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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My HTPC gone nuts again. Without any obvious reason, DVD playback became jerky (video stuttering) which is visible mostly on panning shots. What is most interesting, Windows task manager shows CPU load of about 40-70%, while listed processes (namely zoomplayer.exe) consumes only 20-40% of the CPU load. What else is CPU doing I do not know, because it does not show in Task manager.


Sometimes the problem goes away when I check "seemless playback" option in Zoomplayer 3.1 Pro - then the CPU load goes down to 20-40% and stuttering goes away. However, this works very randomly and I can not get it to work permanently.


I have P4 2.53 mhz - 1GB PC 2100 RAM - Intel 845 based mobo - Audigy SB 2 - ATI 9800 Pro with XP Pro patched up, Direct X 9.0b, ZP 3.1 Pro, WinDVD platinum, Sonic filters, NVDVD 2.55, Recloc 1.0, FFDShow 052303. This problem ocurrs in ZP whatever filter combo I use and regardless whether I use overlay or VMR9 as video renderer, or whether I use SB or Recloc 1.0 as audio renderer, with or without FFDShow. Same thing happens with WinDVD and NVDVD as stand alone players.


I reinstalled Direct X, upgraded Audigy drivers, ATI drivers (thanks god Catalyst 3.7 did not play blue screen on me), tried new ZP Pro 3.2 Beta, defraged my HD, did check disk, and nothing helped. I did system test for CPU, memory, video and DVD drive and they all passed. I did not reinstall WinDVD and NVDVD as I do not want to go through the pain of getting new activation codes and it looks like the problem is not codec related.


I am running out of options and would appreciate your help. It looks like "seemles playback" option in ZP is the key to the problem. Anybody out there (Blight?) knows what this option does - this could help me identify what the problem is and fix it.


Thanks.


Vlad


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
mjcumming,


Thanks for the info. That is a good thread.


In the meantime it looks like a found a quick fix for my problem. When I increase the priority of zoomplayer.exe in Windows XP task manager to "real time" the problem goes away and CPU load goes down to whatever zoomplayer uses. Looks like XP has gone mad and I need clean install. I am not even sure if I want to do that if "real time" priority fix proves to work on the long run.


Is there any way to permanently assign "real time" thread priority to zoomplayer.exe, or I need to do it every time I restart the thread?
 

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You can do the priority from within ZP (Options / Values / Other -> Thread Priority), but real-time is not advised. I wouldn't really put it on more than Above Normal.


But it does sound like some 3rd party process is sucking away at your CPU power. Maybe if you have something running in the background like if you installed Kazaa (which can install CPU stealing Bull*hit background process). Might also be a virus...
 

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Agree with Blight - realtime can cause stability problems (at least in my experience) ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input guys. I will try with "above normal priority", although so far my system works fine - when I play DVDs no other programs are running. Even when I set ZP priority to "real time", all processes listed in task manager (which is pretty much only ZP) do not add up to CPU load (I know task manager is not accurate, but we are talking about 30% of CPU load unaccounted for). As far as virus is concerned, I use my HTPC only as HTPC and I did not download any unknown programs (just HTPC related stuff that I listed above) and do not even use this PC for E-mail or anything else. I never ran any .exe files that were not reliable, so I would say it would be difficult to get infected with a virus. I believe it is more of XP instability issue. I do often change between codecs, video and audio renderers and frequently update drivers, uninstall-reinstall things, so I guess XP just gets set up. I already did 3 clean installs in last year and every time my HTPC was flawless after that.


However, it just blows my mind that "somenting" that is not listed in task manager is stealing 30% of my CPU. I did test my CPU and it passed the test. Any ideas who is the ghost in the machine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quick update. Initially "above normal" priority did not work. However, then I got into XP services and switched a whole bunch of XP services crap to manual mode. After that tweak "above normal" priority gives me great results. Watched LOTR TT and VMR9 showd frame rate of 23.96 which is almost perfect - it was as smooth of playback as I have ever seen on my HTPC.


However, I still do have a ghost in the machine - CPU load is still about 20% more than sum of all CPU loads listed in the task manager. Any ideas what could be causing that?
 
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