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geekt

Xserver freezing when high CPU usage

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I've had the issue of Xserver freezing when there's high CPU usage since install, but I can't seem to find exactly where the problem is. Everything freezes up. Can't use the mouse. Can't even switch out of Xserver to kill it. As a result I usually switch to the console when emerging so it doesn't freeze, but Thunderbird randomly spikes in CPU usage causing a freeze, or occasionally Flash.

Searching online suggested it may be a driver issue or Xserver issue, so I switched to current for intel drivers & Xserver, but the problem persists. I kept with current for the intel drivers & Xserver though, because it seems to work a little better & therefore freeze less.

I also saw a few things online suggesting that low swap space could be causing it. Despite having 8 gigs of ram, my swap space was somewhat full, so I increased it to 4 gigs from the standard recommended 2. It seems to run better, but the problem persisted.

I also tried messing with niceness a few times, but that just changed the behavior of the freezing a bit. At one point I was able to get the freezes to not effect the mouse, but I still couldn't do anything.

I'm using qtile, so perhaps it is a bug in that, but I want to try to ensure I didn't mess anything up.

I think perhaps it might be a setting in the kernel config that I missed.

 

.config > http://pastebin.com/TcS0uEg1

 

make.conf > http://pastebin.com/RnjNgGHc

 

Running an Intel Quad Core i5 integrated graphics.

Stable on encrypted ZFS with workstation eselect profile.

 

Any additional info you need let me know.

 

Thank you for your help in trying to resolve this issue.

 

Edit: I haven't experienced the freezing for a few days, even though chromium updated, so perhaps something that updated has fixed the issue. I'll edit this again if the problem persists.

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I just switched to Sawfish window manager and the problem persists, so it wasn't related to qtile.

I can't even sync portage without it freezing now.

ANY ideas of what might help to make it better would be greatly appreciated.

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Mainly just Chrome & Thunderbird most times.

Chrome seems to take up a lot.

 

I rolled back to the stable intel drivers, since it had gotten worse. Now the freezing seems a lot better. I'm able to emerge again with only momentary freezing of X. So it's likely a bug in them. I'll have to pay extremely close attention to it as new versions are stabilized.

 

I managed to find similar issues dealing the HD3000 Intel drivers, with varying symptoms. Not sure, if it's the same issue. I'll try to find more info. They suggested upgrading to 3.4 kernel or switching to vesa drivers. I'll try to find more info or go ahead and switch drivers. There may be another version that's more stable.

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Not sure if this helps, but I am using x11-drivers/xf86-video-intel-2.99.916 and x11-base/xorg-server-1.16.1 with no issues; 3 parallel emerges with thunderbird and firefox open work without any stuttering/freezing and the machine does only have 4 GB of RAM.

I am using the debian-sources kernel package, maybe this is related somehow?

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I believe that was the version of the Intel drivers that were working so bad for me I reverted to stable.

The current branch of the intel drivers had seemed to be working better for me before the latest release, so I'll go through one at a time when I have the chance, and see if one version seems to be working better. For a few days it even seemed to not freeze at all.

I was thinking maybe it might be a conflict between flash and the video drivers. The likelihood of a freeze seems to raises dramatically when I have more tabs open. But it could be just linked to processor or memory intensive tasks, as it most definitely seems to freeze whenever something spikes the processor up to 100%.

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I'm now up to xf86-video-intel-2.99.910 in my attempt to find the most stable version.

So far 2.99.905-r1 has seemed the most stable. I went a day and a half without any freezes. If I can't find any versions more stable than that I'll roll back to it. I'm hopeful though that I will be able to. I'm sure others have likely experienced this issue, and I'm just not confident that I have found the correct bug when reading info, so I'll try to talk to them directly about it. It doesn't help that no debug info is thrown though because it's not a crash.

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Some additional thoughts:

  • Can you login via ssh into the machine when it's frozen?
  • Have you tried the debian-sources kernel? If your system doesn't freeze with this standard kernel, the problem could be in your kernel config.
  • When X freezes, were you able to regain keyboard control via Ctrl+Alt+SysRq+R ?

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I haven't tried ssh-ing into it, as it's my main computer. However, I do know that it's only X freezing. No key combination allows me to escape X if I'm in it when it freezes. It's as if they aren't registering having been pressed. If I am outside of X when it freezes, I can keep working in the terminal. Except for with the latest versions of the intel drivers, command line applications would appear unresponsive simply due to running X in another console. I could run a console prog, but then it would just hang.

 

I have not tried the debian source kernel. I had trouble trying to get it to boot when I was first installing.

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I'd suggest running top or some other utility to find out what is using up all your RAM. Besides that, are you using a lot of optimizations with GCC? Sometimes using a lot of unusual GCC flags can cause normally stable programs to behave badly. Sometimes also it's not an issue with RAM but with heavy disk writes than can cause an unresponsive system. Are you seeing a lot of constant disk activity? And as far as kernel config, I can't really think of anything that might cause this kind of behavior, but you could maybe try the BFS CPU scheduler and/or the BFQ I/O scheduler and see if either of those help. The UKSM kernel patch could also help reduce memory usage. But right now, none of these patches has been updated for kernel 3.17, so you'd have to use kernel 3.16.x or older to try them out.

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