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-   -   Slow OS, suspecting issue in hardware (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-hardware-18/slow-os-suspecting-issue-in-hardware-4175422103/)

bennypr0fane 08-14-2012 05:59 PM

Slow OS, suspecting issue in hardware
 
Hello,
My Computer is slow and I believe I've pretty much ruled out the possibility of heavy software being the reason, but let's take a look first:
It's a desktop PC from Acer I bought in 2006, 2GB RAM on a AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPU, NVidia GeF 6100 on-board graphics. The specs here aren't totally accurate, but you get the picture more or less.
The RAM may be a bottleneck, as it's only DDR @333 or 400 MHz I think, and the motherboard is a cheap, no-name component. I bought it with Win XP, which is now excruciatingly slow even after a fresh install (but I don't remember whether or not it was like that from the start and maybe I've just gotten used to more speed after my first Linux and a newer, second PC).
I have Linux Mint Debian Edition on this machine with LXDE desktop running off of a second, new harddrive.
To compare, my other PC (not the one I'm worried about) is an unexpensive, 11,6" sub-notebook with a Pentium U5400 dual core unit at 1,2 GHz, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. Both Win 7 and Lubuntu 12.04 run much faster and more smoothly on it, but I'd kinda expect the old desktop to perform better or at least equally. Opening applications usually has a few seconds delay, even the Terminal or Thunar file manager take 1-3 seconds
That is in LXDE, and it has me suspecting one or the other hardware component might be failing, or ripe for replacement anyway - if it's still worthwhile.

I'd appreciate it if someone could help me narrow it down, or if you think that kind of sluggishness is normal for a PC like that...

TobiSGD 08-14-2012 06:17 PM

Especially with LXDE a PC in that performance class should run just fine. Slow downs have from my experience mostly two issues:
1. Problems with the harddisk. Easily testable with the manufacturer's diagnosis tool.
2. Overheating. Every PC, even in the cleanest rooms, will accumulate dust in its cooling system. So the cooling system needs maintenance and has to be cleaned from dust from time to time (I usually do that every 5-6 months on my systems). An overheating system causes the CPU to clock down and reduce the voltages to cool down, which can cause a sluggish system.

wpeckham 08-14-2012 08:39 PM

add one ...
 
I have also seen symptoms of apparent slowness when IPV6 was enabled but not in use. I would check your network settings, and if you are not using IPV6 disable it. This may or may not help, but cannot hurt.


BTW: This has been observed in several distributions of Linux, as well as four versions of Windows. Something I find quite disturbing. It seems inconsistent, as two machines on the same network, same hardware, and same distribution may not both exhibit this behavior.

bennypr0fane 08-15-2012 09:04 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiSGD (Post 4754251)
Especially with LXDE a PC in that performance class should run just fine. Slow downs have from my experience mostly two issues:
1. Problems with the harddisk. Easily testable with the manufacturer's diagnosis tool.

Grrr, the diagnostic tools from Western Digital are only available only for Windows, and Win can't see my HDD because it's entirely ext4.
Any chance I could test it with a Linux tool?

Quote:

2. Overheating. Every PC, even in the cleanest rooms, will accumulate dust in its cooling system. So the cooling system needs maintenance and has to be cleaned from dust from time to time (I usually do that every 5-6 months on my systems). An overheating system causes the CPU to clock down and reduce the voltages to cool down, which can cause a sluggish system.
I've thought of that too, and I did remove a quantity of dust from the cooler fan. I may not have gotten to what actually makes th CPU heat up though. There is a cube of long fins/lamellas sitting on top of it (like the ones in the attachment), and they're so long I couldn't get only halfway down with my brush, so there may be still some dust left in there right on top of the CPU. I tried to remove the lamella cube, but it seems to soldered on there, or else, I wasn't able to unhinge it. is it supposed to come off? Could it be the residual dust in there is slowing me down?
Thanks, Ben

bennypr0fane 08-15-2012 09:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wpeckham (Post 4754299)
I have also seen symptoms of apparent slowness when IPV6 was enabled but not in use. I would check your network settings, and if you are not using IPV6 disable it. This may or may not help, but cannot hurt.


BTW: This has been observed in several distributions of Linux, as well as four versions of Windows. Something I find quite disturbing. It seems inconsistent, as two machines on the same network, same hardware, and same distribution may not both exhibit this behavior.

It seems The IT world is not ready yet for entirely switching to IPv6 just yet, it seems lots of hinderances still in the way.
How do I find out whether it's enabled on how do I switch it off in Linux Mint/Debian and Win XP?

