High CPU usage with Nvidia ION (Zbox-ND22)

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TioSolid Offline
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Post: #1
Hi everyone! Just setup my new htpc using a Zbox-ND22 (Celeron SU2300 1.2Ghz + Nvidia ION + 4GB RAM) but I noticed a very high CPU usage inside the program even while IDLE. Playing a 1080p movie using VLC (with GPU decoding enabled) uses pretty much no CPU at all so my drivers are correctly installed (at least for video decoding).

My problem is: Do I need any special setup / config to enable video aceleration into XBMC for the ION videocard? I mean, not for video playing (since enabling DXVA works just fine) but for rendering the XBMC itself. The XBMC installation is pretty much clean (only installed the Aeon skin) but the CPU usage is high even with the Confluence default skin :/

So, any ideas?
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realjobe Offline
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Post: #2
TioSolid Wrote:So, any ideas?

I believe you have win7 64bit and all HW drivers up to date.. Is your HDD in ACHI mode in bios? DXVA2 enabling makes H264 HD content possible..
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jhsrennie Offline
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Post: #3
The high CPU tends to be related to problems with the graphics drivers. I'm a little suprised you see it with an ION chipset as it doesn't happen with my ION based Revo 3610. The high CPU is generated by the menu refreshing itself, which is why the CPU drops as soon as you start a full screen video.

A debug log would give us a bit more info about your system.

JR
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TioSolid Offline
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Post: #4
Thanks for your help so far guys, here is the debug log: http://pastebin.com/bXFpqrzT

PS: The log stopped in that line because all of sudden XBMC stoppped responding while logging (it does this all the time in this computer, dunno why, maybe related to the high cpu problem?)

Not sure if important, but I got a NVIDIA Forceware System Info log too: http://pastebin.com/LdNLPYtd

For all the other system info, here is what I got:
- Windows 7 Professional 32bits Service Pack 1
- Realtek High Definition Audio driver 6.0.1.5845
- NVIDIA High Definition Audio driver 1.2.22.1

For those wondering about the specs, here is the box im using: http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-zbox-zboxh...ni-pc.html (Check the specifications tab for hardware information)

About the AHCI information, no, the Controller is running um SATA Mode according to the BIOS (AHCI is avaliable).
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>>X<< Offline
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Post: #5
I'm surprised to it happens with a ION system but then again what percentage is it running at are we talking 100% because I noticed it has a Celeron SU2300 which is only clocked at 1.2 GHz

The problem jhsrennie is talking about normally gives 100% CPU so if its not as high as that it might be normal with only a 1.2 GHz processor just depends how high we are talking ?

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TioSolid Offline
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Post: #6
Well actually the CPU usage varies between 35% ~ 75% so XBMC is using both cores (since it reaches more than 50% sometimes). Still this is really wierd since I dont think XBMC should use that much of CPU even when IDLE o.0. I didnt even add any files to my media folder to avoid refreshing / scanning so the app is pretty much totally IDLE with this CPU usage.

Does anyone here has an ION and could post which drive version you use? I think the problem lies in some configuration into the Forceware drive instead of a low-end CPU processor..
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pcdude Offline
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Post: #7
I am using the same setup (ND22 with Win 7 32 bit), and have CPU around 5-6% while playing HD video. I used the Nvidia drivers on the CD that came with the ND22. I can check the version when I get home. The Celeron is not your problem.
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>>X<< Offline
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Post: #8
pcdude Wrote:I am using the same setup (ND22 with Win 7 32 bit), and have CPU around 5-6% while playing HD video. I used the Nvidia drivers on the CD that came with the ND22. I can check the version when I get home. The Celeron is not your problem.

He's not concerned with how much CPU is being used when watching video he's concerned with what the CPU is doing whilst IDLE in the GUI if you turn on debug and then you can give him a comparison

XBMC GUI requires CPU its not the GPU that does all the work in the same way as decoding HD video

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(This post was last modified: 2011-05-23 20:37 by >>X<<.)
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TioSolid Offline
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Post: #9
Thats right. If you can take a look and see how much CPU XBMC is using while IDLE'ing in your computer that will be of great help too Big Grin
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TioSolid Offline
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Post: #10
Bump Nod
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Philmatic Offline
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Post: #11
I'll take a stab at this...

What I think you're seeing is how XBMC was designed (At least how it's designed right now). Even when you aren't doing anything on the screen, XBMC is still updating and refreshing the contents of the GUI 60-100 times a second (Depending on whether you have VSYNC on or not). They are aware of it and are looking into moving to an event driven model where the screen won't update unless an event is triggered that pushes the update, this will dramatically reduce the amount of CPU power utilized on a idle screen. However, this is a LONG ways off and isn't even on the map, it's only been briefly talked about.

The wiki has more detailed information:

XBMC Wiki Wrote:XBMC was originally written for the XBox game console, which is a single-threaded system (not a multi-tasking OS like Windows). As such, it was written in a game loop, rather than being event-driven. This means that the screen refreshes as fast as possible in order to "feel" responsive to the user. What this boils down to is that while sitting on the idle screen, XBMC is still repainting the screen at 60-90 frames per second (as can be seen by the FPS number if debug mode is enabled). This takes up a lot of processor power, because the "game" is still running, even though you may not be doing anything with it.

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(This post was last modified: 2011-05-25 00:27 by Philmatic.)
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jhsrennie Offline
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Post: #12
All true, but the menu screen doesn't always use 100% CPU. In fact it doesn't use 100% CPU on any of my test PCs. I've long suspected it was down to the video hardware/driver, but have never been able to prove it.

JR
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>>X<< Offline
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Post: #13
I guess 100% CPU will depend on the system but I was specifically talking about the busy wait problem on vertical blank sync

I have a low powered single core system that I test builds on which has an ATI card that suffers from this if you check the screenshot its the same system except bottom shot is with the advanced setting added to stop the busy wait on vertical blank sync

http://imageshack.us/m/59/7630/xbmce.png

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TioSolid Offline
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Post: #14
Well, I guess I can workaround this problem using a bit of overclock, but which setting exaclty did you enable to lower the CPU usage?

EDIT: Setting "Blank Vsync" to always on helped A LOT already. CPU usage pretty much lowered to half. Not sure if this is what >>X<< was talking about but for those having the same problem, this is a bit of a fix ;P
(This post was last modified: 2011-05-26 03:52 by TioSolid.)
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>>X<< Offline
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Post: #15
No I was referring to an advanced setting but I would be surprised if it would help here as its normally ATI cards not nvidia

http://forum.xbmc.org/showpost.php?p=481453&postcount=9

At least its lower now I would expect its near what most people have now ?

If you search on here your see idle values can vary quite a bit from system to system cant remember what my parents asrock ion was I'll have to take a look next time I'm round there

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