Old 20th December 2003, 21:16   #1
Veldhar
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CPU Usage in Winamp 5 Retail

Hello everyone,

FYI, I have searched the FAQs and forums beforehand to make sure this wasn't asked before. I've seen similar topics on the RC testing, but not any on the final version so far (if so, pardon me for not finding them).

After some testing of the new beast, I am astoundished to find out the Modern Skin support is quite CPU intensive. I cannot say if this is any different from Winamp 3, as I haven't been testing it long enough to tell (too many things I didn't like in Winamp 3 so I kept Winamp 2.9x). Here's my research:

With the default settings (except for one I'm not sure, the CPU timer I've set back to 40 ms, can't remember the default setting), the task manager informs me Winamp uses an average of 5-10% CPU constantly (!). Quite surprised at such a drastic usage, I tried pushing the timer to the maximum, to see CPU drop at 2-3%. Disabling the spectrum analyzer, it drops to around 1%, sometimes going to 0% to come back after.

When switching to Classic Skins, with spectrum analyzer configured to 70fps and max speed, I have a flat 0% CPU usage.

So my question is, isn't it kinda weird that the Modern Skin takes so much more CPU to manage? I'm solely using Winamp to have some playlisted music going on the background, and the whole CPU has to be dedicated for gaming, programming, surfing, etc. In other words it must be nearly invisible in the CPU taskload. Skins have always been a great thing to mess around with, but sacrificing 5-10% CPU just for more flexibility is a cost I'm finding out of proportion.

Or maybe I'm the only one to whom it happens? Please share your experience with WinAmp 5 Modern Skin system and CPU usage.

For those who might think this usage was due to a low-end machine, I have a Athlon XP 2400+ w/ 512MB RAM, which has to be more than enough to handle it.

Thanks for reading,
- Veldhar
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Old 20th December 2003, 21:34   #2
SuitCase
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Jesus, I didn't notice that. Uses 40% here when maximised and 10% in Windowshade. On a P3 733mhz, mind you - I'm getting a new computer within the week.

Perhaps you should look into the Windowshade mode, Veldhar? It should once again become insignificant (and Windowshade mode in the modern skin is so cool!)
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Old 20th December 2003, 21:36   #3
Wildrose-Wally
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Re: CPU Usage in Winamp 5 Retail

Quote:
Originally posted by Veldhar
I'm solely using Winamp to have some playlisted music going on the background, and the whole CPU has to be dedicated for gaming, programming, surfing, etc. In other words it must be nearly invisible in the CPU taskload. Skins have always been a great thing to mess around with, but sacrificing 5-10% CPU just for more flexibility is a cost I'm finding out of proportion.
I am wondering why you are using the modern skin, or any skin for that matter, in the first place while doing all the above activities. And for the times you are playing with the skins I assume you are not doing the above named activities.

In short, do you have a point?
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Old 20th December 2003, 22:46   #4
bgesley
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I went ahead and tested it for myself. With the default W5 Moden Skin, even with transparency, even with the easter egg so that the transparency is constantly changing, I"m still only using about 0 - 5 cpu usage. However if you click on the main menu and hold, and move the window around cpu usage gets up to the 80s, but thats normal. With the moden skin I'm using about 8-14k in memory usage.

Then if you set your settings so that when Winamp is minimized its in the System Tray only and then use a Classic skin you're down to about 2k memory usage and practically nothing for CPU usage.

Also since you mentioned gaming you could use a different Windows shell other than Explorer. I use Geoshell which is quite minmilistic on resources and more reliable or equally reliable as the explorer shell. Plus there is a plugin that lets you operate winamp without having it maximized. Just an idea.

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Old 20th December 2003, 23:07   #5
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5.01 Lite with minimal install options, upgraded from 2.81 Lite, runs 0% CPU on my Celery 1200mhz/256mb. Running Windoze XP Pro.

Sometimes it spikes all the way to 1% on CPU though
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Old 20th December 2003, 23:27   #6
Jumper001
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0-5% CPU with the Modern skin for me. Timer set to 'fastest for this CPU',
Pretty much a constant 0 when windowshaded.

Using any third-party DSP plug-ins, or other plug-ins?

