Thanks for all the answers
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by mupi_foerster; February 14th, 2013 at 07:27 AM. Reason: Added another question

  8. #8
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    If it's a laptop, that temperature is off the roof !! You definitely need to clean the fan and heat sink. It is usually shared by video card and CPU, so the temperature are basically the same after they reach such level (maybe CPU core is even higher !). I guess that CPU goes to 120+ % because frequency is scaled down by the BIOS to avoid frying it, which is a good thing...

  9. #9
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    Hi mupi_foerster.

    In order to use video hardware acceleration on VLC, you need to install this library:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install vdpau-va-driver
    And then enable hardware acceleration on the settings.

    Could you post the result of this command?
    Code:
    vainfo
    (install it if you don't have it already).

    Regards.

  10. #10
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    Re: NVIDIA: Movie playback leading to higher and higher CPU usage

    I cleaned the fan, but there was not much dust... of course, most technical specs say humidity should be somewhere between 10% and 90%, so I fear I can't blame the manufacturer. I put some duplo-bricks from my kids underneath now, hope they help to get more air into the system.

    Thanks for the further remarks, I installed the vdpau -driver, but can't find any settings for it to enable hardware acceleration. What is the command needed?

    vainfo returns this:

    Code:
    libva: VA-API version 0.32.0
    Xlib:  extension "XFree86-DRI" missing on display ":0.0".
    libva: va_getDriverName() returns 0
    libva: Trying to open /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/dri/nvidia_drv_video.so
    libva: va_openDriver() returns 0
    vainfo: VA-API version: 0.32 (libva 1.0.15)
    vainfo: Driver version: Splitted-Desktop Systems VDPAU backend for VA-API - 0.7.3
    vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
          VAProfileMPEG2Simple            :    VAEntrypointVLD
          VAProfileMPEG2Main              :    VAEntrypointVLD
          VAProfileH264Main               :    VAEntrypointVLD
          VAProfileH264High               :    VAEntrypointVLD
          VAProfileVC1Simple              :    VAEntrypointVLD
          VAProfileVC1Main                :    VAEntrypointVLD
          VAProfileVC1Advanced            :    VAEntrypointVLD

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