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View Full Version : Need help with hiccups on mini-itx system



jlc
2006-04-24, 08:41
I am trying to fine-tune a system and would appreciate any advice. I have just purchased a mini-itx computer using a Via 1GHz motherboard running WinXP Pro and using the latest Slimserver talking to a squeezebox I.

I am using the Opera browser (same problem with IE) on the TV out to display the Touch Skin magnified so that the television is showing the album art for the current playing song. This all works excellent!! The display is large enough so that everything is ledgible. The problem occurs when the web page updates and the cover art gets redrawn - a second later, the output of the squeezebox drops out for a second (runs out of buffer, I assume). I have to believe that I can get this to work. I tried lowering the priority of the browser task which did not help (in the task manager, the CPU spikes to 99% during the browser refresh). The OS will not let me raise the priority of the slim server.

Any ideas on making this run more efficient. Would Linux run better on this processor? Is there an optimum size for the cover art? Is there a way not to redraw the cover unless the song has changed? Any other ideas?

Phil Leigh
2006-04-24, 09:48
JLC - you should be able to set the priority of the slimserver service in Windows via the Task Manager. However, this has to be done manually on each slimserver restart or reboot. However, you can use the free download PRIO software to make this priority setting persistent (ie you only have to it once and then PRIO does it for you automatically after that) This works a treat for me...see here:
http://www.prnwatch.com/prio.html

jlc
2006-04-24, 15:56
Thanks Phil - Cool utility - it did let me change priority (when Windows would not) - but this did not solve my problem. It's interesting that I can cruise the web and not cause stuttering with multiple windows open. It only happens on the refresh in the slimserver browser. Again I wonder if it would be worth the trouble of learning Linux if that would be a more efficient system.

Phil Leigh
2006-04-25, 06:44
The usual things to look at are:

startup processes you don't need

windows services - disable ANY that you don't really need

use control panel system advanced performance advanced processor scheduling: background services


change the refresh frequency in slim server server settings interface to 120 seconds (from 30)

boerner
2006-04-25, 07:37
Give the excellent SlimCD a shot:

http://www.herger.net/slim/detail.php?nr=763&kategorie=slim

I believe the author uses a Mini-ITX board as well.

funkstar
2006-04-25, 08:31
If you need/want to stick to windows then have a look at slimming it down with XPLite

http://www.litepc.com

I'm planning on using it when i eventually build a CarPC

Phil Leigh
2006-04-25, 09:16
That's a good tip - I've used XPLite on a dedicated music recording PC (a DAW) in the past to great effect. If you only need the very basic kernel of Windows it's great.

jlc
2006-04-25, 11:12
XPLite rocks - I am down to minimal services and components - I am using just 8%-12% CPU when just the slimserver is running. Again, it is only the cover art refresh on the web GUI which interrupts the flow. I am thinking of making a RAM drive to just hold the cover art. Extreme, I know, but if it cures my problem for good, not so big of a deal.

I intend on trying the SlimCD soon (I downloaded it a few days ago) but am totally ignorant of Linux and so am trying to solve this under Windows first. I appreciate the help so far!

Mark Lanctot
2006-04-25, 11:27
I intend on trying the SlimCD soon (I downloaded it a few days ago) but am totally ignorant of Linux and so am trying to solve this under Windows first. I appreciate the help so far!

The good thing about SlimCD is that it's a self-contained OS-on-a-CD. I haven't specifically played with it, but the other Linux live CDs I've tried require no configuration or Linux skills, they just run. They also don't modify anything on your hard drive, so you can try them on a Windows machine risk-free.

You just put it in your optical drive and reboot.

funkstar
2006-04-25, 11:32
Does SlimCD support reading from NTFS drives? I believe there is no opensource support for writing to NTFS drives. This may affect how well the slim CD works for you if you have your music stored on NTFS volumes.

mherger
2006-04-25, 12:58
> Does SlimCD support reading from NTFS drives? I believe there is no
> opensource support for writing to NTFS drives.

There is some experimental support for NTFS writing. SlimCD should be able
to mount it read only.

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

funkstar
2006-04-25, 14:41
good to know Michael, thanks

Michaelwagner
2006-04-25, 21:41
a Via 1GHz motherboard running WinXP Pro and using the latest Slimserver talking to a squeezebox I.

We need more info.

How much memory?

What format of music are you streaming? MP3s? Something else? Is it a "native" format or are you transcoding?

The reason I ask is, an SB1 has a 5-15 second buffer, depending on format. An SB2 or 3 has something like 4 times the buffer.

So in order for your SB1 to be dropping out, the slim server must not be getting service for 5-15 seconds, much longer than any sort of refresh of artwork should be taking without some other problem, like insufficient memory or transcoding.