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Re: Slow FC4, perhaps swap is to blame

On 2/23/06, Boris Glawe <boris boris-glawe de> wrote:
John Degenstein wrote:

>Alright, to begin here are my system specs:
>Athlon 64 3200+
>512 MB PC2100 DDR
>200 GB SATA
>160 GB IDE
>Nvidia GF4 4000 (128MB)

512 MB is ok, but not very much for a 64 Bit Machine. It's not the
reason for the problem. Also the slower Memory (2100 instead of  3200)
is not the reason.

>This is a problem I have been trying to fix for several months now,
>and I am pretty sure it is the swap space on this computer has
>something to do with it.  When I first start up the computer it is
>blazing fast, and I have no problem filling 4 workspaces up with
>resource intensive programs.  But as the days and weeks wear on the
>computer gets progressively slower, to the point where simply
>switching between workspaces with only 3 or 4 programs open becomes
>incredibly slow.  The problem also seems to relate to programs that
>use Java, such as azureus and qnext, it seems to me that there is some
>kind of memory leak that builds up in the swap space over time.  Even
>after the swap space has been filled I attempt to clear it by closing
>all open programs, but this has no effect and it is beginning to drive
>me crazy.
>I did manage to find a command which I somehow got to work at least
>several times:
>swapoff -a /dev/logVol00/_something_here

This makes things faster, because you force your machine to use the
available phyical ram instead of the swap. Your "out of memory " error
messages are a corollary though if the machine doesn't have any swap space.
Your problem is that some apps eat up all your memory. FC4 should have
no problems running with 512 MB RAM and no swap.

You have to find the program, which eats up all the memory.

You can use the command top to find that out:
-    run the command 'top'
-    press 'F' (which allows you to choose the sort critieria)
-    Choose RES by pressing 'q'. (RES is the ammount of memory in MByte
which processes really use.  )
-    press Enter which will bring you back to the process list. The list
is now sorted by memory usage. See, which process uses all your memory.

I guess, that it's you X Server, which uses all the memory. In this case
it would help if you simply logged out, which causes the X Server to
terminate and to release the memory. With the next login your X-Server
will require only a few MByte RAM.

>This command alleviated my problems immediately, but then I started to
>get errors about running out of memory from new programs I was trying
>to open so I enabled swap again with the command "swapon".  Another
>possible source of my problems is the fact I am running PC2100 DDR
>rather than the minimum that my motherboard supposedly supports,
>PC2700, because of this I had to underclock some of the components on
>my mobo so that the computer would boot.
>So I guess my main question is: is the swap space in Linux messed up,
>or is it simply a problem from Java???
It's the problem of any one process, not necessarily java (though java
is also a candidate for very high memory usage).

Report us, which application needs such big amounts of memory and we can
go on in the search for a solution.

greets Boris

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Well my power went off for the first time in 2006, so my uptime was reset. Right now I am running a lot of demanding processes to try and shorten the amount of time it will take for my computer to begin slowing down again. 

Daniel: Yes, I did do "swapon -a" and it worked, but the problem recurred, and now I cannot get "swapoff -a" to work again.  I am beginning to think that swapoff does solve my problem, but I dont think it clears the swap space, so when I "swapon" the speed issues come back much faster than they normally take to appear.

I had a few more ideas with regard to programs that could be hogging my memory; gimp, the X server as suggested above, gaim, and firefox.

Ok here are a few more details for you guys.
# cat /proc/swaps
Filename                                Type            Size    Used    Priority/dev/mapper/VolGroup00-LogVol01         partition       1015800 258652  -1

Output of swap for the programs that could be eating all the resources
 3791 picomp31  15   0  352m 206m 7328 S  0.0 41.6   0:16.01 146m gimp
 3809 picomp31  15   0  402m  60m  14m S 22.7 12.1   3:45.22 342m java
 2929 picomp31  15   0  147m  48m  12m S  0.0  9.8   1:54.49  99m firefox-bin
 2692 root      16   0  224m  30m 6468 R  0.6  6.2   1:32.81 193m X
 2861 picomp31  16   0  189m  11m 5132 S  0.3  2.3   0:13.05 178m gaim
 3806 picomp31  18   0 53944  436  436 S  0.0  0.1   0:00.00  52m azureus

At this point I am not sure what to make of this data, so I guess I will just wait a few days until my computer begins to slow down heavily again.

Thanks again,
John Degenstein

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