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Thread: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    Hello everyone. Recently I've been having a very high GPU load when watching video. This happens with both mplayer and VLC. My computer is fairly old, but I always thought of it as pretty powerful. It is a Dell Latitude E6430. As an example of the GPU load, opening a random video gets a load of around 70-80%. Resizing this video to fill the screen causes the GPU load to jump to 150%. VLC goes up to around 180%.

    One note on my computer is the video card is an old Nvidia. I used to be able to use it back when I was running some other distro, but never got it working on Xubuntu. I really don't think this is the problem, since I've been running Xubuntu for years and only recently noticed the high GPU problem.

    I did a little research and changed the output driver to "xv", that definitely reduced the load, but then I couldn't resize the video, so that's not a good solution. Right now the output driver is set to "gl (fast)."

    Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you!
    Last edited by riverhawk; May 12th, 2021 at 03:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Lab, Slovakia
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    10,366

    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    It means that ffmpeg/gstreamer doesn't recognize the graphical processor and therefore uses emulation on the CPU. You may need to reinstall/recompile the video device driver, ffmpeg and gstreamer. That will keep you busy and out of trouble for a few days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    Please give output of:
    Code:
    glxinfo -B

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    Thanks for the replies!

    @HermanAB I have experience reinstalling the video device driver and know it is not for the faint of heart! I will look into: the video device driver, ffmpeg and gstreamer and see what I can come up with.

    @Yellow Pasque here is the output from glxinfo -B

    Code:
    name of display: :0.0
    display: :0  screen: 0
    direct rendering: Yes
    Extended renderer info (GLX_MESA_query_renderer):
        Vendor: Mesa/X.org (0xffffffff)
        Device: llvmpipe (LLVM 11.0.0, 256 bits) (0xffffffff)
        Version: 20.2.6
        Accelerated: no
        Video memory: 7915MB
        Unified memory: no
        Preferred profile: core (0x1)
        Max core profile version: 4.5
        Max compat profile version: 3.1
        Max GLES1 profile version: 1.1
        Max GLES[23] profile version: 3.2
    OpenGL vendor string: Mesa/X.org
    OpenGL renderer string: llvmpipe (LLVM 11.0.0, 256 bits)
    OpenGL core profile version string: 4.5 (Core Profile) Mesa 20.2.6
    OpenGL core profile shading language version string: 4.50
    OpenGL core profile context flags: (none)
    OpenGL core profile profile mask: core profile
    
    
    OpenGL version string: 3.1 Mesa 20.2.6
    OpenGL shading language version string: 1.40
    OpenGL context flags: (none)
    
    
    OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 3.2 Mesa 20.2.6
    OpenGL ES profile shading language version string: OpenGL ES GLSL ES 3.20

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Squidbilly-Land
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu

    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    If the CPU is being used, then the GPU hardware decoding is not being used. That's why a $75 Chromebook plays 1080p youtube videos, but struggles to open a libreoffice document - the built in GPU decoder for video processing.

    So, you need a video player that enables your specific GPU video hardware decoding to be used. That will depend on the GPU driver being used AND the program used to playback the video. I had an old nvidia GPU that lost driver support, so all the video decoding had to be performed by the CPU, not the GPU. My solution was to get a 1-gen old GPU for $70, install the nvidia driver (sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall), then use mpv as the playback software. With that combination, the CPU barely does anything. The GPU does the video playback stuff for mpeg2, h.264 and h.265/HEVC videos.

    I think mpv has a GUI front-end, but I never use it. Maybe smplayer works with both? https://www.smplayer.info/en/mpv mpv lets us play youtube URLs directly, which is nice.

    mpv is a fork of mplayer. There are many things that mpv does better than mplayer, but a few things that mpv doesn't do that only mplayer does, so I use both, depending on the task.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    14,460

    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    Your video driver is broken. Please file a bug with the following command to gather all the relevant logs. Remember to copy the link here.
    Code:
    apport-bug xorg
    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    Stuff
    1. The OP has a laptop, so buying a new GPU is not the answer.
    2. The laptop probably has Intel HD4000 if google has not failed me, so it should at least be able to play h.264 smoothly/efficiently.
    3. The OP's video driver is broken, so worrying about video players is putting the cart ahead of the horse.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    13,178
    Distro
    Ubuntu Mate 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    It would have been useful to specify the exact hardware in post #1. Perhaps you'd be kind enough to post the output of <lspci -nnk | grep -A3 VGA> sometime soon.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    16

    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    Hi everyone, thanks and I really appreciate the time. I'm getting a lot out of reading through the answers.

    I filed the following bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...g/+bug/1927841

    Output from <<lspci -nnk | grep -A3 VGA> is:

    Code:
    
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation GF108GLM [NVS 5200M] [10de:0dfc] (rev a1)    Subsystem: Dell GF108GLM [NVS 5200M] [1028:0534]
        Kernel modules: nvidiafb, nouveau, nvidia_drm, nvidia
    01:00.1 Audio device [0403]: NVIDIA Corporation GF108 High Definition Audio Controller [10de:0bea] (rev a1)
    I will continue to monitor this thread, although I'm not on the computer every day, and will make replies if needed.

    Thanks again!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Beans
    13,178
    Distro
    Ubuntu Mate 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    Let us also see the ouput of <dpkg -l | grep nvidia>. How was the driver installed? Have you tried reinstalling it?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    14,460

    Re: High GPU usage when playing video (mplayer, VLC, etc)

    I see a few problems there. First off, you have the wrong driver for the Nvidia GPU installed. You need the 390 legacy driver:
    Code:
    [   21.262523] NVRM: The NVIDIA NVS 5200M GPU installed in this system is
                   NVRM:  supported through the NVIDIA 390.xx Legacy drivers. 
                   NVRM:  The 460.73.01 NVIDIA driver will ignore
                   NVRM:  this GPU.  Continuing probe...
    [   21.262527] NVRM: No NVIDIA GPU found.
    Second, the integrated Intel GPU is not showing up. Check the "Optimus" setting under the "Video" menu in the BIOS.

    Third, you're using an outdated BIOS. I'd recommend updating: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en...latitude-e6430

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