View Full Version : CPU 100% and gaps in music

Clive Chater
2004-06-09, 03:09

I have been reading through the emails about CPU 100% usage and gaps in
playback and have been nodding my head in agreement and saying to myself "me
too". So I thought I would add my comments too.

I have a library of about 34,000 tracks - all mp3, mostly >= 192Kbps. All
of my own CD rips which I listen to the most are at 320Kbps. I used to run
SlimServer an old SCSI server of about 300MHz with 192MB of RAM with a 500GB
external firewire Lacie BigDisk as the storage of the MP3s. The OS was
Windows Server 2003. I have a SliMP3 and a wireless Squeezebox.

I know what most of you are thinking now, the PC's spec is far to low, but
honestly, until recently (maybe a couple of months ago) it was working just
fine; no drop outs in the music, no 100% CPU usage under normal music
playback etc. The only time there were problems was using the web interface
in which case the displays both went blank whilst the web page was being
created. I just didn't use the web interface much and it wasn't a problem.

I think the problems started when I upgraded to version 5.xx onwards.
Recently, music scans were taking a massive 22 hours to complete, during
which time I could not listen to any music at all and the displays were
completely blank all this time. After the scan had eventually finished, the
time and date would appear on the two displays. I could then play music for
a while, but then for no reason the CPU would run at 100% for sometimes 10s
of minutes with no music. This has now become completely unacceptable.

I decided to move my server to an old laptop with a higher spec. This time
a Sony Vaio SR1K with 256MB RAM and a 500MHz processor, also with the
external 500GB firewire drive as storage, OS Windows XP. This I have on a
shelf above my desk and I can monitor the processor levels as I am working
on another PC. This overcomes the excessive long periods without music, but
doesn't get rid of them. If I restart the SlimServer service it takes about
1 hour to do a rescan, during which if I play music it is interrupted many
times. After the scan however, music plays mostly fine and I can now use
the web interface with now problem. BUT, I still get gaps in the music for
a few seconds, sometimes about 1 minute. This I am finding quite
unacceptable. It happens about once every 30 minutes. I certainly cannot
listen to a whole album with a gap someone within one of the tracks. When
SlimServer is streaming music normally, the CPU is running at about 4-10%.
When a drop out occurs, the CPU is running at 100% or 0%. At the 100%
spikes it is definitely SlimServer using the bandwidth. But at 0%, nothing
is using the CPU of course. But also nothing responds on the PC either, not
even the start menu. The 0% drop outs only last a few seconds, but is very
annoying none the less. If SlimServer is not running on that PC, the 0%
lock-ups do not happen. I have removed every piece of software from this PC
expect Windows XP and SlimServer. I have also disabled the Indexing service
and the artwork scan within SlimServer. But still it happens. This PC has
more than enough power to stream MP3s and whilst using the web interface.
So what is happening within SlimServer every so often to cause the gaps?

I have also noticed that even when I am not playing music, both the
Squeezebox and SliMP3 are off, just displaying the time and date, it sill
happens. I know this because I see the display on my SliMP3 go off. At
that moment the CPU on the SlimServer PC is running at 100% or 0%. After a
few seconds the time and date reappear on the SliMP3 display and the CPU
goes to about 1-2%.

I can guarantee the wireless network is not to blame in my case as others
have suspected with similar issues. I know this because, 1) my wired SliMP3
and my wireless Squeezebox are affected at the same time, and 2) I have
tried it with the Squeezebox wired also.

I am finding this more and more annoying as time goes by. I cannot help
thinking that novice users of this must be slightly disappointed with their
purchase if they do not know why this is happening.

All said, in general I am very happy with my setup. I think the
SliMP3/Squeezebox is a great product in general. It is just a little let
down by this issue with the SlimServer software. I will be a very happy
person when this is resolved.