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pepe0121 09-25-2010 03:12 AM

Low Performance, GeForce GTS 250 Dark Knight
Hi everyone,

SORRY! I should have posted this under the hardware forum....

I need someone to please point me in the right direction with this...

I'm using a supposedly nice graphics card under Ubuntu 9.10, an Asus GeForce GTS 250 1GB Dark Knight, and I think I'm getting a poor performance out of it. I realized this when "backing up" some movies I have on DVD and took more than 30 min with k9copy for each DVD.

The CPU is a AMD Phenom II 955 X4 Quad Core 3.2Ghz Black Ed. 125W AM3. Which I think is powerful enough for not to be a bottleneck.

Maybe there is nothing wrong with the graphics card and the bottleneck is somewhere else...

I provably should benchmark my system to find out if I'm not taking advantage of my hardware. I've seen phoronix has a test suite. Any other recommendations?

In case someone is curious here my lsmod output...

:~$ lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
isofs                  31620  0
udf                    81188  1
binfmt_misc            8356  1
vboxnetadp              7296  0
vboxnetflt            14344  0
vboxdrv              177320  2 vboxnetadp,vboxnetflt
vmnet                  43196  13
vmblock                12444  1
vsock                  39936  0
vmci                  54388  1 vsock
vmmon                  64524  0
arc4                    1660  2
ecb                    2524  2
rt2500usb              21152  0
rt73usb                26336  0
crc_itu_t              1852  2 udf,rt73usb
rt2x00usb              11548  2 rt2500usb,rt73usb
rt2x00lib              29756  3 rt2500usb,rt73usb,rt2x00usb
led_class              4096  1 rt2x00lib
input_polldev          3716  1 rt2x00lib
mac80211              181140  2 rt2x00usb,rt2x00lib
snd_hda_codec_realtek  203328  1
snd_hda_intel          27016  2
snd_hda_codec          75708  2 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hda_intel
snd_hwdep              7200  1 snd_hda_codec
snd_pcm_oss            37920  0
snd_mixer_oss          16028  1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_pcm                75296  3 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_pcm_oss
snd_seq_dummy          2656  0
snd_seq_oss            28576  0
snd_seq_midi            6464  0
snd_rawmidi            22176  1 snd_seq_midi
snd_seq_midi_event      6940  2 snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi
snd_seq                50224  6 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi,snd_seq_midi_event
snd_timer              22276  2 snd_pcm,snd_seq
snd_seq_device          6920  5 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq
iptable_filter          3100  0
ip_tables              11692  1 iptable_filter
x_tables              16544  1 ip_tables
cfg80211              93052  2 rt2x00lib,mac80211
ppdev                  6688  0
nvidia              9586440  36
lp                      8964  0
serio_raw              5280  0
xhci                  35200  0
snd                    59204  16 snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_hwdep,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_pcm,snd_seq_oss,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq,snd_timer,snd_seq_device
i2c_piix4              9932  0
soundcore              7264  1 snd
snd_page_alloc          9156  2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm
parport_pc            31940  1
parport                35340  3 ppdev,lp,parport_pc
dm_raid45              84228  0
xor                    15620  1 dm_raid45
hid_logitech            8412  0
ff_memless              5188  1 hid_logitech
usbhid                38208  1 hid_logitech
ohci1394              29900  0
ieee1394              86596  1 ohci1394
ati_agp                6760  0
r8169                  32160  0
mii                    5212  1 r8169
agpgart                34988  2 nvidia,ati_agp

Thank you in advance.

yooy 09-25-2010 05:45 AM


I realized this when "backing up" some movies I have on DVD and took more than 30 min with k9copy for each DVD.
if you are decrypting movies, i don't think gpu would be involved in this? anyway ubuntu don't come with nvidea drivers..

fuubar2003 09-25-2010 06:18 AM

yooy is right. Your bottleneck lies elsewhere, like:

- disk I/O: check using some simple 'dd' commands to test read/write:
$ sudo time sync;sync;dd if=/dev/zero bs=1024 count=10000000 of=/vm2/10Gb.file;sync;sync
...flushes writes to disk twice, writes 10GB file, followed by two more flush-to-disk, obviously change the destination to suit your enviro wanna see 100MB/sec or better in my opinion, but you can get away with around 80MB/sec.

