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mw007
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Joined: 08 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:46 pm    Post subject: Performance issues with NewWorld G4 Reply with quote

Hi All,

I recently installed Gentoo on a G4 that was given to me by a friend. Everything is working, but I am having performance problems. Here are the symptoms I have getting..

  • Slow / unresponsive gui
  • Sound & video are always out of sync when playing video files
  • Running a NES emulator produces a choppy picture and sound has major static
  • Firefox3 becomes agonizingly slow when I have more than 6 tabs open

I thought the issues were stemming from not having DMA enabled on my hard drive. Apparently, it is enabled
Code:


hyrule linux # hdparm -i /dev/hda

/dev/hda:

 Model=QUANTUM FIREBALLP LM30.0, FwRev=A35.0700, SerialNo=186015437697
 Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec Fixed DTR>10Mbs }
 RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=32256, SectSize=21298, ECCbytes=4
 BuffType=DualPortCache, BuffSize=1900kB, MaxMultSect=128, MultSect=off
 CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=no
 IORDY=no, tPIO={min:120,w/IORDY:120}
 PIO modes:  pio0 pio3 pio4
 UDMA modes: udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 *udma4
 AdvancedPM=no WriteCache=enabled
 Drive conforms to: ATA/ATAPI-5 T13 1321D revision 1:  ATA/ATAPI-1,2,3,4,5

 * signifies the current active mode


Here are some metrics when performing tests with hdparm:
Code:

hyrule linux # hdparm -tT /dev/hda

/dev/hda:
 Timing cached reads:   448 MB in  2.01 seconds = 223.40 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:   78 MB in  3.06 seconds =  25.46 MB/sec


And here is some other miscellaneous info about the machine, to see if anyone notices anything glaring that I'm missing...
Code:

hyrule linux # cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor   : 0
cpu      : 7400, altivec supported
clock      : 500.000000MHz
revision   : 2.9 (pvr 000c 0209)
bogomips   : 49.66
timebase   : 24907667
platform   : PowerMac
model      : PowerMac3,3
machine      : PowerMac3,3
motherboard   : PowerMac3,3 MacRISC2 MacRISC Power Macintosh
detected as   : 65 (PowerMac G4 AGP Graphics)
pmac flags   : 00000014
L2 cache   : 1024K unified
pmac-generation   : NewWorld

hyrule linux # cat /proc/meminfo
MemTotal:       384124 kB
MemFree:         84008 kB
Buffers:         29352 kB
Cached:         135632 kB
SwapCached:          0 kB
Active:         198304 kB
Inactive:        74188 kB
SwapTotal:      524280 kB
SwapFree:       524096 kB
Dirty:              24 kB
Writeback:           0 kB
AnonPages:      107524 kB
Mapped:          49984 kB
Slab:            22316 kB
SReclaimable:    17492 kB
SUnreclaim:       4824 kB
PageTables:       1660 kB
NFS_Unstable:        0 kB
Bounce:              0 kB
WritebackTmp:        0 kB
CommitLimit:    716340 kB
Committed_AS:   305572 kB
VmallocTotal:   580416 kB
VmallocUsed:     28580 kB
VmallocChunk:   550420 kB

hyrule linux # lspci
0000:00:0b.0 Host bridge: Apple Computer Inc. UniNorth AGP
0000:00:10.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Rage 128 PF/PRO AGP 4x TMDS
0001:10:0b.0 Host bridge: Apple Computer Inc. UniNorth PCI
0001:10:0d.0 PCI bridge: Digital Equipment Corporation DECchip 21154 (rev 05)
0001:11:02.0 SCSI storage controller: Adaptec AHA-7850 (rev 03)
0001:11:07.0 Class ff00: Apple Computer Inc. KeyLargo Mac I/O (rev 03)
0001:11:08.0 USB Controller: Apple Computer Inc. KeyLargo USB
0001:11:09.0 USB Controller: Apple Computer Inc. KeyLargo USB
0001:11:0a.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments TSB12LV26 IEEE-1394 Controller (Link)
0002:21:0b.0 Host bridge: Apple Computer Inc. UniNorth Internal PCI
0002:21:0f.0 Ethernet controller: Apple Computer Inc. UniNorth GMAC (Sun GEM) (rev 01)


What exactly are the specs of the Rage 128 Pro card? I've did some research and the general concensus is that a Rage 128 is similar to a VooDoo3 card. Old, but still descent. Does anyone have any experience with this card?

