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#1 2006-11-06 05:04:28

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

System becomes desperately slow after some time.

And by slow, I mean enough to get grey  hair.

The machine in question is a P-IV IBM Netvista, nothing fancy.  Base installation (from Noodle CD), KDE Base, and some other basic stuff (OpensSSH, Apache...)  The problem always appear whether I do Pacman -Syu or not.

I would be tempted to suspect a hardware problem, but after a few days with Mepis installed, nothin anormal appeared.  So I reinstalled Arch, with the same annoying result.

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#2 2006-11-06 05:52:21

tardo
Member
Registered: 2006-07-15
Posts: 526

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

have you turned on DMA on your hard drive(s)? Install hdparm and run 'hdparm -i /dev/hda' substituting /dev/hda with your hardrive.

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#3 2006-11-06 15:18:13

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

Output of hdparm -i /dev/hda is:
/dev/hda:

Model=IC35L090AVV207-0, FwRev=V23OA66A, SerialNo=VNVC30G3CL5J8T
Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec Fixed DTR>10Mbs }
RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=0, SectSize=0, ECCbytes=52
BuffType=DualPortCache, BuffSize=1821kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=16
CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=yes, LBAsects=156312576
IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:240,w/IORDY:120}, tDMA={min:120,rec:120}
PIO modes:  pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4
DMA modes:  mdma0 mdma1 mdma2
UDMA modes: udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 *udma5 udma3 udma4 *udma5
AdvancedPM=yes: disabled (255) WriteCache=enabled
Drive conforms to: ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 3a:  ATA/ATAPI-2 ATA/ATAPI-3 ATA/ATAPI-4 ATA/ATAPI-5 ATA/ATAPI-6

* signifies the current active mode

And hdparm -Tt is:
/dev/hda:
Timing cached reads:   644 MB in  2.00 seconds = 322.63 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads:  164 MB in  3.02 seconds =  54.23 MB/sec

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#4 2006-11-06 16:00:16

lucke
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2004-11-30
Posts: 4,018

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

How long would "some time" actually be?

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#5 2006-11-06 17:11:03

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

The range is pretty wide, I would say anywhere between one hour (maybe less) to a day. 

In some occasions, I was "ssh'ing" in the machine through console.  While backspacing to delete characters, if I hit backspace one more time while all letter are deleted, the bell notification would be a continuous beep.  No other choice than shutting down the machine through power button.

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#6 2006-11-06 17:11:10

slackhack
Member
Registered: 2004-06-30
Posts: 738

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

is your cpu being used? memory? next time it slows down, run free -m, particularly looking at swap usage, and then run top to see if you can spot what might be using your system resources. even if something's writing to HD, top should show what's going on.

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#7 2006-11-06 17:35:54

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

Thanks, I will try that tonight.  I did not know that free -m command.  I did though try top after the system slowed down, but I always gave up because... well nothing would appear in a reasonable time.  I will reboot the machine, and start and let run top until things happen again.  On the other hand, running Uptime always returned 0.00 all accross.

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#8 2006-11-07 03:59:34

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

free -m revealed nothing.  System has been stable for about 6 hours.

Now running top, X takes 99.9% of CPU !! Now coming down to 18%.  Now everything is damn slow.  Trying to open konqueror, it keeps crashing.  Load from uptime is about 1.6.  Now everyting is pretty much frozen, except I can switch tabs in konsole.  Even the keyboard is not answering.

I would definitely like to solve this.

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#9 2006-11-07 08:11:21

Mr Green
Forum Fellow
From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,756

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

X running at 100% check your xorg.conf?

ps aux see what running [keep an eye maybe in top]

do you get same problems in console ?

Are you running stock kernel

Could be a number of things


Mr Green

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#10 2006-11-07 09:34:12

lucke
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2004-11-30
Posts: 4,018

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

Are you positive that you have enough free disk space on /root or /home (or any other partition, as a matter of fact)?

You could indeed try with a different kernel (stock if you're running ck or the other way around).

Install dstat from AUR and keep it running till you get to the zero hour. Maybe it'd reveal something fishy (excessive paging, constant disk access?). You can also run "dstat | tee logfile" to make it output to a file, in case you weren't able to see the output right away due to the circumstances.

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#11 2006-11-07 15:08:39

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

Late last night, I kept an eye on top while opening/closing konqueror.  I have a feeling artsd is part of the problem.  It was anywhere between 15-30% of CPU usage.  Suggestions ?

For Xorg.conf, not sure exactly what I should be looking at.

In console, yes I get problems as the keybord gets slow or unresponding.

As far as disk space go, I don't think that would be the problem.  Arch is installed on a 40G partition.

I will try your recommendations anyway...

As far as kernel go, I get the same problem whether I used 2.16 or 2.17 i.e. doing pacman -Syu, change initrd26 to kernel26-fallback...

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#12 2006-11-07 15:27:45

vredfreak
Member
Registered: 2004-11-20
Posts: 66

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

While it's probably not the case, is there any chance you have gamin installed?  The reason I ask is that I ran into very similar problems testing PCLinuxOS recently, and they were related to gamin and the way it was configured, especially when using KDE.


Hi.  I'm a sig.  What are you?

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#13 2006-11-07 15:43:00

Mr Green
Forum Fellow
From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,756

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

I would have thought ps aux / top would show up any high load problems

kde does take up a few cycles now & again


Mr Green

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#14 2006-11-07 15:49:45

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

vredfreak, well I am not in front of my machine, and I don't know what gamin is, I doubt it is installed.  And by the way, only kde-base is installed, but I also had same problems with full kde install.

Mr Green, while I was "playing" and opening/closing konqueror, load from top was around 2  and when all was closed but konsole, it would stay high for quite long time.  That is when I noticed artsd which I killed then things were going down slowly.  Then I did something and that silly bell notification kept going so I had to turn off the computer.

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#15 2006-11-07 15:57:56

Mr Green
Forum Fellow
From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,756

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

artsd must die!!!! lol


Mr Green

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#16 2006-11-07 16:11:12

lucke
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2004-11-30
Posts: 4,018

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

Just disable artsd (I believe that's what most of us KDE users has done anyhow) and use aplay, alsaplayer, mplayer or akodeplay (my choice) or what else as a notifications player. You'll be able to set the player somewhere in the notifications configuration pane.

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#17 2006-11-07 16:25:27

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

LOL  I will look at that.  In any case, when that bell when off at 1AM, my spouse wasn't too impressed after it woke her up  :oops:

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#18 2006-11-08 15:54:42

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

Geee the computer refused to crash last night.  Nothing I could do. 

Does anyone know how I could "stress" artsd so I can see if that is really the source of the problem?

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#19 2006-11-08 19:30:27

vredfreak
Member
Registered: 2004-11-20
Posts: 66

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

marxav wrote:

Geee the computer refused to crash last night.  Nothing I could do. 

Does anyone know how I could "stress" artsd so I can see if that is really the source of the problem?

Someone tell me if I'm wrong here, but if I remember right (haven't used KDE much in a while) you can change the output level of artsd.  Something like:

killall artsd
artsd -l 0 (where 0 is the level of output)

I think 0 is the level of the most output (debug mode).  That may help you get some information.

As for "stressing" it, open two or three multimedia applications and set arts as the audio output source, then play something through them at the same time.


Hi.  I'm a sig.  What are you?

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#20 2006-11-12 07:34:55

marxav
Member
From: Gatineau, PQ, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 386

Re: System becomes desperately slow after some time.

Finally, I gave up!! :twisted:
I flushed KDE and installed Gnome.  Works like a charm.

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