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Old 10-14-2010, 08:18 PM   #1
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How to know if hardware is SLOWING down your computer.

I bought a new computer a few months ago.
AMD Quad Core 3.0 GHz, 4 Gig Ram, 1 Gig Video card.

All was working fine with Ubuntu 10.04.
Then I installed a PCI Firewire card from my old computer because I needed to make some videos from my DV video camera.

My computer worked and everything seemed to be fine. The firewire card worked, and I could do everything as per usual. Except for watching HD Videos.

After capturing my video from my cam corder I un-installed the PCI FireWire card, and I can now watch HD Video again .

This is the error I got when watching a HD Video with the PCI Firewire card installed.
I launched vlc from a terminal.

$ vlc movie_1920_12000-hd.wmv
VLC media player 1.0.6 Goldeneye
[0x1b1a4b8] main libvlc: Running vlc with the default interface. Use 'cvlc' to use vlc without interface.
QPainter::begin: Paint device returned engine == 0, type: 1
QPainter::begin: Paint device returned engine == 0, type: 1
QPainter::begin: Paint device returned engine == 0, type: 1
[0x35e8768] pulse audio output: No. of Audio Channels: 2
QPainter::begin: Paint device returned engine == 0, type: 1
[????????] x11 video output error: X11 request 42.0 failed with error code 8:
BadMatch (invalid parameter attributes)
[0x1f88338] avcodec decoder error: more than 5 seconds of late video -> dropping frame (computer too slow ?)
[0x1f88338] avcodec decoder error: more than 5 seconds of late video -> dropping frame (computer too slow ?)
[0x1f88338] avcodec decoder error: more than 5 seconds of late video -> dropping frame (computer too slow ?)

" (Computer to slow ?) "

My question is - how would a person know that the PCI card was slowing down the computer if they hadn't experienced the computer before installing the PCI card.
One of the reasons I upgraded to a faster computer was to watch HD Video.
Now I am wondering if it was the PCI card that was slowing down my old computer. Pentium-4 single core 2.8 GHz, 256 MB Grfx card.

Is there diagnostic software for Ubuntu/Linux for this type of thing.

Old 10-14-2010, 09:15 PM   #2
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Why not look at the specs required for the old PC to run that graphics card. Could be there was insufficient memory to run the card at a good speed.
Old 10-15-2010, 12:53 AM   #3
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Video Lan Client is the worst media player because it has a lot of layers that can fail or cause a performance penalty. Use Mplayer because it is a lot better. If you insist on using VLC, you need to turn off all its post-processing. Though your hard drive throughput could be too low for handling the video if the codec is DV. If the codec is H.264 or MPEG-4, then your setup should be able to handle it

Depending how many expansion cards or how many add-on hardware that you installed can slow down the computer. Any hardware can slow down the computer by conflicting with other devices with out you knowing it is slowing you down or not giving you any problems. There is no diagnostic to figure out what is causing conflicts. For performance, it is best to have less hardware than more.
Old 10-15-2010, 12:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mazinoz View Post
Why not look at the specs required for the old PC to run that graphics card. Could be there was insufficient memory to run the card at a good speed.
It's not the grfx card that is causing the problem it was the PCI FireWire.

The thing is I would not of known it was the FireWire card if the computer came with that card.

So I would like to know if there is a way to diagnose this type of problem. The card might of caused some other problems too. But I was only aware when I tried to play a HD movie.

I believe this PCI card was reducing the through put of the BUS however my computer never warned me , nor do I have the tools/knowledge of how to check for such an error.
Old 10-15-2010, 02:42 AM   #5
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One thing straight off. Installing a 5V card slows down the pci, and everything attached to it. Faster cards are 3.3V or mebbe less - I just haven't looked at that stuff in a while.
hdparm -tT /dev/sda with that card in, & out.
Old 10-15-2010, 05:58 AM   #6
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Hi Guys,

It seems I posted to soon.
When I removed the PCI FireWire card I could play the HD Video, which made me conclude the the problem was the FireWire card however the problem has happened again and the card in not in the computer.

There seems to be another issue with my computer.

This is a bit annoying, I don't know what I've done to make my computer not work. Also it was working this morning and now tonight it not again.
I have rebooted of course and the problem still persist.

