CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

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CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby stoneheart on Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:07 pm

I'm running LM 6 XFCE on a Dell Optiplex GX260 (1.8 gigahertz) with a gig of ram. I'm not doing much...Just running Firefox (about 10 tabs open) with the System Monitor up at all times. It's a very usable system, but more frequently than I would like the CPU maxes out to 100% causing a browser freeze-up. If I wait a minute or so, the CPU usage will drop and then Firefox will be usable again. RAM usage is consistently at 27% or so with just running OS. As I use Firefox throughout the day, it climbs to 50% and never dwindles, and I eventually kill X to get it back down, since I know it's related to an XFCE memory leak.

Anyway, any suggestions on the CPU utilization issue. I know this is an old computer, but it's still a Pentium 4 cpu. Surely you should be able to run Linux well on a P4!
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby Ripose on Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:41 pm

You can tweak Firefox quite a bit by typing about:config in the address bar.
Go to http://hubpages.com/hub/Optimizing-Firefox-3-Hacks-And-Tweaks for 16 tweaks.

Also System Monitor uses an incredible amount of CPU time, according to itself!
Turn it off, Firefox should improve.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby garda on Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:35 am

Ripose wrote:Also System Monitor uses an incredible amount of CPU time, according to itself!
Turn it off, Firefox should improve.

That is so true. Top -- the command-line resource monitor -- is much more reliable.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby stoneheart on Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:41 pm

Thank for the replies about Firefox and the System Monitor. I did try following the advice of the optimization article for FF, but it actually made download speeds worse for me than better, so I reverted to the default config file.

Is this CPU maxed out problem normal though? At the risk of sounding like a troll, I had no problems running XP with Firefox and the Windows Task Manager with performance stats showing on this particular system. I thought Linux was supposed to be less resource hungry than Windows... Not true?

I'm a fan of the LAMP platform, so I thought I would move to a Linux desktop as well. I'm beginning to think Linux is still best on the server. Please forgive me if I come off as contentious. Not my intent at all.

Perhaps the key is to use different software like Opera instead of trying to duplicate my Windows desktop? I can believe the Mozilla developers pay far more attention to the Windows version since more users use it.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby el_b on Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:01 pm

Flash messes up alot on mine, try disabling it.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby stoneheart on Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:15 pm

el_b wrote:Flash messes up alot on mine, try disabling it.


Thanks for the suggestion, but doing so means Youtube will not play for me, which is a deal breaker. Flash compatibility is a must have for the average computer user which is no doubt why it is pre-installed within Mint.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby Ripose on Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:52 pm

You could try Swiftweasel it is way faster and uses a lot less memory but there may be some issues with addons.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby Zwopper on Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:49 am

...and use conky as system monitor. :)
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby stoneheart on Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:49 am

Hmm, but is my assertion that a P4 with a gig of ram should NOT have this problem correct or not? I'm trying to determine whether Linux Mint/Ubuntu is simply too heavy for this equipment or not. As I said, it ran XP and Firefox fine. I realize I can use other software, but that's not really getting to the root of the issue.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby rivenought on Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:59 am

I have Mint 6 installed on a Dell OptiPlex GX150 which has a Pentium 3 in it running at 1.1 GHz along with 512 MB RAM. That machine has older specifications than yours, yet I cannot duplicate your exact issue.

However, on that machine, I have Tracker completely removed, no enhanced effects, and use the GNOME menu instead of the mintMenu. I also have a couple of the services and sessions disabled such as Bluetooth and Samba, etc. If my machine will run without any issues, I am am confident that yours will, as well. You just may need to tweak a few things.

This machine was a donation, so I have no idea how XP ran on it. To be honest, I only booted into XP to get the CD-ROM drive to open so I could put in the Mint Live CD. I quickly rebooted (never saw XP, actually), and Mint has been running on it ever since.

While not an exact answer to your post, I know a similar machine with weaker performance will run Mint 6 GNOME.
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Re: CPU Maxed Out Too Frequently

Postby pluraldave on Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:14 am

As others have said if you want a system monitor all the time switch to something else. I recommend either using conky (which takes a bit of setting up) or installing screenlets and using "sysmonitor" which is based on conky and easy to setup (but not as configurable). I have a 3GHz dual core but in LM5 using the system monitor in full screen essentially left me with 1 core. In LM6 the panel app does the same.

Switch to a lighter system monitor and then see what your CPU is doing. If it's still got issues try another browser and see if things improve.
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