Flex 6300 & Google Chrome

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  • Updated 3 years ago
Hi

Well my Flex 6300 is now installed and I am using an intel i7 running Win7 64bit Pro with 8Gb of Ram to run Smart SDR1.4.11.

I love the radio - it is very very good.

I do have a very occasional minor problem - Smart SDR occasionally crashes if I open Google Chrome, latest build, when running the radio.

I do use the Remote facility but SSDR shows the network has less than 1ms latency so I don't think it is lack of computer power.

I have tried a clean install of W7 and still get the problem.

It is intermittent and I can't reproduce it. 

Anyone else have a similar problem or any suggestions?

Thanks

Tim
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Posted 3 years ago

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k3Tim

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Hi Tim

You have plenty of cpu horsepower. I run Win 7-64 also with Chrome and SSDr and Chrome are up 24/7 without problem.

A long shot but can you try Firefox and surf same as b4?

Best

k3Tim
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Ross - K9COX

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My laptop will stutter while operating remotely when starting Chrome. My fix is to start Chrome before SmartSDR and then operation is normal even when opening new tabs on Chrome.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Sounds like a lot of network activity causing the stutter. I believe Chrome makes use of "pre-fetched" pages, so when you start it up, it may go out and download a lot of stuff right off the top. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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DING DING DING - we have a winner.  I suspect if you run LatencyMon you will find that ndis.sys is responsible for some long duration DPCs.  This points to a poorly written network driver.
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Hi all,

Thanks for the suggestions.

I do not like Firefox so if possible I would prefer not to use it.

I have run LatencyMon with nothing else running and it said everything OK until I fired up Chrome at which point LM said there was a problem and suggested I turn off CPU throttling. Can't do that easily as the machine is a desktop so I created a new High Performance Power Plan and I'll test it over the next couple of days and report back.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I notice that there are 2 copies of SmartSDR running in Task Manager, is that normal?

Tim
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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@Tim - so when  you started Chrome and the DPCs increased, did you look to see which system driver was the culprit?  It is listed down in the detail.

I can just about guarantee that CPU throttling is not the issue.
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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OK this is what I see:



This is after I started Chrome.

I am fairly PC literate - I have spent the last 35 years working with them!

I will try a new build of Win 7 and run Chrome before running SmartSDR and see what happens.....I'll be back!
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Your DPCs are OK; less than 200 uS.

The hard page faults may be another issue.  In general, hard page faults are not bad.  But if they are excessive, the time it takes to fetch paged memory from disk could be a problem.   Chrome is known a a bit of a resource hog.  I normally do not run it on the same PC as I am running SmartSDR.  If I need a browser open with the radio, I usually use Firefox.
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Gary L. Robinson

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I had noticed the "Chrome browser" problem fairly early on but was NOT too concerned with it.  I tried a bunch of things with Chrome, including disabling pre-fetch, and makes NO difference here.  I tried different low impact home pages (including one of my own so I know it is low impact hihi) and no difference.

I have both Chrome and Internet Explorer use the google search page as a default though as a general rule.

Chrome stutters the Rx (or TX) if it starts -- period -- whether hooked directly via lan cable OR wifi.  Internet Explorer does NOT have any effect.  both starting with Google home page.

Anyhow, I just avoid opening ANY browers while I am transmitting and IF I have to I use IE. 

Chrome is rapidly becoming bloat ware ... I imagine most any other browser would NOT cause any problems but I have NOT tested all of them :-)
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Gary L. Robinson

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I had bought a USB GB Ethernet on Amazon for using with my Chromebook a few weeks ago.  It's NOT ham radio related.  BUT ... I wondered if running a 2nd ethernet port would make any difference with the "Chrome browser problem".

So ..... I hooked up the USB ethernet unit to my main computer and hooked my 6300 directly into it.  My internal ethernet card still hooking into my switch, router, and internet of course.

I went into the Windows network settings (using 8.1) and set it up so my USB ethernet was bridged with my internal network card.  it took just a few seconds.  I rebooted the computer, of course, after making these changes.

And all works well!  No problems with Chrome or anything else.  Internet connection is fine, 6300 working perfectly, and my little FlexLib add on I wrote working like a charm.

I am not totally sure if bridging the two networks might have problems with some special hardware or software but on my system there seems to be NO downside to doing this.

I will probably get an inexpensive GB internal card and do this same thing later on -  since I want my USB ethernet for other things.

---Gary WB8ROL
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Walt - KZ1F

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I think that's actually impossible. Can you bring each instance to the 'top' as in switch to top? Where you are getting stutter, that suggests a network issue not a cpu or memory issue. On a completely different thread or threads, there have been discussions of poor network performance when running SSDR across a wifi network. I see that issue on my laptop, which points to the aforementioned back network card used in the production of my laptop. However, the primary OS for the laptop is Linux and when I boot into Linux I have no issues at all with the 'crap' network card used in the production of my laptop. What it does point to a a 'crap' network driver in the Windows OS. This coincides with what Tim said perfectly. I would advise just using SSDR standalone, no network enhancers. How is the performance in that use case, strictly SSDR??
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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I had Google Chrome for quite a while, then saw what it is doing to my
latency and CPU and went back to Firefox ruefully - sorry good old fox,
here I am again ;-)
(Edited)
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Well here is the proof regarding 2 instances of SmartSDR:


I snapped this 2 minutes ago.