The specs on the machine seem descent to me. I really think that there is something I am missing in my config.

And let me know if there is any more info I can post that might give a clue as to what it is going on.
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DrWilken
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Joined: 12 Dec 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Code:
bogomips   : 49.66


My P3-500MHz does ~1000...

Unless it's measured differently on PPC this really looks bad... :(

With MacOS a box like Yours behaves pretty nice, so maybe You just haven't optimized Gentoo for Your architecture...

Please post output of emerge --info for the PPC guys... ;)
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JoseJX
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Joined: 28 Apr 2002
Posts: 2774

PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bogomips mean nothing on PPC, they're really bogus as the name implies and should not be used a performance comparison to other machines/architectures.

As for the problem here, more memory is always good, 384Mb might not be enough to keep firefox from swapping, especially if you've got a bunch of other stuff running too. I would also suggest checking to make sure that you're not using the open firmware framebuffer, it's pretty slow and could be causing your graphics issues. As for the emulators, many are not optimized for PowerPC at all, resulting in poor performance compared to the hand optimized x86 assembly in some emulators.

As for poor general performance, with more modern kernels, I've noticed a bit of a speed reduction on my PPC machines, but I haven't really had the opportunity to research why. Perhaps the PowerPC community should take a look at improving performance as a general project? :)

Hope that helps.
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mw007
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Joined: 08 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JoseJX wrote:

As for the problem here, more memory is always good, 384Mb might not be enough to keep firefox from swapping, especially if you've got a bunch of other stuff running too.

Agreed. I'm going to upgrade the amount of memory this machine has. I'm running a full gnome desktop with this machine as I've turned it into a web surfing box.


JoseJX wrote:

I would also suggest checking to make sure that you're not using the open firmware framebuffer, it's pretty slow and could be causing your graphics issues.

I am definitely not using the OF framebuffer. I am using only the Rage 128 framebuffer as that's the only one I have enabled in the kernel.
Code:
hyrule linux # zgrep CONFIG_FB_OF /proc/config.gz
# CONFIG_FB_OF is not set



JoseJX wrote:
As for poor general performance, with more modern kernels, I've noticed a bit of a speed reduction on my PPC machines, but I haven't really had the opportunity to research why. Perhaps the PowerPC community should take a look at improving performance as a general project? :)

This is not something that I could personally undertake; though, I wouldn't mind learning how. Any suggestions on where to start? I'm a programmer in the professional world, so I'm not completely dumb when it comes to code :wink:


In summary, I think increasing the amount of memory in this machine would go a long way. I was looking at the "free" command when using FF3 and running other programs and it was definitely starting to swap.

Once I've increased the ram, I'll report back so maybe this thread will help someone later on.

Thanks for the input!
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DirtyHairy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As for poor general performance, with more modern kernels, I've noticed a bit of a speed reduction on my PPC machines, but I haven't really had the opportunity to research why. Perhaps the PowerPC community should take a look at improving performance as a general project? :)
Thank's JoseJX for confirming something that I have been long suspecting ;) I have also noticed that performance on my G4 Powermac has dropped over the evolution of the 2.6.x kernels. I have toyed around with kernel options und such a bit, but to no avail, so choose to just leave it alone and live with the performance. One thing I noticed though: disk I/O locks the kernel using 100% CPU, which did not happen on older kernels, and it also seems to me that I/O performance is the thing that degraded most.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to see if yellowdog is faster one day, perhaps these guys have an idea what has changed and how to work around it....
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mw007
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would it be so unwise as to simply use an older kernel for now?
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DirtyHairy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I don't think there is any pressing reason to upgrade to the more recent ones. I think pre-2.6.18 performed better, but it has been some time since then, so the point of degrading performance might have been even earlier. Just try and see if you get better results... :)
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fb
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must say I/O has been really bad for a while for me on my iMac G4.
Ripping a cd cause considerable slow downs. I am thinking of scheduler
problems but never really investigated.
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DirtyHairy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I just tried the yellowdog 2.6.23-9 kernel (compiled from yellowdog sources with yellowdog configuration) and I don't have the impression that it is any better than my on 2.6.23-gentoo-r8, so no luck here... :(
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