[PD] continuous dropouts in windows, probably memory issue

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at eds.org
Mon Apr 28 18:04:01 CEST 2008

In the Task Manager, under the "Processes" tab, you can get more  
detailed memory info by turning them on in Edit->Select Columns...   
You can get swap activity among other things.  Oops, assuming you are  
on Windows.  Which platform are you on.

If there is a heavy GUI, then there could be a problem with a lot of  
communication between the pd and pd-gui processes.

Also, this message is really long.  It's best to include a short  
summary at the top, then the lengthy details later.  More people will  
read the message then.


On Apr 28, 2008, at 6:31 AM, matteo sisti sette wrote:

> Hi,
> I have (as usual) an enormous patch... "enormous" in terms of quantity
> of abstractions, levels of nesting, and quantity of objects in each
> abstraction.
> Everything is carefully built in order not to waste CPU. All audio
> processing objects are swicthed on/off when needed, so that when
> everything is idle it is consuming 0% cpu; usually only few of the
> many existing objects are actually playing, so that I never get more
> than 20-30% cpu usage (on a 2.00GHz dual core, that is approx. 40-60%
> of a single 2GHz CPU), and only rarely that much.
> Also, I always avoid generating huge "message trees" that may cause
> audio dropouts.
> The patch occupies about 90Mb in RAM; when all the "samples" (audio
> files) are loaded, it occupies about 216Mb RAM.
> Now, all this used to work perfectly on machine A, and still works
> perfectly on machine B, where it has been tested under considerable
> "stress" and has been used on-stage a few times without a single
> issue.
> Machine A and B are almost identical (two laptops from the same
> vendor), Intel Core Duo 2GHz with windows XP, the only difference is
> machine A has 1Gb RAM while B has 2Gb RAM. They both have shitty
> integrated soundcards, and I have tested both with an external MOTU
> Ultralite Firewire with the same results.
> Now, since recently, on machine A the following happens:
> I open the patch and it initially works, but as soon as I minimize the
> patch window and maximize it again (or do a "show desktop" and then
> focus back on the window, or anything like that), it starts doing
> audio dropouts: a LOT of dropouts per second, and then it NEVER stops
> doing dropouts!!!! even if I don't move the window any more, and even
> when the patch is consuming less than 1% cpu (only playing the 500hz
> sinewave I use to hear audio dropouts).
> This happens even if I never load the samples (that is I don't resize
> any table and the patch doesn't occupy more than 90Mb.
> I have reproduced it even after reducing the patch to less than half
> its size and removing all tables; however, the quantity of dropouts
> seems to lower as the patch gets smaller, and when I leave only very
> few objects in the patch I get no dropouts.
> That's why I suspect it is somewhat related to memory usage.
> This laptop doesn't have a led indicating disk read/write activity
> (can you believe it? I'd like to see the face of the guy who designed
> a laptop and DECIDED that a disk activity led is unnecessary) so I
> cannot tell whether the system is swapping memory to/from disk when I
> hear dropouts; however I don't think it can be swapping indefinitely
> for several minutes while I'm doing nothing..... I can see some memory
> information in window's Task Manager but it's not very illuminating...
> It may be reasonable to expect a few dropouts when you minimize and
> maximize a window full of GUI when the same patch is producing the
> sound, but the drop outs should stop after you stop playing around
> with windows and even touching the mouse and keyboard!!
> Also, it still happens after removing ALL gui things from the patch.
> Is it possible that 1Gb of RAM is just too small for running such a
> patch? Note that the patch only occupies around 90Mb in memory.
> Also, It did work without dropouts in this same machine up to little
> time ago, and I don't know what can have changed in my system. I had a
> few troyans, but I got rid of all them.
> Any ideas? I'm stuck.....
> Thanks in advance
> m.
> -- 
> Matteo Sisti Sette
> matteosistisette at gmail.com
> http://www.matteosistisette.com
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                             kill your television

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