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Increasing system lag, high CPU useage -> slow D/L, ver 1.5 win98SE


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Hi folks,

Running Win98SE on a Duron 1.6Ghz with 256Mb DDR, uTorrent 1.5 build 437, cable high speed internet @ 5+Mbit down, 640kbit up, get around 500k up on speedtest.

Read the FAQs, read the speed guide, searched the forum, made sure the system was clean, virus, adware, spyware and scumware scanned x3. Tried various stuff suggested in other threads, checked all settings x3

On a clean boot, uTorrent works great, just as advertised, it slices dices grates and peels. On benchmark torrents such as OpenOffice, the cat-5 starts smoking it's DL-ing so fast. So my torrents pick up speed in the first hour and start going well. However, after it's been on a few hours, left overnight etc it slows down, the whole computer gets bogged down with it, sometimes while attempting to close and save stuff for reboot it will lock up :(

What appears to be happening, looking at the graphs is that somehow it starts using vast amounts of CPU cycles when downloading. It might be puttering along at 15KB/sec, then get a 5KB boost to 20KB and the CPU usage hits the roof and bounces off, this appears to throttle the DL and it drops back again. The upload speed does not seem to affect it much, it seems like it can do 47KB up all the time and spikes in UL don't seem to hog CPU cycles. Spikes in DL seem to thrash the CPU, we're talking 20 Kilobyte spikes here people, it shouldn't be killing a 1.6Ghz CPU, it's less than the speed of a floppy controller on a 4.77Mhz PC XT for gawds sake. When this is happening the mouse pointer will freeze and jerk, the system time starts running real slow, it can get over 2 hours out by morning, watching DVDs is impossible, scrolling webpages is an effort, if I don't reboot it will usually freeze up. Before it freezes I start getting 2 second lockups, then 3 or 4 second lockups, then 10 second lockups.... just from MINOR DL speed spikes. As you can imagine this appears to self regulate the DL speed to really low levels due to CPU saturation.

I have no stupid stuff running, no software firewall, no resident antivirus shield, nothing like that. I have run Win98SE systems for distributed processing and got month long uptimes from them, I know how to have my systems running stable.

There seems to have been several people complaining of the same problems here, but they seem to have been blown off. I have been messing around with this for more than 2 weeks before even joining here to ask about it, I'm certain uTorrent is the problem, I'm certain it is hogging the CPU on download spikes after a couple of hours runtime, the question is why, and how to get it fixed?

Thanks in advance for any help,

Flash Harry

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Firstly, UPGRADE! We don't know if your problems are caused by poor settings or a bug in µTorrent v1.5. ...so please upgrade to µTorrent v1.6.

Secondly, what settings ARE you using? List every setting as shown by Speed Guide (CTRL+G) plus all the advanced settings you have changed.

Even for a Win 98SE box, only 256 MB ram may be a bit on the low side if you've installed almost any software that insists on adding always-running DLLs to your windows startup.

I am also running Win 98SE boxes, but with 384 MB and 768 MB ram each. I've experienced the slowdowns too, after a day or more of aggressively downloading torrents. What seems to minimize (but not eliminate) the problems is using more conservative settings in µTorrent. Download and Upload speeds can be left high, but global connections simply cannot be over 100...and even over 70 seems to cause problems eventually. Half-open connections and bt.connect_speed are best halved from their default values too. I even enabled net.low_cpu in the hopes that'd help.

I've patched Win 98SE both with something called "Win98SE unofficial SP2" and 98Lite/Lite PC. The former is almost required to get better stability out of Win 98SE, the latter is more for peace of mind.

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Post more tomorrow, late tonite, Global connections shouldn't be a problem for me, I've got it at 250 and I did a registry hack to let windows have 512 sockets available instead of the default 100, or 128 whatever it was. Seems to be behaving better after I blew the RcvWindow wide open this morning too, went to 372300 from 120 something thousand. Although checking the system time, I might have lost 2 minutes in 8 hours, so might be starting to "go". Guess I'd better reboot again before leaving it for the night. Mostly set up as per 512 UL on the speed guide, I'm supposed to have 640 up but never seen it, test in the range 470-550. Have upload slots per torrent set to 9, which might seem a bit much, but I was having a problem with old and neglected torrents, 2 seeds 6 peers is typical, where it kept dropping the good sharers and optimistically unthrottling the lamer leechers with only 1kbps upload set. That seems to work bad on torrents without many peers. So anyhoo, with 9 open it lets me stay connected to the nice guys on those.

Unofficial SP2 I tried, there were a couple of hotfixes in it that clashed with something, I ended up having to re-install and hand patch it. Gawd knows what patches I've got now, most of the MS ones I think, apart from those 2 hotfixes that ended up breaking more than they fixed.

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