Athlon 2500+ Barton, BTW.
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Old 21st December 2003, 00:03   #7
DJ Egg
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Quote:
Originally posted by Veldhar
So my question is, isn't it kinda weird that the Modern Skin takes so much more CPU to manage?
No
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Old 21st December 2003, 01:10   #8
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0% CPU Usage with modern skin.

P4 3ghz/HT enabled
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Old 21st December 2003, 02:18   #9
StAnGeR04
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I prolly have the slowest cpu of anyone in this thread .. Athlon XP 1800+

and the cpu usage hasn't gone above 5% ..and that's going all the way back to the wa5 betas ...

so as to why you're having this problem I have no idea
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Old 21st December 2003, 03:52   #10
Veldhar
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Re: Re: CPU Usage in Winamp 5 Retail

Thanks everyone for your quick response.

Quote:
Originally posted by SuitCase
Perhaps you should look into the Windowshade mode, Veldhar? It should once again become insignificant (and Windowshade mode in the modern skin is so cool!)
Thanks for the tip, I've tried it and it has reduced the usage a good deal; but still 2-3% CPU used, which is 2-3% above my acceptable quota And I don't think one should have to reduce to windowshade all the time simply to save up CPU that I haven't found a justification for yet.

Quote:
Originally posted by wildrose-wally
I am wondering why you are using the modern skin, or any skin for that matter, in the first place while doing all the above activities. And for the times you are playing with the skins I assume you are not doing the above named activities.

In short, do you have a point?
I do have a point. Please note that I have specified I find skins are a "great thing to mess around with", which means I enjoy looking at a nice interface while configuring a new playlist, starting Winamp or anything that has to do with it. That's the point of a skin, right? You seem to find me insignificant to point this out because I'm using it as a "background app" and that it shouldn't matter, but tell me, are you staring all day at your Winamp while playing music or do you use your computer to do something else? Or even do stuff around while your computer is playing, which means skins are of no use there as well? That's pretty much my point: Winamp is a 99% background application, so it doesn't have to eat up 5-10% of my CPU time just to do what Winamp 2.9x could do before with 0%, right? Thus my feeling that it is not right.

So please don't give me the "if you're not happy don't use it" type of response. I know that already, but nothing is gonna improve that way, right?

Quote:
Originally posted by bgesley

Then if you set your settings so that when Winamp is minimized its in the System Tray only and then use a Classic skin you're down to about 2k memory usage and practically nothing for CPU usage.
Thanks for your tip (that includes the shell thing), but memory usage is not an issue for me. Well, in that case it isn't, I have enough to handle most of what I have to do, and I can afford an extra 5-10MB for spiffy skins. But CPU time must be kept as low as possible; I can't tolerate any background app using more than 0% CPU usage

Minimized state does take CPU usage out, but it's annoying to do. It takes longer to display when you get back to Winamp and I'm a keyboard shortcut addict, so alt-tabbing is my motto and you can't minimize with alt-tab Okay, that's really a little detail I admit, but my main point is to understand why it's so slow; I've already found my workarounds for it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jumper001

Using any third-party DSP plug-ins, or other plug-ins?
Nope, plug-ins can be left out of the equation, as switching to Classic Skins throws the usage back down to flat 0%, which means the same plugins are being used there; so no influence.


As for the rest, I'm surprised to see some others with slower machines that have a lower CPU usage with WA5 Modern than me. One has to wonder what can make so much difference.

But I think some may have missed my original point. My point was an open question to the developers to tell me, why has the CPU usage so drastically increased with the Modern Skins? Of course they're more sophisticated and thus justify needing more resources, but let's get down to bare bones. I leave it running without touching it. The spectrum analyzer is exactly the same (ok, display changed... big deal), the engine to run the songs is the same (proof by switching to Classic Skin), everything is basically the same (for the core functionalities), except for the song ticking is a bit more spiffy (alpha blending) and maybe a couple tiny things I'm missing. Ok. So that's great and all. But I see nearly the same functionality being used for animations and what needs "constant update", and the CPU usage has went from a flat 0% up to 10% for me (more or less for others).

One has to wonder why so little changes on the constant update can justify taking up so much more CPU. Has there been optimizations left out? I hope so, because put like this, the situation seems illogical at best

But don't get me wrong. WinAmp 5 is great, and I'm not just being picky or a prick there. I simply don't understand and I'm looking for answers from developers to justify the extra usage, because put like that, I have to ditch the newer skins just to save that precious CPU time. I'm sure I'm not alone with that boring compromise.