- can also use hdparm to get some performance numbers:
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda

- what is the filesystem type? I prefer XFS for my media PC / fileserver's data volume which hosts DVD's in ISO format that I stream over my home network and over wireless. I mount XFS with '-noatime' argument on top of a RAID0 stripe across 2 1TB SATAII 7200 speed harddrives. I get around 100--130MB/sec disk write speed. My bottleneck is the controller and spindle speed.

- You can tweak things with 'hdparm' & 'sdparm' but it can get dangerous fast. One thing I did, disabled read cache via this on both disks:
$ sudo sdparm -s RCD=1 -S /dev/sdb
$ sudo sdparm -s RCD=1 /dev/sdb

....and then disable write-cache:
$sudo hdparm -W 0 /dev/sdb

...and turn off read-lookahead:
$ sudo hdparm -A0 /dev/sdb

**NOTE!!: before tuning, backup your data! Also change one thing at a time and then test read/write speed.

- check you total RAM versus swap using 'free -m' and 'vmstat'. vmstat should report total amt of swapping since last reboot. You want to have a swap size at minimum 1.5 times total RAM.

- could also be CPU gettin hit hard...check 'top' and 'vmstat'

Good luck!

pepe0121 09-27-2010 02:03 PM

Very interesting, these are the kind of things I was hoping to get to learn with linux!

Here are some results:


Originally Posted by fuubar2003 (Post 4108542)

$ sudo time sync;sync;dd if=/dev/zero bs=1024 count=10000000 of=/vm2/10Gb.file;sync;sync wanna see 100MB/sec or better in my opinion, but you can get away with around 80MB/sec.


0.00user 0.00system 0:00.10elapsed 7%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 0maxresident)k
64inputs+0outputs (1major+198minor)pagefaults 0swaps
10000000+0 registros de entrada
10000000+0 registros de salida
10240000000 bytes (10 GB) copiados, 90,0416 s, 114 MB/s

I changed this test to see how fast my dvd drive can copy to the hard drive

$ sudo time sync;sync;dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/home/user1;sync;sync

0.00user 0.00system 0:00.08elapsed 4%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 0maxresident)k
0inputs+0outputs (0major+199minor)pagefaults 0swaps
3066048+0 registros de entrada
3066048+0 registros de salida
1569816576 bytes (1,6 GB) copiados, 132,027 s, 11,9 MB/s

At 11,9 MB/s a DVD could be copied in about a little less than 6 min.


$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda

Timing cached reads:  7478 MB in  2.00 seconds = 3741.04 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  396 MB in  3.01 seconds = 131.40 MB/sec

Are these good values?


what is the filesystem type?
The file system is ext4, could this have a big impact in performance?


- You can tweak things with 'hdparm' & 'sdparm' but it can get dangerous fast.
I'll try this later, but I'm thinking I have some bigger bottleneck than the hard drive writing speed right now.


- check you total RAM versus swap using 'free -m' and 'vmstat'.
While decrypting the movie the total amount of swap space is 0 mb.


Could also be CPU gettin hit hard...check 'top' and 'vmstat'
k9copy opens four processes some of which reach up to 90% cpu usage sometimes but stay at 90 very short and then drop down to 30% or 50%.

I have some AMD power saving technology that keeps CPU frequency low when needed. Most of the time is at 800 MHz and but when one of the CPU's usage kicks to 90%, it changes to 3.20GHz and quickly goes back.

It doesn't seem that the CPU is getting more work that it can handle.

I'm out of ideas... You said the GPU doesn't get much work from decrypting movies. I can't figure out where the bottleneck is...

fuubar2003 09-27-2010 06:16 PM

- 11MB/sec might need to test that read with a larger file to see if your speed increases the more is read or not. Might try a different cd/dvd drive each 1x of speed is around 1.3MB/sec. If you have a 24x speed rom drive that might help.

- Turn on DMA, that usually boosts speed. To see if it is on:

# hdparm -d /dev/hda

- to turn DMA on:

# hdparm -d 1 /dev/hda

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