Tim
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Ross - K9COX

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I have seen the same thing, just scratched my head and ignored it thinking there must be a good reason.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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See my comment above.  One instance is the SmartSDR Message Manager
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Thanks Tim, didn't see your last post!
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Update:

I posted this question on a couple of other forums and had a few suggestions. The one I am trying at the moment is to set all the audio device sampling rates to be the same. We'll see how that pans out.

I do know that Chrome is a resource hog but I find it hard to believe that a machine of the spec I am running will struggle. With SmartSDR and one instance of Chrome running I am seeing a maximum of 28% CPU usage on 4 cores when tuning around. which is not excessive. During a QSO, it is varies between 6-10% on voice peaks.

I did open Chrome before SmartSDR and so far it has been running for an hour with a problem.

Tim
(Edited)
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Dudley - WA5QPZ

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Another suggestion is to have a blank page as your home page,  starting up Chrome and downloading the home page of some complicated web site may have too large an impact on the system resources..   Just set Blank as the home page,  you may find that it will come up without interfering with SmartSDR processes..    Setting Power Options to High Performance may also resolve the issue too..   :-)



Dudley
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Dave KD5FX

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Just leave Chrome running all the time! Then start/stop SSDR as required. That's what I do, no problems ever! OR Startup Chrome before you run SSDR.
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Ross - K9COX

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We have something in common.
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Gene - K3GC

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I always run Chrome.  It and Outlook are loaded with system boot.  THEN I load all the smart SDR stuff and other radio related apps. and I don't have a problem. No reason other than the first thing I do is check mail and Internet.
During a given operating session I may unload and load several of these once again with no problems.
Maybe I am just lucky in this instance.  I do have an i7 4790 with 16GB ram.  I have used this configeration with multiple OSs - Right now it is Windows 10 build 10147
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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Sorry to be late to the party.

@Tim: W4TME was right on a pug the page faults. Did you notice the "time to resolve" the longest page fault listed in your latencymon output? It's more than 300ms... A virtual eternity and almost guaranteed to cause problems. Be sure your disk is defragmenterd. Preload Chrome and open a page with a ton of graphics on it, including Flash if you use it. The idea is to get all the rendering components pre-loaded. Or take a good look at you storage subsystem. Maybe consider running Chrome from a flash drive?

@Gary: A USB network adapter, eh? Just be aware that the drivers for many of these are VERY well known for causing audio/video glitches. I was just discussing this last week with some colleagues.

Peter
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GI4FZD

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I also use chrome with a 6300 and smartsdr and ddutil running, using Win 10 on a gigabyte GB-BXBT-1900 brix computer,Intel celeron J1900 cpu and ssd as hard drive. no issues here with Chrome.

I am also using a poundland 4 way usb adapter with KPA500,KAT500,LP-100A and Yaesu rotator attached to the Brix all controlled by ddutil.

Amazing for a £99 barebones computer, ok £150 if you add a small ssd and 4gb memory.

So your I7 should have no problems.

Cheers
Paul
GI4FZD
(Edited)
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Steve Walker

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Hi Tim,

There are a couple of things to try as you've done all the common ones. With Chrome open :-

Goto  "Chrome Settings"
Then to "Advanced Settings"
Scroll down to "Use hardware acceleration when available" and un-check it - restart ALL Chrome services and give it a go.

-or/and-

Open a command prompt in Windows

(click start then select [run]; type "cmd" (no "'s) or press key-combo win+r
At the commend prompt type "netsh" (no "'s) and hit enter.
Once it's opened at the "netsh>" prompt type "winsock reset" (no "'s) and hit enter.

All should be good! Close the cmd prompt window and try Chrome and SSDR again.

As always YMMV :-)

73 Steve
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Hi All 

Thanks for the many suggestions and comments. 

I have tried several things including changing the power settings and changing the audio sampling rate.

These two things seem to have cleared the problem, I haven't had a lockup or freeze for over a week now and I am a happy chappy now!

My delight and amazement with the 6300 continues unabated and anyone who has heard me on the air will know that I am, when asked, preaching the merits of Flex radios to anyone who cares to listen.

Just a thought, the way that receiving and transmitting radio waves is changing and Flex Radios are a sea change from the old way of doing things and as such deserve a sea change in the way they are described and I have a suggestion for Flex Radio as a company and that is to redefine the Signature series, stop calling them radios, instead call them RF computers. In my opinion the Flex isn't really a radio but a device for performing calculations and displaying the results of amateur radio frequencies on a computer - i.e. one computer talking to another.

Unfortunately I am 68 years old, if I was 10 or 20 years younger, I would be buying a plane ticket to Austin Texas and beating on Flex'e door asking for a job as a salesman, particularly as I understand Greg is or has departed. Of course I am open to offers of part time employment!!

Tim
(Edited)