6.3-PRERELEASE desktop system periodically freezes momentarily

Wayne Sierke ws at au.dyndns.ws
Tue Jan 8 09:26:11 PST 2008

FreeBSD 6.3-PRERELEASE #5: Sat Dec 29 19:25:43 CST 2007 i386

I've noticed that this system is freezing periodically, for anywhere
from around a fraction of a second up to perhaps 1.5 seconds, and
occurring on average about twice a minute, but with no particular
pattern - i.e. it could happen twice in fairly quick succession, or not
for 40-50 seconds.

By running glxgears the problem is easily witnessed, also by maintaining
the mouse in constant motion, and it was originally noticed during
normal use when, e.g. the system momentarily becomes unresponsive to
keyboard input. I've now also witnessed it by running top with a delay
setting of zero and displaying system processes. The shorter delays are
not easily spotted but the longer delays are. This was seen both in a
terminal session and at a console.

Using top also revealed another interesting phenomenon - the 'top'
display freezes for very brief periods, probably less than 0.1s, but
quite regularly, at around once per second. Seeing this prompted me to
realise that glxgears stutters in what appears to be a corresponding
way. This behaviour (the freezing itself) is not entirely consistent,
either. Just while I've been writing these paragraphs I've noticed
glxgears' behaviour range from stuttering at around once per second, to
around twice per second, to not doing it (perceptibly) at all.

I now realise that I've actually witnessed this behaviour in glxgears
for quite some time, extending back into the distant history of this
system, which may include 6.0-RELEASE but would certainly include a few
different revisions in the 6.x series. It has been always
source-upgraded since the original install. I'd always just thought that
it was some hiccough in the graphics system.

Ports were recently upgraded so it is now running xorg-7.3_1,
gnome-2.20.2, nvidia-driver-96.43.01. The system has been up for 5 days
now and is quite loaded up with applications at the moment and is
normally left running. Currently it has running (on gnome): evolution,
firefox-devel (with some dozens of windows and tabs open), xmms, gimp,
xchat, eclipse-devel, gedit, a handful of terminal sessions. It's
running a custom kernel - mainly raid and unused network drivers removed
- mods listed below.

The hardware is a Gigabyte GA-8SQ800 motherboard (SiS), with a 2.4GHz
P4, 1.5GB DDR, nVidia MX440 AGP graphics, RTL-8139 network, AHA-2940
SCSI controller (for a scanner), 2 x 80GB ATA disks.

This system has also had a tendency at times to crash when switching VTs
between console and xorg. This problem has varied in consistency with
the different incarnations of OS and nvidia-driver versions and hasn't
yet occurred with this latest update.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions to help identify what's going on



diff of kernel config with GENERIC:
-# cpu		I486_CPU
-# cpu		I586_CPU
-# device		eisa
-# device		ataraid		# ATA RAID drives
-# device		atapifd		# ATAPI floppy drives
-# device		amr		# AMI MegaRAID
-# device		arcmsr		# Areca SATA II RAID
-# device		asr		# DPT SmartRAID V, VI and Adaptec SCSI RAID
-# device		ciss		# Compaq Smart RAID 5*
-# device		dpt		# DPT Smartcache III, IV - See NOTES for options
-# device		hptmv		# Highpoint RocketRAID 182x
-# device		hptrr		# Highpoint RocketRAID 17xx, 22xx, 23xx, 25xx
-# device		rr232x		# Highpoint RocketRAID 232x
-# device		iir		# Intel Integrated RAID
-# device		ips		# IBM (Adaptec) ServeRAID
-# device		mly		# Mylex AcceleRAID/eXtremeRAID
-# device		twa		# 3ware 9000 series PATA/SATA RAID
-# device		aac		# Adaptec FSA RAID
-# device		aacp		# SCSI passthrough for aac (requires CAM)
-# device		ida		# Compaq Smart RAID
-# device		mfi		# LSI MegaRAID SAS
-# device		mlx		# Mylex DAC960 family
-# device		pst		# Promise Supertrak SX6000
-# device		twe		# 3ware ATA RAID
-# device		plip		# TCP/IP over parallel
-# device		cs		# Crystal Semiconductor CS89x0 NIC
-# device		ed		# NE[12]000, SMC Ultra, 3c503, DS8390 cards
-# device		ex		# Intel EtherExpress Pro/10 and Pro/10+
-# device		ep		# Etherlink III based cards
-# device		fe		# Fujitsu MB8696x based cards
-# device		ie		# EtherExpress 8/16, 3C507, StarLAN 10 etc.
-# device		lnc		# NE2100, NE32-VL Lance Ethernet cards
-# device		sn		# SMC's 9000 series of Ethernet chips
-# device		xe		# Xircom pccard Ethernet
-# device		ural		# Ralink Technology RT2500USB wireless NICs
-# device		firewire	# FireWire bus code
-# device		sbp		# SCSI over FireWire (Requires scbus and da)
-# device		fwe		# Ethernet over FireWire (non-standard!)

# vmstat -i
interrupt                          total       rate
irq1: atkbd0                      256273          0
irq6: fdc0                             8          0
irq14: ata0                      4009537          8
irq15: ata1                      2778519          6
irq16: nvidia0                  18466724         41
irq18: pcm0 ahc0               325275270        727
irq19: rl0                       4942307         11
irq20: ohci0                    69879564        156
irq21: ohci1                      993537          2
irq23: ehci0                           1          0
cpu0: timer                    894649288       2000
Total                         1321251028       2953

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