Performance Issues with AMD64 3000+, 1.5GB RAM, FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE

Mark Kane mark at
Thu Aug 25 03:16:58 GMT 2005

Hi everyone. Last night I finally worked out some issues with my AMD64 
machine and got it up and operational. It's an AMD64 3000+ with 1.5GB 
RAM, and five 7200RPM hard drives (total of 720 gigs) running FreeBSD 
5.4-RELEASE (amd64). When doing testing and initial 
install/configuration of this machine (compiling apps and such) I didn't 
notice this too much, but now that I'm actually using it this is 
starting to be noticeable.

The issue I'm having is that every minute or two, I will hear some 
stuttering in any audio/video playback (will see the video freeze if 
video), and my mouse will freeze for a few seconds as well while this 
happens. It seems to happen more frequently if I have something doing 
disk I/O, such as downloads running, untarring files, or torrents. Right 
now, I have the following applications open:

Mozilla Firefox (Only about 10 tabs, as opposed to my normal 40-50 tabs)
Mozilla Thunderbird

I initially noticed it on this machine when untarring a 20MB tar.bz2 
file, and I figured with it untarring that a little audio stuttering 
would be expected. Then today, I started noticing it when doing normal 
things. All I'm doing now is just light browsing with XMMS and X-Chat 
open, and maybe one download going.

While my AMD64 was out of commission, I was using an Athlon XP 2000+ 
with 1GB of RAM and an old slower hard drive. It ran FreeBSD 5.4-RELEASE 
as well. I noticed the same stutters in audio/video playback and 
freezing of the mouse there, although it was much more frequent.

Here is a top output from just now:

last pid: 59025;  load averages:  0.07,  0.08,  0.12 

59 processes:  1 running, 58 sleeping
CPU states:  4.3% user,  0.0% nice,  2.3% system,  1.6% interrupt, 91.8% 
Mem: 841M Active, 245M Inact, 194M Wired, 72M Cache, 162M Buf, 2300K Free
Swap: 3045M Total, 96K Used, 3045M Free

So basically I'm wondering if there are any OS optimizations or anything 
I am missing to reduce this? I'm not sure why on this type of hardware 
with not even using half of what I normally would have open (at least 
Firefox tabs wise) it would cause so many hiccups like this.

Thanks in advance for any opinions or suggestions.


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