TobiSGD 08-15-2012 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bennypr0fane (Post 4754685)
Grrr, the diagnostic tools from Western Digital are only available only for Windows, and Win can't see my HDD because it's entirely ext4.
Any chance I could test it with a Linux tool?

Bootable ISO image here: http://support.wdc.com/product/downl...sid=30&lang=en

Quote:

I've thought of that too, and I did remove a quantity of dust from the cooler fan. I may not have gotten to what actually makes th CPU heat up though. There is a cube of long fins/lamellas sitting on top of it (like the ones in the attachment), and they're so long I couldn't get only halfway down with my brush, so there may be still some dust left in there right on top of the CPU. I tried to remove the lamella cube, but it seems to soldered on there, or else, I wasn't able to unhinge it. is it supposed to come off? Could it be the residual dust in there is slowing me down?
You can try to clean it from dust with carefully using a vacuum cleaner (on the lowest power setting), but better would be to get a can of compressed air to blow the dust out.
Normally you should be able to remove the heatsink (the "lamella cube"), there should be a lever that has to be moved, but you should do that only if you are familiar with cleaning up the thermal paste and applying new one. At first I would just clean out the dust, boot the system and have a look at the temperatures.

bennypr0fane 08-22-2012 09:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiSGD (Post 4754693)

This diagnostic tool say I need to get a different version of Data Lifeguard (no idea which one) and should contact WD support to do so. I submitted a support ticket but haven't heard back in a week (their goal is supposedly to respond in 1 day). :-(
Can you recommend Linux tools for diagnosing the harddisc? Which parameters should I try to check?

Quote:

You can try to clean it from dust with carefully using a vacuum cleaner (on the lowest power setting), but better would be to get a can of compressed air to blow the dust out.
Normally you should be able to remove the heatsink (the "lamella cube"), there should be a lever that has to be moved, but you should do that only if you are familiar with cleaning up the thermal paste and applying new one. At first I would just clean out the dust, boot the system and have a look at the temperatures.
I managed to blow out some more dust with a bike pump.
I think I'll leave the heatsink in place for now and try it last if everything else is inconclusive, given that I have no idea about the thermal paste.
About the CPU temperature, how can I tell if a measured value is too high (i.e. will cause the CPU to clock down)?
I've looked around in my distro's repos and also tried some tools I had installed, but no "conclusive results" yet.
Thanks, Ben

unSpawn 08-22-2012 10:05 PM

Anything else? Like any interesting in 'dmesg' or /var/log/* after booting the machine?

bennypr0fane 08-23-2012 03:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by unSpawn (Post 4761689)
Anything else? Like any interesting in 'dmesg' or /var/log/* after booting the machine?

here's the output from dmesg, I have no idea if it's interesting though :scratch:
What exactly should I look for in /var/log/* ?

business_kid 08-23-2012 04:13 AM

Just looking at dmesg, the irq messages look seriously weird. Can we see the o/p from
Quote:

cat /proc/interrupts

unSpawn 08-23-2012 05:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bennypr0fane (Post 4761856)
What exactly should I look for in /var/log/* ?

Warnings, errors and anything anomalous in /var/log/syslog, /var/log/kern.log, /var/log/messages. If you don't like to wade through those manually then running your logs through Logwatch will present you with an easy to read report highlighting whatever Logwatch thinks needs addressing.

bennypr0fane 08-23-2012 09:46 AM

Thanks everyone for looking into this!

Quote:

Originally Posted by business_kid (Post 4761890)
Just looking at dmesg, the irq messages look seriously weird. Can we see the o/p from

Voilą:

Code:

cat /proc/interrupts
http://pastebin.com/r0VQp2S2

bennypr0fane 08-23-2012 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by unSpawn (Post 4761953)
Warnings, errors and anything anomalous in /var/log/syslog, /var/log/kern.log, /var/log/messages. If you don't like to wade through those manually then running your logs through Logwatch will present you with an easy to read report highlighting whatever Logwatch thinks needs addressing.

I'm not sure if I used it the right way (i.e. if all the relevant logs are included... etc.), but here's the output logwatch gave me: http://pastebin.com/0JHvKKtJ
It's not that I don't like to read through stuff, it's just that I don'z haver the knowledge of what's normal and what I have to consider anomalous :study:

unSpawn 08-23-2012 12:07 PM

Thanks. The report is free of any errors as far as I can see. Please revisit earlier posts and ensure you answered all their questions and that you've gotten an answer to all your subsequent questions.

business_kid 08-23-2012 12:08 PM

@bennypr0fane:

I don't know what to make of it - for disks you have sata_via, sata_nv and ata something.
What's your chipset? Is there 2 disk controllers?


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