Thank you all for your help.

This is the output from a terminal when I play the movie with mplayer.

$ mplayer movie_1920_12000-hd.wmv
MPlayer SVN-r1.0~rc3+svn20090426-4.4.3 (C) 2000-2009 MPlayer Team
mplayer: could not connect to socket
mplayer: No such file or directory
Failed to open LIRC support. You will not be able to use your remote control.

Playing movie_1920_12000-hd.wmv.
ASF file format detected.
[asfheader] Audio stream found, -aid 1
[asfheader] Video stream found, -vid 2
VIDEO: [WVC1] 1920x1080 16bpp 1000.000 fps 0.0 kbps ( 0.0 kbyte/s)
open: No such file or directory
[MGA] Couldn't open: /dev/mga_vid
open: No such file or directory
[MGA] Couldn't open: /dev/mga_vid
[VO_TDFXFB] Can't open /dev/fb0: Permission denied.
[VO_3DFX] Unable to open /dev/3dfx.
Requested video codec family [wmvvc1dmo] (vfm=dmo) not available.
Enable it at compilation.
Opening video decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg's libavcodec codec family
Selected video codec: [ffvc1] vfm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg WVC1)
Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 128.0 kbit/9.07% (ratio: 16002->176400)
Selected audio codec: [ffwmav2] afm: ffmpeg (DivX audio v2 (FFmpeg))
AO: [pulse] 44100Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
Starting playback...
VDec: vo config request - 1920 x 1080 (preferred colorspace: Planar YV12)
VDec: using Planar YV12 as output csp (no 0)
Movie-Aspect is 1.78:1 - prescaling to correct movie aspect.
VO: [xv] 1920x1080 => 1920x1080 Planar YV12
A: 7.1 V: 6.0 A-V: 1.113 ct: -0.043 62/ 62 144% 6% 1.3% 50 0

**** Your system is too SLOW to play this! ****

Possible reasons, problems, workarounds:
- Most common: broken/buggy _audio_ driver
- Try -ao sdl or use the OSS emulation of ALSA.
- Experiment with different values for -autosync, 30 is a good start.
- Slow video output
- Try a different -vo driver (-vo help for a list) or try -framedrop!
- Slow CPU
- Don't try to play a big DVD/DivX on a slow CPU! Try some of the lavdopts,
e.g. -vfm ffmpeg -lavdopts lowres=1:fast:skiploopfilter=all.
- Broken file
- Try various combinations of -nobps -ni -forceidx -mc 0.
- Slow media (NFS/SMB mounts, DVD, VCD etc)
- Try -cache 8192.
- Are you using -cache to play a non-interleaved AVI file?
- Try -nocache.
Read DOCS/HTML/en/video.html for tuning/speedup tips.
If none of this helps you, read DOCS/HTML/en/bugreports.html.

No bind found for key 'c'. 4% 5% 1.5% 241 0
A: 21.4 V: 14.6 A-V: 6.808 ct: -0.034 319/319 157% 5% 1.7% 305 0

MPlayer interrupted by signal 2 in module: decode_video
A: 21.5 V: 14.6 A-V: 6.846 ct: -0.034 320/320 157% 5% 1.7% 306 0
Exiting... (Quit)
Old 10-15-2010, 11:04 PM   #7
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I've solved the problem.

After I installed the FireWire card my PC couldn't play HD Video because my computer was running slow. I removed the FireWire card first thing in the morning and I could play HD Video.
Later on in the day I couldn't play HD video.

I rebooted my computer into Window 7 , and I still had the same problem.
Then I removed my Grfx card and used the on-board grfx and that didn't fix the problem either.

However since I installed the FireWire card I could hear a tapping noise coming from my computer about every 2 seconds.

I turned off the computer and removed the cover, and booted my computer to find the source of this tapping noise.

On my hands and knees with a torch I discovered that the FAN on the CPU Heat sink wasn't spinning.

I must of moved a cable that had a cable tie into the blade of the fan, thus stopping it from spinning , and therefor stopping my CPU running at full speed.

I moved the cable and the FAN is started to spin and I could even watch HD video with the on-board grfx.



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