Thanks again, *bows*
- Veldhar
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Old 21st December 2003, 04:29   #11
Jumper001
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The griding in the new vid, alpha blending, etc. all use up more CPU time then 2.xx. The new LCD-syle numbers probably do to, as does drawing the highlighted bar before the track thing.

The other thing is you don't get something for nothing. No application is going to truly use 0% of your CPU time.

Mine is as 0-5% with the Modern skin up, most of the time at 2%. Most of the time at 0% Modern/Windowshade. Almost always as 0 minimized.

Classic is pegged a 0% pretty much all the time

The other thing is Modern skins are implimented as a plug-in on top of the 2.xx engine - it wasn't nativly supposed to do that. The animations may be functionally the same, but the methods being used to produce them are totally different - they have to be to lend 'free-form' abilities to Modern skins. I guess you could use the comparison of a compiled language (native WA2 skins built into the code) and and interprited language (handled by the gen_ff plug-in, with stuff passed to the Winamp core).
But since most of us cannot reproduce it (at least not up to 10% - although mine did spike at 8% during one song change), then I really don't know. Sorry man.

All I can say is when your workload is lower and you're not doing as much, use the eyecandy skins and don't worry about it. Then use a Classic when you're working and don't have time to look at the eyecandy anyway.
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Old 21st December 2003, 05:52   #12
Veldhar
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Hello everyone again,

First off, thanks Jumper001 for enlightening me on all these things I didn't see on first look. It seems I have been wrong on the "simpleness" of the things changed

Fortunately though, from what I've been toying around with, it seems this thread can be history now.

After seeing different results, I supposed it could have been a driver problem. So I proceeded to update everything, BIOS flash, VIA drivers, etc., all except nVidia. Why nVidia? Because for some mysterious reason, all upgrades above 40.72 have been impossible as my monitor would lose signal as soon as Windows XP login screen would come up.

Fortunately for me, all this toying around made me stumble upon the solution to this problem, and I've been able to update to the latest drivers 53.03 (at last, after being deprived from these updates from months!).

Funnily enough, it seems to have solved the CPU usage problem. By disabling the songticking (which seems to be consuming "much", that is 1% CPU usage from time to time), I've finally been able to reach my flat 0% CPU threshold. Phew

So the morale to this story? If you find Winamp consumes too much CPU, you might wanna look on your display drivers

Thanks again for your help everyone,
- Veldhar
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Old 21st December 2003, 06:43   #13
bgesley
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wow, I think you're the first person ever to update their BIOS and others just to lose 1-2% CPU usage.

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Old 21st December 2003, 11:58   #14
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I am afraid I am with Wildrose-Wally on this one. The point? We all know that with the modern skin you are going to get a significant jump in memory usage. So don't use it, and minimize everything and run it in windowshade mode or in the taskbar....It will still run and you won't be using any significant memory.
As for me I don't do much gaming but I have a lot of memory on my machine and I run winamp full open with modern skins and all and it doesn't phase this machine, which keeps on chugging along.
I have a 2.4 pentium 4 with 768mb of memory and two 80 gig hardrives so I have no problem with anything. The best thing for anyone to do no matter the size of the processor is get more memory and a larger harddrive. You'd be amazed what that does even for an older machine...and get Windows XP. I had nothing but problems in memory area with Windows ME. I hated it. Cost me 100 bucks, which is a major investment for someone on a measly disability check but, hey, I use this computer a lot and just decided that it was worth the money.
One other thing....I don't use a sound card on this machine. I have Philips' Gameport machine (has a radio and CD player but has USB PC link as well). That, believe it or not saves on a lot of memory. It was designed to be used with MMJB 7.2 but I have the entire computer using the machine for my sound and with WOOX it sounds incredible. And it has gamesound setup as well. The machine cost me another 100 bucks but it is incredible, the sound you get with it.
There, I have been too long winded and I apologize.
By the way, buy the pro version! Just as an appreciation for the great new 5.1 program.
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Old 21st December 2003, 17:18   #15
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Re: Re: Re: CPU Usage in Winamp 5 Retail

Quote:
Originally posted by Veldhar
Winamp is a 99% background application, so it doesn't have to eat up 5-10% of my CPU time just to do what Winamp 2.9x could do before with 0%, right?
Winamp 2.xx didn't have modern skins. If you want the slick 0% CPU, use a classic skin like you did in Winamp 2.xx. Problem solved.
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Old 21st December 2003, 20:06   #16
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Hi, After looking at this thread, I had a look at my CPU Usage, and found winamp was using 30% - 50%! After some experimentation, I found that it was because I had unchecked 'Allow use of bitmat fonts that have not been mapped' in the font rendering tab of the modern skins preferences.

After checking this again, the cpu dropped to 0%.

Just thought I'd point this out
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Old 21st December 2003, 20:21   #17
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ok, dunb question here
using windows me, how do i view how much cpu usage winamp (or any other program) is using?
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Old 21st December 2003, 20:36   #18
hannes
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Get Windows 2000/XP. As far as I know, you can't easily view CPU usage in Winows 9x/Me. You would probably have to get some sort of usage monitor or something.
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Old 21st December 2003, 20:47   #19
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On my Athlon running at 3400 speed, it stays at 0% on windowshade or normal mode, with desktop alpha on the modern skin.
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Old 21st December 2003, 20:53   #20
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366MHz Pentium II, playing a 160Kbps MP3, no mouse motion

Completely level 8% CPU usage with the Modern Skin minimized.
Completely level 2% CPU usage with the Classic Skin minimized.

Fluctuating 50-76% CPU usage with the Modern Skin shown.
Usually level around 5%, 4-9% range of CPU usage with the Classic Skin shown.

It doesn't seem there should be that huge of a difference, especially when there is similar action going on in the skins (only spectrum analyzer & title scrolling). Not to mention, the additional CPU cycles when minimized is odd, since none of the skin is shown.

Maybe the modern skinning code needs some optimization?



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Old 21st December 2003, 21:17   #21
bgesley
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yeah I was kind of confused at how my cpu usage was high when minimized. If I have an AVS running and then I minimize winamp I still get the same usage despite it not being displayed. I guess it is "running" so I does make sense it will be using the cpu. This probably applies to modern skins aswell.

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Old 22nd December 2003, 20:59   #22
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I second Veldhar.

I have arguably one of the faster systems, fast enough to handle most of any applications today.

In Winamp, switching back and forth using Alt-Tab, or even minimizing and maximizing using a modern skin feels sluggish, even though CPU usage is minimal to none. Winamp doesn't even take up that much memory, not that I care. I've got a tonload of memory.

Changing the skin to Classic gives me the oh-so-smooth feel again, and I don't have any more problems with sluggishness. Methinks the code has to be optimised a bit more?
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Old 23rd December 2003, 18:47   #23
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It is very simple:

Modern skins use more system resources, all around.

Classic skins use fewer system resrouces, all around.

I hate to break it to you, but these facts have been known ever since the introduction of Winamp 3, and have been openly discussed and verified since the introduction of Winamp 5. Therefore, the purpose of this thread is...to verify existing knowledge again?

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Old 23rd December 2003, 19:57   #24
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Modern Skin shown: betw 70-94% CPU usage with "just installed settings" and about 8-10 MB RAM used
Modern minimized: approximately 35% CPU in use, 8 MB RAM

Classic shown: 0-2% CPU (9% to "show" the window") and 2 MB RAM
Classic minimized: 0-1% CPU and between 1-4 MB RAM
LOL how does it use more ram minimized. o well...

pretty damn good for a 90s vintage system running Windows XP.

This probably didn't help anyone though.
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Old 23rd December 2003, 23:31   #25
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@ Moguta: That's about right, remember it's a percent, and you have a lot less CPU time then those of us with 1800mhz systems - you're lucky to be able to even display the Modern Skin on that CPU. My 233 can't.
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Old 24th December 2003, 03:58   #26
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I understand how percentages work... I'm just baffled that it takes 7-10x more CPU cycles than classic. Sure, it's freeform design vs. templated, but that's a HELUVA lot more calculations for a mostly-stationary display.

It seems there ought to be a way to optimize the code, either by the skin developers or the modern-type-skin interface.



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Old 24th December 2003, 05:17   #27
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a big difference between many people systems and cpu usage can be other applications running and thread priorities. on my p3-800, 256 ram, and geforce ti4200, i have little to no problem. all that is in my system tray is microshaft messenger, seti, and AIM. i'm running an explorer window and a handful of processes and there is nill of a problem. with the skin displayed and task manager open and running an exploer window, i have roughly a 3-5% cpu usage. when the skin isn't displayed, it drops to the 1-3% range. why this is so large of a situation i don't know. maybe don't be running a grip of crap all the time (especially in the sys tray) and it will be less of an issue. you can also turn up or down winamp thread priorities to have it use less or more cpu power.... oh, and this is all with the winamp modern skin.

When you take a hand and chop the fingers off... what do u get?

That would be the knub.
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Old 25th December 2003, 04:00   #28
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from 0% to 3% with the modern skin on a P-4 2.40Ghz 533fsb and 512 Ram 333mhz
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Old 19th January 2004, 22:44   #29
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What I don't understand is why when WA5 is minimized still have a high cpu usage, in my case 50 to 70 %, when using modern skin.

I have a P3 933 Mhz, 256 Mb ram, WinXP Pro, Geforce 2MX 32 Mb.

Can I get lower cpu usage with other settings or I have to get a nice classic skin and forget about using modern skins?

Thanks.
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Old 20th January 2004, 00:53   #30
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There is a classic skin that very closely resembles the modern skin. You could compromise with that I suppose.

http://www.winamp.com/skins/details.php?id=138231

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Old 20th January 2004, 01:11   #31
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okay, i have an 866 PIII. I use modern skins, surf, aim, and program shit too. Why are you complaining man. Just minimize and all your problems are cured for the most part.
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Old 20th January 2004, 01:46   #32
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Lunarboy1 I have this cpu usage (40 to 70 %) when I have the WA5 minimized. That's why I post this.
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Old 20th January 2004, 02:17   #33
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Hey, I uninstall WA5 and I install WA5.01 and now I have 10 to 20 % usage when minimized and 30 to 40 maximized.
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Old 20th January 2004, 02:20   #34
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they probably optimized some stuff between releases, and the speed up might increase with the next releases until ultimately it runs as lightweight as it can.

(make sure it isn't rescanning your drive to update it's database when you take the stats. that could cause a jump)
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Old 20th January 2004, 03:11   #35
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running aim, ms messenger, ie, mcafee (had a few viruses lately) and wa5, i am getting 6% and 12,000K with wa5 maximised. minimised it is 0-1% and 4,300K. and i'm running a pIII 800, 256 ram, geforce4 ti 4200 with 64 on board, on win xp pro. for those of you having problems, shut down extra services, processes, and streamline your startup and you shouldn't have an issue.

When you take a hand and chop the fingers off... what do u get?

That would be the knub.
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Old 20th January 2004, 09:19   #36
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Not sure what's causing it to happen, but at a guess, it's some incompatible 3rd-party plugin to blame, or you're running a vis plugin (avs, milkdrop, or any other).

That's the only time Winamp ever goes into double figures cpu-usage for me, when I run AVS or Milkdrop.

At all other times, it hovers between 0 and 5%
(Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB DDR)

If cpu-usage is soaring above 40% when just playing mp3's with winamp maximized (any/all windows showing), then try reducing Timers Resolution to somewhere between 60 and 150ms (Prefs -> Modern Skins), and remove any 3rd-party plugins.
Naturally, a good clean install can never hurt either...
unless it's some other concurrently running software causing a weird conflict?
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Old 20th January 2004, 12:26   #37
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At last somebody (dj egg) remembered the people arround here that "a value that is too low (too fast) for your machine will degrade performance" of the system...(i'ts written on winamp prefernces (Prefs -> Modern Skins-> general tab). i'm talking about the timers resolution. that's like a refresh rate of the skin.. so the faster it refreshes more resources it will eat! and iZotope Ozone v1.x for Winamp 2.x takes all of your resources to!!!

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Old 20th January 2004, 16:59   #38
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I found what's responsable of the high cpu usage, is the Venus skin. When is minimized I have 40 to 50 % and with others (like MDM3 and Winamp 5 Modern) is nealy 0.
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Old 20th January 2004, 17:05   #39
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You can see my specs, I have no problem with the amount of CPU usage. I have a fast rig so I can runn cpu intesive apps.

That said, i have rarley seen winamp use more than 15%
while watching a video or listening to mp3s, and using the default(modern) skin

Why make something idiot proof?? Someone will only make a better idiot!
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